For those who didn’t make it out to North Hagerstown High School for the Roundball Classic and the Mid-Atlantic Showcase, here’s an indicator of how it generally went: the first disrupted alley-oop came in the second half, and it was disrupted not from a defender stepping into the lane but from two teammates trying to dunk the same lob.
In what became the highest scoring game of the day, the Mid-Atlantic Showcase was the paragon of a stereotypical All-Star game, an entertainment-first, fundamental-second ode to Dunk City.
“That’s what we were saying,” Bullis point guard Anthony Thompson said. “That was the only way people were trying to score.”
Acceptable forms of scoring included dunks, alley-oops, 25-foot 3-pointers (for the smaller guys such as Thompson or Georgetown Prep’s Billah Abdul-Jalaal) or tip-dunks. The defense put on display throughout could be described as matadorish, with the occasional go at a big block.
That’s generally how All-Star games go, and Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. to near midnight festival was no exception. All in all, seven games were played — five boys, two girls — that included 94 athletes from The Gazette’s coverage area.
Even Nigel Johnson, Riverdale Baptist’s star point guard and the Prince George’s Player of the Year who played on one of the area’s most talented teams, marveled a little about the level of play and the preposterous scoring that resulted from it (his game finished 126-100).
“It was good, playing with these guys,” said Johnson, who recently rescinded his verbal commitment to George Washington University. “I mean, that’s why they’re here — they’re good.”
Thomas Utt, Frederick County’s lone representative in the Boys DMV Elite Game — was quick to note the stark differences between what he saw all year in county play and what he witnessed on Saturday.
“There was a lot of dunking. People were dunking everywhere,” said Utt, who finished with 10 points. “We don’t see that much dunking especially in Frederick County.”
Some of the top performers from the day included Watkins Mills’ Alex Sotomayor, who scored 15 points in a 103-86 win for the Chesapeake team in the Border War Elite Game. Linganore forward Seth Myers dropped 10 for the National team in the Potomac Valley Elite game. Johnson finished with 17 in the Mid-Atlantic Showcase while teammate Khary Doby — Riverdale had five in the game— chipped in 11. South Carroll’s Gavin McTavish had six for the winning Charm City squad.
But the top performer of the day had to be Laurel’s Aaron Brown, who scored 29 points and may have had the dunk of the day — which is truly saying something — in the nightcap. He beat a defender down the middle, took off just inside the free throw line and rocked it home.
The game was technically a showcase. A little show time, for one last time.