Locals get the call to play classic
Looking for a new source of basketball talent for its annual senior all-star game, the Northern Region turned to Prince William County and Manassas.
Tonight at 7:30, the NOVA Hoops Classic extends its geographical range as a team from Alexandria, Arlington County and Fairfax County will meet the best seniors from this area. The game will take place at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun, but the Northern Region is tough,” said Stonewall Jackson coach Marcus Lawrence, one of Prince William’s co-coaches for tonight’s game. “I would definitely say we’re the underdog, but we’re going to have a good time. And it’s another chance for people who are unsigned to get a look from schools.”
According to Marshall coach Kevin Weeren, a handful of Division I college coaches and a wide variety of area coaches from all collegiate levels will be in attendance.
The Northern Region roster features two players from the South Lakes team that lost in Saturday’s Group AAA state final to Highland Springs. Bo Taylor and Doug McLaughlin-Williams will represent the Seahawks. Hayfield’s Jahmar Claxton, a former Osbourn Park player, also has one of the Northern Region’s 12 roster spots.
Meanwhile, Lawrence and Forest Park coach Brion Dunlap will lead a playoff-tested Prince William roster. Seven of their 12 players were on teams that went to the Group AAA, Northwest Region or Group A, Region B postseasons. That list includes three players whose teams reached state tournaments — guard Chris Doss and forward Dee Howard of Gar-Field, as well as forward/center Tyrell Freeman of Potomac. Guard Brian Owen helped lead Brentsville to a regional semifinal, while guard Tyc Snow, guard/forward Onyie Onunaku and forward Corey Wheeler did the same at Stonewall.
The rest of the Prince William/Manassas team includes Forest Park forward/center Alex Lowery; Hylton guard Jerome Quinata; Osbourn Park forward Adam Hinton-Moore; and Osbourn guards Jarel Moore and Brandon Oglesby.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” said Owen, once an AAU teammate of Snow, Howard, Quinata and Oglesby on the Prince William Pacers. “It’ll be fun playing with those guys again.”
Having played together before might help the Prince William team’s familiarity, but Owen knows the Fairfax squad is pretty talented, having seen South Lakes, Herndon and T.C. Williams all play in the postseason.
“We’ve played this game for years as either the Expo Game or the Senior Game, but just with the four districts in the Northern Region,” Weeren said. “This year our Coaches Association decided to make it a little more interesting and add Prince William to the mix. I hope we can do this every year.”
Keith McMillan contributed to this story.