Raleigh Egypt Tops Wise to Win the Maryland National Hoops Classic

Carla Peay €" WI Sports Editor | 12/31/2009, 12:19 a.m.

A little €March Madness€ style flavor came to Prince George€s County, as the first Maryland National Hoops Classic came to a close on Wed., Dec. 30, with the Raleigh Egypt Pharaohs of Memphis, Tenn., emerging as the tournament winners. The Pharaohs defeated the Pumas of Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Md., 74-67 in the Championship Game of the three-day single elimination tournament that featured their own version of an Elite Eight.

The leading scorer for the Pharaohs was senior guard Rashad Harris with 20 points. Topping the Wise Pumas was senior guard Daryl Traynham with 29 points.

€We were very excited to be a part of this tournament,€ said Pharaohs head coach Brian Brooks. €Every year we go [to a tournament] somewhere, and we wanted to be a part of this. We were really given first class treatment, and our kids will be talking about this experience for a long time,€ Brooks said.Although Wise was disappointed by the loss, Puma€s head coach O.J. Johnson praised his team€s effort.

€We played very hard, we just couldn€t make shots, and had trouble rebounding. We gave them too many second shots at the basket. I give a lot of credit to Raleigh Egypt,€ said Johnson, who called the tournament €a good experience€ for the kids.

€The tournament was wonderful. It was very well put on, and we look forward to hosting it next year,€ Johnson said.

In the runner-up contest, the Herbert Hoover Cardinals of San Diego, Ca. defeated the Friendly Patriots of Fort Washington, Md., 63-57. The Cardinals high scorer was junior forward Dame Ndiaye with 23 points. The leading scorer for the Patriots was junior guard/forward Davon Morton with 16 points.

€We€re a young team and we have some maturity issues, which come out on occasion, but I€m pleased with our effort in this game,€ said Hoover head coach Ollie Goulston. €We grew up a little bit in this tournament. We play our best basketball in February and March, so this was a good test for us,€ said Goulston, who was also pleased with the tournament overall.

€This tournament was terrific. We play in national tournaments all over the country, and this one was first class all the way,€ Goulston said.

In the Consolation Bracket of the tournament, the champion was the Bladensburg Mustangs of Bladensburg, Md., who defeated the JEB Stuart Raiders of Falls Church, Va., 39-28. In the consolation runner-up contest, the Calvin Coolidge Colts of Washington, D.C. defeated the Mergenthaler Mustangs of Baltimore, Md., 76 -71.

Consolation bracket high scorers were junior guard Greg Reed-LaFortune, who scored 20 points for Bladensburg; senior guard Antonio Harris, who scored 16 points for JEB Stuart; junior guard Antonio Smith, who scored 31 points for Coolidge; and senior forward Karon Richardson, who scored 22 points for Mergenthaler.

Encouraged by the success of the first ever MNHC, tournament sponsors have already started talking about ideas for next year€s Classic, including a possible expansion to 12 or 16 teams.

€This year was just the beginning,€ said Petey Green, President of the Prince George€s Black Chamber of Commerce, which was one of the tournament€s sponsors.

€Next year, we€ll do it even bigger and better.€