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FutureStarrBlair Academy Girls Basketball - Prep A Tournament Semifinal
On Wednesday night, two Mercer County teams upset top-seeded St. Benedict's Prep in the state semifinals of Prep A tournament.
The Gray Bees cruised past Hun 58-44 in Newark and Blair Academy edged Lawrenceville School 75-59 in Blairstown to advance to next week's final against the victor of Hun-St Benedict's game at Newark, which will be decided by a shootout.
Jon Stone cuts an impressive figure as he coaches Hun School's boys' basketball team. However, the Raiders have had limited success in recent years when it comes to overcoming their postseason woes, suffering a string of heartbreaking losses during the Mid-Atlantic Prep League and state Prep A tournaments.
This year, however, Stone's team has reached their peak performance when it matters most and that led them to their first MAPL championship with a 43-40 triumph against Blair in front of an enthusiastic home crowd on Saturday.
Doug Davis was given the keys to Hun's offense as its starting point guard in junior year and quickly rose to become its leading scorer with an impressive 13.8 point per game average.
In the MAPL title game, junior Andrew Young scored an incredible 18 points to secure himself a career high for points. That performance earned him Town Topics' top male newcomer award for winter high school season.
At the MAPL championship, Hun built a 12-point lead over Blair in the third quarter before mounting an incredible comeback. But with the game still tied at halftime, Davis hit key jumpers in the closing minutes to help Hun secure their victory and send Hun back home with a trophy.
Davis delivered even more clutch performance in the Prep A final, scoring eight points and dishing out four assists to help Hun hold off Blair in double overtime.
Town Topics' pick for the best male newcomer of the winter high school season is his ability to produce in crucial moments and on both ends of the floor.
Hours before Gratch was to face Peddie in the state Prep A championship game, she was forced to receive an IV infusion to replace fluids lost due to a stomach infection. But that didn't stop Gratch from trying her best to upset 10-time champions.
On a night when she needed to be at her best, Gratch emerged as an impressive force on the court as she scored 26 points and led Hun to their first ever state title. Additionally, Gratch led Hun with 7.7 rebounds per game and had an incredible 62 points on offense.
She's also a key factor in the backcourt, capable of drawing fouls and shooting from any spot on the court. Lewis was named Town Topics' top female newcomer for winter high school season after an impressive debut season.
La Salle College High School has an opportunity to clinch the Founder's Cup for a fourth time and repeat as champions in 2021. They currently lead the Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference standings with 19 points, one point ahead of St. Joseph's Prep and just two behind Malvern Prep. The Hun School, one point behind La Salle College High School in terms of points, can claim fourth seed with an overtime win against Holy Ghost Prep on Friday at Jefferson Health NE Skate Zone or split the season series even if they lose in regulation.
Blair Academy, established in 1848, is a New Jersey boarding school that offers students from grades 9 to 12 an unparalleled college preparatory education, supported by strong faculty-student relationships and an active community life.
Blair University has a well-deserved reputation for excellence and an impressive record on the mat. It boasts an illustrious coaching staff, many of whom are current or former NCAA wrestlers with extensive expertise in this sport.
Over the last three decades, Blair University's wrestling program has achieved national prominence through the accomplishments of its students and graduates. Notable names in this era include Lehigh All-Americans Tom Hutchinson, Bob Latessa and Mark Perry - leaders who have taken the Buccaneers to unprecedented heights.
Blair University boasts 69 All-Americans, 42 of which placed in the top three at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Furthermore, its wrestlers have won two of the top in-season national tournaments nearly three times as often as any other program has done.
At Blair Academy, the quality of coaching is evident through their LVWC post-graduate club that allows coaches to accompany athletes on major competitions. Not only does the club bring together some of the best young athletes from Ohio but it also offers coaching opportunities at national events like the esteemed Ironman Tournament in Ohio.
Ross Gitomer is the head coach of LVWC, having been with the program since 2005 and boasting an impressive list of coaching accomplishments to his credit. Additionally, he was previously employed as head coach of both Pennsylvania Wrestling Association and Delaware Valley Wrestling Club.
He has guided many top-rated student-athletes to their first National Prep Team titles and fostered successful coaching partnerships at universities such as Maryland, Harvard, Penn State, University of Delaware, Yale, Notre Dame and Michigan; Lehigh University; Virginia Tech; Cornell University; Washington and Columbia Universities.
In addition to his duties with LVWC, he serves as assistant coach for the Blair Academy wrestling team and assists with coaching varsity boys soccer and junior varsity girls volleyball teams. With a passion for mentoring students through college-preparatory education, his commitment has grown considerably over time.
