23rd Annual All-City Classic
It was a packed house at Girard College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 23rd annual All City Classic on June 2.
With a solid crowd there to watch and a DJ booth set up playing music in the background, the Public League All-Stars took on the Non-Public League squad.
In all, three games were played; high school freshman, sophomores and juniors each had their chance to shine. Each game had two 20 minute halves with a running clock that only stopped for free throws and timeouts.
The first game of the night featured some of the best freshman in the area, yet it was sloppy early on. There were air balls on NBA-range three-pointers, careless turnovers and multiple missed dunks. However, as the players got more familiar with playing together, the quality of their play improved dramatically.
Elijah Taylor, a 6’7 forward from Imhotep Institute, led the Public roster to victory. Taylor scored a game high 18 points by dominating inside the paint and was named as the game’s MVP.
Keshaun Hammonds, a 6’0 guard from Constitution, also contributed with 16 points for the Public team.
Michael Jones had the best performance by a freshman on the Non-Public team. Playing in his high school arena, the 6’8 forward scored 17 points and was named as his team’s MVP.
Game two was probably the most exciting one of the night. A star-studded class of sophomores took to the court and put on a display for everyone who had the pleasure to watch.
Naheem McLeod was dominant early on for the Public roster. The 7’0 center from Plymouth Whitemarsh scored a game high 18 points, with ten of them coming early on in the first half. McLeod was also named as the defensive player of the game.
Alongside McLeod, Chereef Knox dazzled the crowd with a scoring outburst late in the first half. Knox, a 6’6 forward from Imhotep, scored 13 of 15 points for the Public team during a four-minute stretch late in the first half.
After a couple of trips to the free throw line, Knox drove the lane and tried a contested layup with his non-dominant left hand. Through hard contact, Knox laid the ball up perfectly off the glass and converted from the free throw line for an insane and-one play.
On the next Public team possession, he made a putback layup, and then he followed that up with a deep three-pointer. By the game’s end, Knox had scored 17 points. He led his team to victory and was named as the MVP.
Mark Bradshaw had a solid outing for the Non-Public roster. A 5’10 guard from Archbishop Carroll, Bradshaw scored 14 points, which was a team high and earned him the Non-Public MVP. The unselfish player award went to Christian Ray, a 6’3 guard from Haverford School.
In the final matchup of the night, Sam Sessoms stole the show by putting his ball handling skills, quickness, court vision and shooting ability on full display. The 5’11 guard from Shipley opened up the game by scoring or assisting on 15 of the Non-Public team’s first 17 points.
The Public team had no answer for Sessoms, who almost single handedly gave the Non-Pubic squad an early 17-4 lead.
However, the Public team battled back thanks to the play of Ahmin Williams and Rahmir Moore. Williams, a 6’2 guard from Plymouth Whitemarsh, scored a team high 15 points and Moore was eventually named as the games MVP.
Da’Quan Granberry, from Chi-Chester, was a defensive catalyst for the Public team and was rewarded by being named the game’s best defensive player.
Thanks to a combined effort, the Public squad came away with an 80-75 win.
Sessoms finished the night with a game high 17 points. He drained three jumpers from behind the arc and had several assists to go along with the points he scored.
(Photo Credit: Wave Lane)