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Holiday HoopsGiving – Opening Night

Holiday Hoopsgiving celebrated its 10th anniversary with some marquee matchups on Friday, highlighted by the Columbus (FL) vs McEachern faceoff. This game featured McEachern’s 2024 SF Ace Bailey and Columbus’s 2025 PF Cameron Boozer. Things got off to a fast start with both Baily and Boozer establishing their dominance on the offensive end. Boozer imposed his will in the paint, finishing plays or drawing fouls(11-11 from the line) from the undersized McEachern squad. Boozer is more that bruising post, he can also step outside and knock down the three ball, going 3-6 from the arc.

Bailey, the Rutgers signee, got his buckets in a different way. He used dribble moves, got out in transition and step backs to create space for his soft shooting stroke. His accomplished foot work allows him to get to his spots, making him a scoring threat wherever he is on the court. Bailey had 24 points in the first half but having to carry the load, ran out of gas and finished with 31 points (4-9 from three) and six rebounds. Boozer was fantastic throughout finishing with 40 points and 10 rebounds. Boozer got help from Michigan State signee Jace Richardson (13 points) and senior Randy Smith (14 points). 6-7 2024 F John McQueen chipped in 13 points for McEachern. Cayden Boozer (DNP)

In other action:

Dream City Christian vs Wasatch

With 2024 6-0 PG Gabe Pickens driving the bus Dream City pulled away for the win. Pickens does a very good job getting the ball to his available weapons at DCC, getting six assist and a bevy of hockey assist. One of his benefactors was athletic 2026 SG Ikenna Alozie who was always in attack mode with the ball, he stays in motion on offense allowing Pickens to find him slashing to the basket. Alozie is an active defender and utilizes his bounce to be an effective rebounder on both ends, finishing with eight boards. Arizona signee Jamari Phillips didn’t have his best shooting performance but was able to will his way to 18 points and six rebounds. Phillips is always a threat to score from outside but not having his best shooting game, relied on attacking the basket for tough finishes or getting to the line, going 7-7 on free throws. Ohio State signee, point guard John Mobley, had a slow start but was more assertive in the second half finishing with 17 points, all in the second half and eight assist. Isiah Harwell chipped in 11 points.

Huntington Prep vs Southern California Academy

2025 SG Darryn Peterson was supposed to be the big part of the story but took a hard hit to the face, in the second minute of the half, which knocked him out of the action. It was a gallant effort by Huntington but not having DP was tough to overcome. 6-6 WG Dillon Tingler, Eastern Michigan signee, did his best to keep things close, finishing with 18 points. Tingler can stretch the defense and utilizes shot fakes to get to rim and draw contact. SCA was too much though as they had five players in double figures, led by Nass Cunningham with 17 points and 11 rebounds. I was very impressed with Cunningham’s willingness to rebound in traffic and not settle for jumper. Available 2024 PG Martin Sommerville was the table setter and matched with 17 points, Miles Goodman (Penn State) scoring 11 points with cerebral WG Larry Johnson (Creighton) plays at his pace, and energy wing Dominick Stewart (Penn State) adding 10 points.

Pebblebrook vs Mount Vernon

Available 2024 6-10 C Dennis Scott III is a pick and pop machine. Scott scored 25 points, adding 11 rebounds, going 6-11 from the arc in a tough overtime win against Pebblebrook. Scott had help as 2025 SG KJ Garris had 21 points and seven rebounds, Xavier Shegog finished with 20 and 12, Sha’yah Goba added 17 points. Seniors Shegog and Goba are like players that are active on the glass and above the rim finishers. Garris is a bruising big body guard with a nice pull-up game and capable deep threat, going 3-7 from the arc.

Other notes:

2025 6-9 F Caleb Wilson continued his stellar play. When you have a player at his size that you can run your offense through, get you on bucket on the mid-post, hit perimeter shots, defend ball screens and handle the glass, you got something special. Wilson did all he could against a deeper Wheeler squad, finished with 25 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks in the loss.


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