Northern Region all-stars hang on to defeat Prince William

FALLS CHURCH –The first NOVA Hoops Classic was full of standard all-star game fare: fast-break dunks, thunderous blocked shots and plenty of 3-point shot attempts.

But it also provided a dramatic finish.

After Gar-Field’s Dee Howard scored eight straight points to help the Prince William team cut an 11-point fourth quarter deficit to 90-88, Howard and Stonewall Jackson’s Tyc Snow each missed 3-pointers from the top of the key, as the Northern Region team held on for the win at George C. Marshall High School.

“That was the main thing we kept on saying,” said Forest Park coach Brion Dunlap, who co-coached the Prince William squad with Stonewall’s Marcus Lawrence. “We want to go out and have fun, but we also want to play hard and try to win.”

The close finish capped an enjoyable game that wasn’t necessarily expected to be tight. The all-star game had in the past pitted two teams from the Northern Region against each other, but organizer Kevin Weeren said he would like the senior all-star game to continue with the same format as Wednesday night.

“I hope so. This was a good game to watch,” said Weeren, the Marshall head basketball coach. “I think we got what we wanted, a competitive [game].”

Weeren lauded the turnout, which included parents, fans and at least 25 college coaches, including those from Virginia Commonwealth, Shepherd, Catholic and Randolph-Macon.

After Howard canned his second straight 3-pointer to make it 90-88 with 2:12 left, the two teams traded missed attempts over four possessions each. Howard missed a three with about 50 seconds left, and Prince William tried to get a steal. The Northern Region ran the clock down to 14 seconds before Prince William committed five straight fouls to set up a one-and-one situation.

South Lakes’ Bo Taylor missed the free throw, and Prince William called a timeout to set up a shot.

Snow came off a screen and got a look from the top of the key, but the shot was off to the right, Hayfield’s Mike Lee rebounded and the clock ran out.

“I thought he had it,” said Potomac’s Tyrell Freeman, who scored a team-high 16 points to earn the Prince William team’s MVP trophy. “During the season, [Snow] was all clutch.”

Though the team practiced only once, on Tuesday, Freeman said most of the Prince William team was familiar with each other from high school, AAU and pickup games.

The Northern Region’s Yemi Fadahunsi (Mount Vernon) and Lee hit three 3-pointers in the first 92 seconds to give their team a quick 9-0 lead. But Prince William fought back, taking their first lead (28-27) on a Freeman dunk with 7:13 to go in the second of four 10-minute quarters.

“At first it was everybody just getting warmed up,” Freeman said.

At halftime, the game was tied at 39, and Prince William opened up a 57-54 lead in the third quarter. As both teams shuttled in waves of five players, the Northern Region surged ahead 84-73 with five minutes to play.

Howard scored 12 of his 15 points in the final five minutes as Prince William closed the gap to two points.

“The Prince William kids wanted to represent their area,” Weeren said. “They’re class kids, they played hard, got on the floor for loose balls.”

“Down the stretch, we missed a couple of opportunities to win,” Dunlap said. “But I’m proud of the kids. They fought back. If you get down seven to 10 in an all-star game, it’s easy for a team to give up. But that kind of symbolizes Prince William basketball. The kids always play hard.”

All 12 of Prince William’s all-stars scored in the game, and some of the contributions wouldn’t show up on the stat sheet. Snow, Gar-Field’s Chris Doss and Hylton’s Jerome Quinata impressed with ballhandling and passing, while Stonewall’s Onyie Onunaku and Corey Wheeler, Osbourn’s Jarel Moore, Osbourn Park’s Adam Hinton-Moore and Freeman came up with several big rebounds, steals and blocked shots.

“It was a good game,” Snow said. “It was our first time going against them, and it was good for the two [areas] to go up against each other. … We did pretty well.”



Onunaku 2 0-0 4, Owen 2 0-0 5, Doss 2 0-0 4, Snow 4 0-0 8, Oglesby 0 1-2 1, Moore 3 0-0 7, Quinata 1 0-2 3, Lowery 1 0-0 2, Freeman 7 2-2 16, Hinton-Moore 4 3-4 11, Howard 6 0-0 15, Wheeler 4 1-1 9. Totals 36 7-11 88.


Clarke 4 2-2 10, Taylor 2 0-0 8, Sumter 2 0-0 6, Lee 4 0-0 14, Claxton 0 0-0 0, Baker 4 0-0 9, Papageorge 2 0-0 4, Washington 1 0-0 3, Fadahunsi 6 2-2 15, Monica 3 0-0 8, Wilson 3 0-2 6, Houseman 2 0-0 4, McLaughlin-Williams, DNP. Totals 33 4-6 90.

Halftime –39-39. 3-point goals –Prince William 6 (Howard 3, Owen, Moore, Quinata), Northern Region (Lee 4, Taylor 2, Monica 2, Fadahunsi, Baker, Washington).

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