His coaching experience spans 10 years at St. Christopher's School in Virginia, where he served as an upper-school mathematics teacher, freshman dean and head wrestling coach. A graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in music and master's in teaching, his expertise comes from within the school itself.
Blair Academy advanced to the Prep A Tournament finals for a second straight year after defeating sixth-seeded Pennington. Aswan Minatee led all scorers with 17 points and hit an important free throw late in the fourth quarter to put Blair ahead.
Aswan Minatee is not only a stellar basketball player, but an equally outstanding scholar and athlete. He's part of the National Honor Society and has been nominated for the NJSIAA Governors' Award.
He has signed a national letter of intent to play at Monmouth University and is considered one of the most sought-after players in America. Additionally, he earned a place among the top 10 candidates for Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year.
His game has been driven by his capacity for creating chances for teammates. A powerful, quick, and hardworking ball handler, he has also displayed excellent leadership and communication abilities throughout his career.
Last season, Blair's Prep A championship run saw the junior guard score 19 goals and add 15 assists. This year he has become an even greater force with his ability to score on the go and create chances for teammates.
Aswan's ability to open doors for his teammates has had a significant impact on their team's success, as the Gray Bees are averaging 52.9 points per game and are among the top-five New Jersey teams. A four-year varsity starter, Aswan has earned two NJSIAA All-State selections as well as being named an NJSIAA All-Star.
He has been an integral part of the Blair Academy program for many years and maintains a close relationship with both its alumni and school. Furthermore, he is vocal in his support of both the school and its community, working tirelessly to promote basketball at the school.
His leadership has taught his teammates to play together and work as a unit, serving as an example for younger students. Recently, he was inducted into St. Benedict's Sports Hall of Fame.
Aswan is an accomplished all-around athlete who has captained several teams, such as the soccer, cross-country and track & field squads, as well as basketball. He holds three captaincy titles and was twice New Jersey state champion in track & field; furthermore he was named 2014 NJSIAA All-State athlete of the year.
On the football field, he has been an impressive leader on the offensive line. His leadership has helped propel their team to an impressive 12-1 record this season and their offense is currently ranked number one in NJSIAA rankings.
This season, The Gray Bees have been a major recruiting force, with several players from throughout New Jersey signing national letters of intent. Additionally, they received an official national letter of intent from Monmouth University's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference finalist Hawks and appear poised to become the most dominant program in New Jersey for some time now.
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Espresso is the ideal beverage to power through a busy day. Crafted by pressing near-boiling water through finely ground beans under extreme pressure, espresso has more caffeine content than standard coffee and provides an intense burst of energy.
Good news! Now you can enjoy your own espresso at home or work. These machines look similar to what cafes offer, but are smaller and more budget friendly.
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When purchasing a washing machine, space should be taken into consideration. If your apartment is small, opt for a compact model that fits neatly into your cabinet; on the other hand, if you have more room, consider investing in an expansive model with multiple settings to serve more people comfortably.
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Kobe Bryant made an impressive first All-Star Game impression. Fans voted him in as their starter and he delivered an impressive performance.
His All-Star debut was concluded with a dunk contest, where he showcased his skills with two dunks - one being an impressive double pump and sweeping one-handed reverse.
Kobe Bryant had the 2004 All-Star Game in Atlanta as his chance to prove he was one of basketball's greats. He finished top in voting and put on an amazing performance, scoring 22 points, grabbing seven rebounds, and making six assists while going head-to-head against Michael Jordan.
Bryant never took for granted the chance to entertain the crowd, even throwing up a little something special like Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella records' iconic rock sign for added effect.
He was also renowned for his charitable initiatives, such as working with Make-A-Wish and supporting Stand Up To Cancer. Additionally, he captained USA Basketball at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship where they achieved an incredible 10-0 record and earned themselves a place at Beijing 2008. In 2008, their team went on to win gold at the Olympic Games!
At 19 years old, Kobe Bryant made history as the youngest player ever to start in an NBA All-Star Game. His 22 point, seven rebound and six assist performance left a lasting impression on the Atlanta crowd.
In his first matchup against Michael Jordan, John Lebron got trash-talked in a battle of the ages. Ultimately, the East won 125-115 and Jordan earned MVP honors.
Bryant's debut was an important one for the Lakers, as they had four players on the West team. He unleashed a series of spectacular dunks that had fans on their feet and earned him his second All-Star Game MVP honors.
Kobe Bryant made an unforgettable All-Star Debut in 1998 at Madison Square Garden, joining Shaquille O'Neal and winning MVP in front of his hometown fans.
