DRAFFENVILLE – Perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, ranked at the top of USA Today’s Super 25 high school teams and the nation’s No. 4 team according to MaxPreps.com, is the headliner among 15 boys’ teams competing in this weekend’s Marshall County Hoop Fest.
It’s the 10th time and sixth year in a row the private school in Mouth of Wilson, Va., has played in the Hoop Fest. The Warriors will play Hales Franciscan of Chicago at 8 p.m. Friday in the opening session of the 16th edition of the Fest and will match up with La Lumiere School of LaPorte, Ind., at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Nine boys’ games and two girls’ contests will make up the Hoop Fest, which is an exhibition and not an elimination tournament. Besides Oak Hill of Virginia, teams will represent Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana and Missouri.
Marshall County’s girls’ and boys’ teams will play two games, as will the Oak Hill and Louisville Ballard boys.
This year’s event will be the 11th held at Marshall County High’s Reed Conder Gymnasium. The first six Hoop Fest events were held at Massac County High School in Metropolis, Ill.
A four-game session is scheduled for Friday evening, followed by afternoon and evening sessions on Saturday.
The host Marshall County Marshals play Harrisburg, Ill., at 6:30 Friday and St. Joseph (Mo.) Lafayette at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Lady Marshals also play Mt. Carmel (Ill.) at 5 p.m. Friday in the opening game and Perry County Central of Hazard at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, the second game of a three-game Session 2.
Beside Marshall County, area boys’ teams competing in the event include Calloway County and Graves County.
Other Kentucky schools include Hopkinsville and Perry County Central.
Massac County of Metropolis is the third Illinois boys’ squad in the field.
Three teams from Tennessee will compete. They are Beech High of Hendersonville, Ridgeway of Memphis and Wilson Central of Lebanon.
La Lumiere is in LaPorte, Ind., and St. Joseph Lafayette represents Missouri.
Joining Marshall County and Mt. Carmel is the girls’ team from Perry County Central.
The Hoop Fest, which has always included a blend of local teams and nationally regarded basketball powerhouse schools, has showcased players in recent years such as Kentucky’s Doron Lamb (Oak Hill, 2009), Ohio State’s Jared Sullenger (Northwood of Columbus, Ohio, 2008) and former Tennessee player Scotty Hopson (Hopkinsville University Heights, 2008).
Earlier editions of Hoop Fest featured present-day NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Michael Beasley, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose and others.
Last year’s top Hoop Fest players included Marshall Plumlee (Christ School, Arden, N.C.) and Quinn Cook (Oak Hill) of Duke, Otto Porter (Scott County Central, Sikeston, Mo.) of Georgetown, Daniel Gomis (Oak Hill) of Oregon State and Sidiki Johnson (Oak Hill) of Arizona.
This year’s Fest has its own crop of rising stars.
Oak Hill’s roster includes 7-footer A.J. Hammons, who has signed with Purdue; D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Georgetown; Jordan Adams, UCLA; Damien Wilson, Memphis; Tyler Lewis, North Carolina State.
Oak Hill will meet a formidable opponent in La Lumiere, whose lineup includes 7-0 Obij Aget, a New Mexico signee; Hanner Perea, Indiana; Raphael Davis and Jay Sampson, Purdue; and Bobo Drummond, Southern Illinois.
Four players from Memphis Ridgeway are on prep recruiters’ radar but have not yet made a comment. They are Cameron Golden, Craig Hill, Brandon Lewis and Kadario Fleming.
Other top players who will participate include Quentin Snider, a 6-1 sophomore from Ballard who has already committed to Louisville.