Click here to view a slideshow of all the action at the 38th Annual Capital Classic

The 38th annual Capital Classic added another exciting chapter to its storied history, as the longest-running high school all-star event in the nation took its show to the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. on April 17.

The event divides its cast of high school stars into four squads: the U.S., Suburban, District and Capital All-Stars. The Suburban, District and Capital all star teams are made up of local players from the Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia regions, respectively. The U.S. team is comprised of top talent from around the country.

Many in a late-arriving crowd missed the day’s first game, the District All-Stars against the Suburban All-Stars, a matchup which turned out to be the most competitive game of the afternoon.

The Suburban team pulled out a 104-97 victory, using a 21-3 run in the second half to open up a large lead—but one that still almost wasn’t enough to seal the win. Prince Okoroh, a standout at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md. who will attend Howard University next year, was named MVP of the early contest, adding 16 points and five rebounds.

“It’s a great honor to come out with a lot of great kids who can really play who are all going on to the next level,” Okoroh said. “Just to come out and get MVP that’s all you can ask for.”

Guard Larry Savage of Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Va., a recruit to the University of Delaware, led the District with 21 points and four rebounds. He was followed by Malcolm Clark, Washington D.C.’s Cesar Chavez High School star guard, who totaled 16 points and three rebounds. Clark helped spark a run that erased a 21-point lead in the second half, bringing the Suburban team within four points late in the contest. Clinging to a 95-91 lead, Okoroh buried a three-pointer to put the game out of reach.

The day’s second game pitted the Capital All-Stars against the U.S. All-Stars and was featured as a heavyweight bout, but turned into an early knockout. Led by point guard Jabarie Hinds of Mt. Vernon High School in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., the U.S. ran their way to a 136-115 win. Hinds tied for a game-high 19 points and added five rebounds to bring home the game’s MVP award.

The U.S. leapt out to a 66-50 halftime lead behind a jaw-dropping display from Hinds, whose array of shimmies, shakes and crossovers kept his team at least 10 points ahead for much of the half. Reluctant to label the game a blowout, Hinds said the aggressive play of his U.S. team led to the victory.

“It was a really good game,” Hinds said “Everybody on the court was very competitive. They played hard and it was a great day for friends.”

Heading to West Virginia in the fall, Hinds closed the book on a distinguished high school career that saw him win Mt. Vernon’s Mr. Basketball Award, the third player to win the award since NBA stars Elton Brand and Ben Gordon. Eager to start at West Virginia, Hinds said after the game he has set his goals for the coming year. . “Just working hard and fitting in where I can fit in hopefully I get some playing time,” he said.

Point guard Tyrone Johnson of Montrose Christian in Rockville, Md. was honored after the game for leading his school to a tournament victory in the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational. Johnson, committed to Villanova, paced the Capital team with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO