SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- While the battle between two budding superstars was a virtual wash, their supporting casts were left to settle the score.
Such was the scene yesterday, as Henry Sims and his No. 1-ranked Mount St. Joseph boys basketball team lost, 73-70, to Brandon Jennings and Oak Hill Academy during a hotly contested matchup at the annual Basketball Hall of Fame Spalding Hoophall Classic.
The Georgetown-bound Sims put on a display in the paint, shooting 10-for-16 from the field. He scored 32 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Even more impressive was the way he accumulated those statistics against Oak Hill's post players, who were far thicker than Sims.
"They were bigger than us, and maybe even a little stronger than us, but we thought we could go out there and match up with them," Sims said. "The good thing is that we played our hardest and gave ourselves a chance to win at the end."
The Gaels (16-2) appeared to have the game's final possession, trailing 71-70 with seven seconds remaining and a chance at a game-winning shot. But Jennings intercepted Mount St. Joseph's inbounds pass at midcourt and cruised in for a layup with 2.4 seconds left.
Considered one of the country's top seniors and signed to play at Arizona next year, Jennings matched Sims with 32 points.
Sims said even though the loss hurt, the game against Oak Hill can only benefit his team down the stretch.
"This [whole trip] was an experience," he said. "They are one of the best teams in the country, and we get to go home now and use this to our advantage."