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HoopHall Highlights: Top performances from Monday's action


Springfield, Massachusetts has been offering glimpses into thefuture of basketball since James Naismith put some peach baskets ona YMCA wall in 1891. Every MLK weekend, the town gives us anotherin the form of the HoopHall Classic, where dozens of the besthigh-school players in the country descend on Blake Arena.

The HoopHall Classic is also one of three high-school showcasesthis season that was given the green light for NBA scouts toattend. It's a prime opportunity for the elite talents to separatethemselves from the pack — or for less heralded names to putthemselves on the map.

I checked into the arena at 9 a.m. and watched all fivecontests. These standouts, among many others, caught my eye:

Girls — St. John Vianney(NJ) 81, Newington (CT) 38

Zoe Brooks (NC State) went TRIPLE DOUBLE🤩The espnW 5 ⭐️ posted 25/14/10 with 4 steals in a St. John Vianneywin. @zoebrooks35@[email protected]/ezCJ2CSEhh

— SportsCenter NEXT (@SCNext) January 16, 2023

Zoe Brooks, St. John Vianney — Theninth-ranked senior in the country put on a show with a monster25-point, 14-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. Brooks playeddecisively and confidently, never over-dribbling or wasting shotclock. She tossed a few high-level dimes from the perimeter rightthrough the Newtington defense for cutting layups.

"I'm just waiting for somebody to get open," Brooks toldBasketball News postgame. "We move a lot without the ball;obviously [after] three or four cuts, somebody's gonna get openeventually."

When Brooks did decide to score, she slashed past defenders andwas unfazed by contact. She explained that developing her powerdrives has been a taxing process involving difficult bungee andmedicine-ball workouts as part of her lifting and strength trainingroutines.

"I lift a lot. This offseason I lifted a lot, so I think I got alot stronger to take contact whenever I drive," Brooks said. "I doa lot of agility work and footwork to help me."

Those sessions are paying off in high school and will continueto in college when Brooks joins NC State.

Boys — Camden (NJ) 90,Bishop Gorman (NV) 54

Billy Richmond and Dasear Haskins made bigplays look EASY vs. Bishop Gorman 😳 pic.twitter.com/Y1aYOg9AdJ

— SportsCenter NEXT (@SCNext) January 16, 2023

Billy Richmond, Camden —Based on thefinal score, you wouldn't notice that Aaron Bradshaw spent much ofthe game in foul trouble and DJ Wagner struggled to make shots awayfrom the basket. Camden still rolled to a win because othercontributors like Richmond shined in big moments.

The 6-foot-7 wing led his squad with 18 points, added 5 reboundsand made both of his three-point attempts. He says he watches a lotof Paul George and studies how the Clippers star slides betweenon-ball and off-ball prowess.

"[My coaches say] just be aggressive and attack the defense,"Richmond said. "[Wagner and Bradshaw] are doing their part, whichmakes the defense act a lot on them. So it just makes me flowmore."

Richmond's highlight moment came with one posterizing dunk intransition; he even cut his wrist on the rim from throwing down toohard. After sitting for a short spell on the bench, he came backand added another unassisted driving score.

Wagner and Bradshaw rightfully take a lot of the defense'sfocus, allowing Richmond to capitalize on his advantages and showoff his versatile game. He credits his competitive friendship withthe two for helping build his status as a 3-star junior.

"We always compete, and I feel like in practice, they make mebetter and I make them better," Richmond said.

Dasear Haskins, Camden —Bradshawpicked up his fourth foul early in the second half and Haskins hadto step in and play major minutes in his absence. The senior woundup with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench,outhustling a smaller Bishop Gorman team on the glass and logging apair of timely blocks. He's a really powerful attacking player andthat should lead to success when he does pick his college path.

Boys — ChristopherColumbus (FL) 47, Sierra Canyon (CA) 46

Cameron Boozer ➡️ Cayden Boozer to startthis game @HoophallClassic‼️Tune in live on ESPNU 🏀🚨 pic.twitter.com/K8LNXzUdgM

— SportsCenter NEXT (@SCNext) January 16, 2023

Cameron Boozer, Christopher Columbus—After dominating Saturday against SanYsidro, Boozer ran into a tougher physical matchup againstSierra Canyon. The superstar sophomore still managed to rack up 18points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists, and was the vocal leader forChristopher Columbus in its comeback victory.

Boozer challenged his team to be physical and even gestured forteammate Malik Abdullahi to "play big" while they waited to rebounda free throw before their final possession. Abdullahi would go onto score the winning put-back layup with three seconds left.

"[Physicality] was super important," Boozer said. "They're ateam that crashes really hard, they're physical, they're big andstrong, so for us to play physical is a huge thing."

Boozer was more of an interior presence in this contest and onlyshot 2-of-7 from beyond the arc, but his makes looked cool andcomfortable. It's impressive to see his play style adapt to theopponent and result in two wins.

Cayden Boozer, Christopher Columbus—Cameron had the bigger stat line, but CaydenBoozer's 11 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists felt huge in thecontext of the game. He faced off against a tough Sierra Canyonguard rotation that included Bronny James and Isaiah Elohim. Boozersaid facing that competition forced him to play smarter.

"The pick-and-roll really worked for me, especially trying toget that switch or just a little bit of an advantage," he said."Those two guys are really good defenders, so I just had to try toconfuse them a little bit and get to my spots."

Amidst those scores was a neat layup off of a spinning drivethat got a deserved response from the crowd. Boozer splashed hislone three-point attempt while using a screen from his brother. Atthis point, their two-man synergy is natural, and they create easychances for each other.

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