Quality Education Academy celebrated the grand opening of its new gymnasium with a 64-48 upset victory over national basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy (Va.) last Friday night.
Oak Hill stormed back during the opening minutes of the second half, but the Pharaohs held steady and eventually put the game out of the reach in the final quarter. QEA swing man D’Marques Tyson torched the Warriors with a game-high 18 points, which included four three-pointers.
“What it all came down to was that our guys wanted it a little more,” said Coach Isaac Pitts. “D’Marques is a big-time pure shooter. He always has the green light to put it up. We trust him to take the shot and make it.”
Tyson was hardly a solo act. Jerelle Deberry contributed 15 points, and 6-feet-10 center Ibrahima Diallo finished with eight points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots. Point guard Imani Miller turned in a solid night’s work, logging heavy minutes against Oak Hill’s pressure defense and handing out nine assists while committing only two turnovers.
“Aside from what we got from Imani at point guard, I was pleased with Papa Ndiaye (and) Marsellis Purvis,” said Pitts. “Both are 10th graders who gave us a big lift coming off the bench.”
Initially, neither team could impose its will on the other. QEA held a slim 12-11 lead near the end of the first quarter, but for the remainder of the first half, Tyson and Deberry took charge and the Pharaohs extended their lead to 33-22 by halftime.
The Warriors made things interesting by scoring 10 unanswered points at the start of the third quarter. Cody Martin scored twice off steals. Caleb Martin hit a three-pointer, and Shelton Mitchell converted a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 33-32.
The remaining 5:12 of the third quarter belonged to Deberry and Tyson, who teamed up to score 13 points in QEA’s 14-7 spurt. On two occasions in the fourth quarter, Oak Hill managed to pull within five points of the lead, but each time, its comeback bid fell short. Tyson hit a three-pointer from the right corner with 1:54 left in the game to push the lead back to double digits at 58-46.
Mitchell, who finished with a team-high 17 points, was the only Warriors player to score in double figures. The left-handed point guard has committed to Wake Forest.
Over the years, Oak Hill has cultivated a well-earned reputation for developing Division I college basketball prospects. The Warriors have won eight high school national championships and they were national runners-up six times.
Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo and Carmelo Anthony are among those Oak Hill alumni who are now in the NBA. On this year’s Oak Hill team, the Martin twins – Cody and Caleb – played for Davie County prior to transferring. Both have committed to N.C. State.