He earned himself the title of MVP of the West, leading his team with 31 points while dishing out 10 offensive rebounds.
James, now a star, was still young in 2006 when his performance against the East made him even more remarkable. A rookie averaging only 18 points per game, James led his home crowd of supporters to an amazing 135-114 victory against their opponents.
James was an admirable sport and exhibited great maturity. He spoke well of teammates, took time to sign autographs and appreciated the history of the game. James seemed able to handle all the pressure that comes with being a superstar athlete with ease.
The 2007 All-Star Game wasn't a huge success, but Kobe Bryant's performance stood out. At 19 years old, he became the youngest All-Star ever chosen and led his conference with 18 points.
On this historic occasion, Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal made their first All-Star Game appearance as teammates for the West team - their combined scoring effort leading to a 153-132 triumph against their East counterparts.
Kobe had earned 1 million votes during his rookie season, which earned him selection for the All-Star Game. On this special occasion, he got to showcase his skills and win the MVP award despite being jeered by fans in Philadelphia.
At a young age, LeBron James was profoundly moved by Kobe Bryant's performance at the first All-Star Game and his resilience in the face of hardship. This game marked an epiphany for him.
In 1998, Kobe was part of an unforgettable All-Star battle against Michael Jordan at Madison Square Garden. Both players started for their respective teams and each did a remarkable job on the court.
Early and often, Bryant took on MJ, challenging him both on the court and in the locker room. Their fierce competition proved instrumental to the Lakers' three-peat success.
At the 2009 All-Star Game, LeBron James was still a young man. At 19 years and 134 days, he had already won Rookie of the Year, recorded a triple-double and scored over 1,000 points during his rookie professional season.
In that game, he scored 25 points - far surpassing any prep-to-pro player's debut total of 11. His combined points total surpassed that of Jonathan Bender (11), Eddy Curry (19), Kwame Brown (5), Amar'e Stoudemire (10), Tracy McGrady (6) and Kevin Garnett (7) in their All-Star debuts.
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal joined forces to power the West, with O'Neal returning to his sidekick role, feeding Bryant 17 points in just 11 minutes of action as they cruised to a 146-119 victory that earned both players All-Star co-MVP honors.
LeBron James had never before played in the All-Star Game, but his performance at 2010 NBA All-Star Game left an impact on Kobe Bryant. Not only did James lead voting for All-Star selections, he also led his hometown Lakers to victory.
Kobe Bryant returned to the All-Star Game after a long absence and rejoined Shaquille O'Neal on the West squad. Despite O'Neal's injury, the two put on an incredible show together.
Bryant's first All-Star Game for the Los Angeles Lakers was an exciting one, as he scored 31 points and dished out five assists. His highlights included a daring cross-over on Jason Kidd and an elegant no-look pass to Tim Duncan.
Kobe Bryant had an outstanding first half of 2010-11, finishing the year with 31 points per game and leading the league in scoring. His performance earned him selection to the 2011 All-Star Game where he had an unforgettable debut.
He led the West to victory and earned himself the MVP award with 37 points and 14 rebounds, helping the West hold off a late charge from the East to win 148-143.
At 19 years old, Kobe was already a superstar on the rise. He was promoted as being the next big thing by TV, shoe companies and the NBA - cementing himself as one of basketball's brightest prospects.
Bryant was still a young superstar when he made his All-Star debut in 1998. His teammate Michael Jordan was already two-time champion and the league's all-time leading scorer at that time.
As the teams took to the court, they were welcomed by an upbeat tune from Dutch dance duo 2 Unlimited. It was an appropriate start to an All-Star Game that would leave a lasting impression on LeBron James as a youngster.
Kobe Bryant got the short end of an exchange with Miami's Dwyane Wade that left his nose broken, yet he didn't let that stop him from giving one of his finest performances during a midseason exhibition match. He helped the West win by a wide margin 146-119 and earned co-MVP honors alongside Shaquille O'Neal.
Kobe Bryant made his All-Star debut in Philadelphia and put on an incredible performance. His hometown fans were brought to their feet with a series of dunks, including a 360-slam off Shaquille O'Neal's lob and double-pump two-handed slam.
In 2007, the Black Mamba led his West team to an impressive 21-point victory, earning him his second All-Star Game MVP honors. Additionally, he scored 31 points against LeBron James/Shaquille O'Neal's Eastern Conference squad.
On this night of triumph and unity, they set aside any past tension to share the spotlight together on the court. In fact, they would go on to win three straight NBA titles together.