Miami Senior took the lead by scoring the first two points with 15:30 left in the first period, but it took less than a half minute for the Eagles to tie it with a layup by Tevin Glass. It took almost two more minutes for either team to score, with missed jumpers, layups and even a dunk as the two teams traded rebounds Once Shaquille Johnson put up a jumper for two, Milton never looked back.
At the end of the first period, Milton lead by eight. That stretched to as much as 21 in the second period.
Milton shot only 37.5 percent from the floor, putting up 48 shots and only making 18 of them. The Eagles weren't strong in free throws, going 15 for 23. But they were worst at three-pointers, missing all seven attempts.
Big Shots vice president and national recruiting director Kevin Schneider’s take on two players in the 2011 Beach Ball Classic
- Evan Nolte, Milton 6-7 senior swingman: “He can really shoot the ball.”
- Shaq Johnson, Milton 6-5 senior forward: “My money is on him to win the dunk contest. He’s one of the better leapers in the country and he’s a freakish athlete.”
The 31st Annual Beach Ball Classic will tip off today, Dec. 27, at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
If the Eagles win, they will face the winner of the Ballard Bruins/Gaffney Indians matchup at 5:15 p.m. today. That quarterfinal game will be on Thursday, Dec. 29 at 3:30 p.m. The loser of the opening game will play at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
The championship game will be at 7:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve, Saturday, Dec. 31.
All but five of this year’s teams have played in the tournament before.
According to critics, no other tournament carries the weight of the Beach Ball Classic, launching the careers of countless NBA stars, including Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby, Rasheed Wallace, Kwame Brown, Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, and Michael Irwin.
According to Executive Director John Rhodes, 2011 will be no exception as three of the nation’s top players hit the boards amid the cheers of family and fans and under the watchful eye of some of the nation’s top recruiters.
“We are excited to welcome back 2009 Champs Bishop Gorman,” said Rhodes. “In addition to an impressive team record, the Gaels have the Number One Senior in the country. At 6’6” and 210 lbs., Shabazz Muhammad has been ranked Number One since his sophomore year. Muhammad, with not only talent but also an extremely humble nature, opted to forgo the early signing period, waiting until spring to announce his college decision.
The Beach Ball Classic also boasts both the Number One junior and sophomore.
Julius Randle from Prestonwood Christian (Texas) is the Number One Junior in country and one of the top players of the class of 2013. According to Coach Chris Mayberry, he has worked hard throughout the summer, and after a great sophomore season, is poised to be a great leader on this year’s team. Julius averages 23.8 ppg and 12.2 rpg as a sophomore.
Rounding out the top three is Jahlil Okafor from Whitney Young. Okafor, the Number One Sophomore in the country is the Number One ranked power forward in the nation for the class of 2014 and ranked third overall in the nation. He is the Number One ranked player in the state of Illinois for the class of 2014, and was a member of the 16 and Under USA team who won the gold medal last summer in Mexico.
2011 Beach Ball Classic Team Lineup:
December 27-31 Myrtle Beach Convention Center
Ballard (KY) Champion, 2000
Bishop Gorman (NV) Champion, 2009
Lakota East (OH)
*Lone Peak (UT)
Miami Senior (FL)
Myrtle Beach (SC)
Prestonwood Christian (TX)
Scott County (KY)
*St. Augustine (LA)
St. Edward (OH)
*Whitney Young (IL)
*2011 marks their first year as tournament participants
**Has played in the Beach Ball Classic every year since its inception