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Monday, February 26, 2007

Tigers' Signee Jeff Robinson Leads St. Patrick Over O.J. Mayo's Huntington W.V.

Basketball Game of the Week Recap

Huntington (Huntington, W.Va.) vs. St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.)

Corey Fisher and O.J. Mayo put on a show last night. Find out who came out on top in this highly-anticipated battle.

By Jon Mahoney

Huntington (Huntington, W.Va.) guard O.J. Mayo proved why he’s RISE’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2007 last night when he went off for 47 points against St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) in a game that was nationally televised on ESPN2.

However, it wasn’t enough as St. Patrick senior guard Corey Fisher scored 37 points and senior forward Jeff Robinson added 23 points and eight rebounds to lead the Celtics to a 78-76 overtime victory in front of 9,048 fans at Marshall University’s Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, W.Va. Fisher is rated the nation’s No. 40 overall recruit in the Class of 2007 by RISE, while Robinson is rated No. 63.

St. Patrick (23-1), which is ranked No. 2 in the RISE National Basketball Top 25, led the No. 3 Highlanders, 21-7, after the first quarter. Robinson and Fisher scored nine and eight points, respectively, in the quarter, while Huntington shot just 2 of 15 from the field.

However, Huntington (20-2) bounced back by going on a 12-5 run in the second and cut the lead to 36-33 at the half thanks to a Mayo 3-pointer at the buzzer. Mayo had 18 points at the half, while Fisher led the Celtics with 16.

The second half turned into the Mayo-Fisher show as each player continued to trade baskets. The Villanova-bound Fisher delivered one of the highlights of the night in the third quarter when he crossed over the USC-bound Mayo and hit an off-balance layup while being fouled by Mayo.

Mayo really heated up in the fourth by scoring 11 points, but none were bigger than his banked-in 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 70 with 32.8 seconds left. Huntington ended up getting the ball back and fed it to Mayo, but he missed the shot at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

In the extra session, Mayo, who sank nine 3-pointers in the game, scored all six of Huntington’s points on two triples. Meanwhile, Fisher and Robinson each scored four points for the Celtics and Fisher dished it to Robinson for the game-winning layup with 35 seconds left after St. Patrick had stolen the ball from Huntington senior guard Mike Taylor.

Huntington had a chance to tie or take the lead at the end, but the Highlanders missed three 3-point attempts at end with the final one coming from Mayo at the top of the key.

Huntington forward Patrick Patterson, who’s rated the nation’s No. 10 overall recruit in the Class of 2007 by RISE, scored just 10 points but barely touched the ball. He added 11 rebounds and five blocks, but the outcome of this game could have been different had the Highlanders continued to look for their talented big man.

St. Patrick was helped out by junior forward Quintrell Thomas, who added eight points and 11 rebounds, and sophomore guard Dexter Strickland, who chipped in eight points of his own.

This victory by St. Patrick could pay even bigger dividends for the Celtics. Even though Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) is No. 1 in the RISE National Basketball Top 25, St. Patrick is at least in the discussion for possibly moving up to the top spot based on the strength of its win on the road against the No. 3 team in the nation.

But before the Celtics can entertain thoughts about moving up to No. 1, they’ll have to get past Linden (Linden, N.J.) in the Frank J. Cicarell Union County Tournament finals on Saturday at 3 p.m. St. Patrick will be going for its third consecutive county title and ninth in the last 12 years.

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