Hamilton Heights couldn’t contain Central Park’s C.J. Jones, but the Hawks had enough scoring balance of its own to post a 63-60 victory on Saturday.
Jones broke loose for a game-high 35 points – he scored 13 in the first and third quarters – and hit four 3-pointers to lead Central Park’s attack.
The Hawks countered with four players in double figures, led by Strahinja Micakovic’s 14 points that included three 3s.
Abdulhakim Ado had 11 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocked shots in another strong performance as the Hawks improved to 26-2 on the season. Monaire McCartney and Milos Andelic each scored 10 points.
Hamilton Heights now sets its sights on the game they’ve had circled all season – a Monday matchup with famed Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.
Oak Hill (37-0), ranked No. 1 nationally by USA TODAY, had four players sign Division I basketball scholarships in November: five-star prospect Dwayne Bacon, a McDonald’s All-American, is going to Florida State; 6-foot-10-inch center Daniel Giddens signed with Ohio State; Andrew Fleming will play at Iowa; and Josh Reaves signed with Penn State.
Additionally, guard Terrence Phillips has committed to Missouri.
“There’s a lot of excitement about that game,” Hawks coach Zach Ferrell said Saturday night while driving the team bus back from Birmingham. “There are few opportunities in life when you get to play the number one team in the country at their place on their home floor.
“Obviously, Oak Hill is an amazing team with great players, great coaches and a great tradition.”
The Warriors, with coach Steve Smith in his 30th year at the school, defeated No. 9 ranked Bishop O’Dowd (15-4), 63-52, in the Nike Extravaganza late Saturday night in Santa Ana, Calif. Dwayne Bacon scored 22 points to lead Oak Hill and Terrence Phillips added 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting.
Back in December, Oak Hill knocked off Bishop O’Dowd, 58-49, in the Lolani Classic in Hawaii. Bacon and Phillips each scored 14 points for the Warriors.
On Friday, the Warriors beat No. 13 Sierra Canyon, 64-60, in the Nike Extravaganza.
This season, Oak Hill is trying to win its ninth national championship following titles in 1993, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012.
“We haven’t been at the same place as Oak Hill this season, but they’ve played several times on television and we have tape of those games,” Ferrell said. “They consistently play teams like Sierra Canyon and Bishop O’Dowd throughout the year, and other high-level teams. It’s a really good program.”
Ferrell said the Hawks will make the five-hour trip to Mouth of Wilson on Sunday and return immediately after Monday’s game. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
On Feb. 20, Hamilton Heights will travel back to West Virginia to play the country’s eighth-ranked Huntington Prep in the regular-season finale. The Hawks earlier played in the Huntington Classic and won twice, beating New Hope and Reach Your Dream, which featured University of Kentucky signee Skal Labiessere.
In between Oak Hill and Huntington Prep, Hamilton Heights will host Lighthouse Christian next Saturday.
The Hawks are scheduled to compete in the NACA national tournament at Fort Bluff in Dayton starting on Feb. 24.
Hamilton Heights 10 17 19 17 – 63
Central Park 23 8 20 9 – 60
Hamilton Heights (63) – Duran 3, Abdulhakim Ado 11, Chantha 5, Balogun 4, Strinhja Micakovic 14, McCartney 10, Andelic 10, Adheke 6.
Central Park (60) – Davis, Adberlaton 7, Makutor 4, C.J. Jones 35, Wright, Boudie 12, Elsheika 2.
3-Point Goals – Hamilton Heights 4 (Micakovic 3, Duran 1), Central Park 4 (Jones 4).
(E-mail Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)