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BASKETBALL : Area, Out-of-Town Stars Shine Bright at Slam-N-Jam

July 24, 1994|CHARLES SMITH | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The largest annual West Coast High School basketball Tournament, Nike Slam-N-Jam, ended last week with the New York Riverside Church Team defeating Kansas City Blue, 56-53, in the championship game.

The event, which involved 56 teams and 600 players from 15 states, showcased the skills of many of the country's best young basketball players, who were watched by Division I coaches such as Bob Huggins of Cincinnati, Lute Olson (Arizona), Todd Bozeman (UC Berkeley) and Jim Harrick (UCLA).

Here's a look back at some daily highlights.

Monday: Raymond Palmer, a 6-7 Crenshaw forward, scored 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and a pair of free throws. His traveling team, South LA Adidas, defeated the LA Blazers, 71-62. Palmer went two for four from the three-point line.

Crenshaw freshman Travis Reed, a 6-7 forward, had 18 points, five rebounds and two assists, but his K&E Bulls traveling team lost to Modesto, 88-77.

Team Los Angeles, comprised of eight area players--seven from Fremont--had an impressive 82-65 win over third-seeded All-Ohio Red. Fremont's Leon Jones led area players with nine points. Point guard Donnie Wilcher of Fremont added eight points. Fans can expect to see more of the same full-court traps and run-and-gun style from Fremont next season.

Tuesday: The tournament's top seed, Value for Better America, was upset by unseeded Washington D.C. City Line, 64-62. A scary moment came at 10:50 in the second half when VBA's Schea Cotton, a 6-5 forward from Mater Dei, fell to the floor after being struck in the left eye while going for a rebound. Cotton left the floor unassisted but did not return. D.C. had the momentum down the stretch, outscoring VBA, 12-3, to end the game. D.C., which won the tournament last year, was led by Ossie Jones' 15 points. Jelani McCoy of San Diego St. Augustine and Cotton finished with 21 points apiece.

Inglewood star Paul Pierce scored a game-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as his K-Swiss Pacers defeated Team Nike, 75-63. Pierce, a 6-7 forward, made all nine of his free throws. Corey Benjamin, a 6-5 junior from Fontana, had 12 points and four rebounds for Team Nike.

Wednesday: In the first semifinal game, Kansas City Blue defeated defending champion D.C. City Line, 91-75. Six-eight Manny Dies was the high-point man for K.C. Blue with 20. Forward Derek Hood of Central High, who is considered one of the top 20 players in the country, added 13. Gary Anderson of D.C. led all scorers with 22 points. The second semifinal game was won by New York Riverside Church, 73-62, over Baltimore. Six-six Tyrone Grout from Grady High in New York scored a game-high 24 points. Six-two guard Travon Broadway led Team Baltimore with 22 points, but 5-6 guard Shawnta Rogers, who chipped in 20, won the crowd with his no-look passing and long-range shooting.

Thursday: In the championship game, Vasile Estinov had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the New York Riverside Church Team. Estinov, who was named the game's most valuable player, also won the three-point competition. Derek Hood led K.C. Blue with 12 points.

Corey Benjamin of Team Nike won the slam-dunk competition.

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