In the final grassroots event of the summer, SoCal swept its NorCal counterparts in the two boys basketball games of the first-ever Prep2Prep California All-Star Classic. The Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth guard duo of Remy Martin and Devearl Ramsey earn MVP honors in the 2017 and 2016 games, respectively.
On paper, the two games of the Prep2Prep California All-Star Classic were predictable. The 2016 game, pitting Northern California’s best rising senior boys basketball players versus their SoCal counterparts, figured to be close and entertaining. In the 2017 game, the SoCal club had more firepower and NorCal was going to have to play lights out to have a chance at victory.
Both those scenarios played out to form, as the SoCal teams won both games played Sunday afternoon at Los Positas College in Livermore.
In the 2016 game, NorCal had a 3-point deficit with 9.9 seconds remaining and the ball with an excellent chance to tie the game. Going into the possession, NorCal had converted 16-of-49 3-pointers, but its final attempt by De La Salle’s Jordan Ratinho was just long and SoCal came away with a 137-134 win.
Despite taking an early 16-6 lead, the 2017 NorCal club couldn’t keep up with the SoCal junior unit, which took control by the end of the first quarter and cruised to a 135-114 win.
Point guard Devearl Ramsey, a 5-foot-10 senior at Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth), was named P2P 2016 game MVP after scoring 20 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists for the victorious South club. He got the 2016 South club going at the beginning of the game by pushing the ball in transition and making difficult outside shots.
“It’s an all-star game…we wanted to run and gun…that’s our style…we wanted to play the way we play, not adjust to anyone else’s,” said Ramsey, who will be a four-year standout at point guard for Sierra Canyon. “NorCal was a good team. Jordan Ford is a great player; he makes difficult finishes. Nikhil Peters showed me some stuff, too.”
Ford, a 6-foot point guard at Folsom, was NorCal 2016’s best all-around performer. Ford hit a late 3-pointer to get NorCal within one possession after it trailed by double digits with less than 4 minutes remaining. Ford, who is reportedly down to St. Mary’s, UCSB, and Oregon State for college, kept his team in the game by making difficult shots around the rim, getting his team in scoring position with solid ball-handling and by making the perimeter shot. He finished with a game-high 28 points on 8-of-11 shooting, with four rebounds and three assists. Ford connected on 5-of-6 3-pointers and all seven of his free throw attempts.
The North (which included players from CIF Central Section programs) had a great opportunity to win the game because of its outside shooting. The team shot 17-of-40 from 3-point range, including 12-of-23 in the first half.
Doing a lot of the damage from the outside was the De La Sale of Concord duo of Ratinho and Peters. Ratinho, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard, made 4-of-7 3-pointers and finished with 20 points. Peters, a muscular 6-foot-5 wing who looks like he could have helped the Spartans’ vaunted football program Saturday night in Texas, made 5-of-11 3-pointers and finished with 25 points.
NorCal led its 2016 SoCal counterparts 78-76 at halftime and eventually went up by eight points early in the third quarter. That’s when a line shift that included UCLA-bound senior point guard Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills turned around the game for the South. SoCal was down eight when Ball went in, and was up 10 when he substituted out. Ball controlled the action in that time frame with three field goals, four steals and a couple of rebounds and assists. Ball finished the game with 19 points, three rebounds and five assists, although stats don’t completely tell the story of his impact on the game.
Seven players scored in double figures for SoCal 2016, with 6-foot-7 Keith Fisher of L.A. Westchester turning in the top performance among frontcourt players. Fisher, who has improved greatly in the last calendar year, finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Ford, Peters and Ratinho were the only three players who scored more than 11 points for the North.
“I enjoyed the event and I’m usually competing against guys like Lonzo Ball,” Ramsey said. “It was fun to play with a player of that caliber.”
Remy Martin, Brandon McCoy Lead 2017 South
The main difference between the North and South clubs in the two games of the Prep2Prep California All-Star Classic was the transition game. SoCal did have more athletes, but its top programs usually play a looser style and more up tempo game where they fast break at every opportunity compared to NorCal teams. Many top NorCal clubs play a more deliberate, half-court style.
No player exemplified those contrasting styles more than Remy Martin, a 5-foot-9 rising junior point guard at Sierra Canyon. It was a clean sweep of the P2P game MVPs for the Trailblazers, as Martin took home the hardware in the 2017 game after scoring 17 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out two assists in SoCal’s 135-114 win.
The NorCal club started off well, but the outcome of the game was never in doubt during the second half. Martin’s performance, and later Ramsey’s, served as a reminder that Sierra Canyon will likely open the 2015-16 season as the No. 1 ranked team in California and as a top 10 club nationally in the FAB 50. The Trailblazers had three participants in the two games. The third was forward Cody Riley, who had 14 points and two blocked shots for the winning 2017 club.
“Our goal is to win the CIF Southern Section and state open division title,” said Martin, the state’s fastest player with the ball foul line to foul line. “We have to stay true to ourselves and keep the relationships and chemistry going.”
As if Martin’s speed with the ball wasn’t enough, the NorCal 2017 club didn’t have an answer inside for 6-foot-11 Brandon McCoy. The recent Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) transfer worked hard to get quality shots inside and was relentless on the glass. The former Morse of San Diego player led seven SoCal 2017 players in double figures with 20 points and pulled down an event-high 17 rebounds.
“My mindset coming into this game was to have fun and stay within my game…I didn’t want to get outside of it,” McCoy said. “I wanted to go hard and get the ‘W’ and that’s what we did.”
A majority of the players seemed to have fun at the two-day event, but McCoy especially stood out with his enthusiasm and approach.
“The biggest difference is my game compared to before the summer is my confidence,” McCoy said. “Going in the gym, my mindset is that since I’m in the gym practicing everyday, why should I be intimidated?”
Alfred Hollins, a 6-foot-6 small forward out of Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco, was the 2017 North club’s best prospect and its most impressive performer in practice. It carried over to the game, as Hollins scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Tydus Verhoeven, a talented 6-foot-7 finesse wing from Manteca, had a solid outing for the North with 13 points and six rebounds.