Previewing the 2016 Lighthouse Classic
One of the biggest and most impressive high school basketball Thanksgiving events takes place this Friday and Saturday at Corinth (MS) High School – and, yes, you read that correctly.
Corinth, Mississippi is set to host the fourth-annual Lighthouse Classic, and, as usual, the event boasts some of the top teams and players throughout the Southeast. With 17 games in two days, 23 teams from across six states will suit up for what is becoming one of the most prestigious events of the high school season.
Seven members of the 2017 HoopSeen125 will be in attendance for the 2016 Lighthouse Classic, including the two top dogs, Wendell Carter and DeAndre Ayton.
Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Lighthouse Classic …
WHEN: November 25th & 26th (Friday & Saturday)
WHERE: Corinth (MS) High School
TOP PLAYERS: Wendell Carter, DeAndre Ayton, Mitchell Robinson, Nick Weatherspoon, John Petty, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Jamal Johnson, Robert Woodard, Tyler Harris, Ladarius Marshall, Makur Maker, Rodgerick Brown, Isaiah Kelly, DeAnthony Tipler
STORYLINES TO WATCH
Who will win the Lighthouse Prep Challenge?
Last year, the Lighthouse Classic added an interesting twist to its usual showcase games with the Lighthouse Prep Challenge. Sunrise Christian Academy (KS) and Hamilton Heights (TN) battled in Saturday’s championship showdown with Sunrise Christian coming out victorious.
This year, Hamilton Heights will look to avenge last season’s loss with a championship of their own. The talented Hamilton Heights backcourt of Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky) will face-off against The Tech Academy out of Canada to open things up Friday evening. Tech Academy features skilled big men Makur Maker and Matur Maker, the brothers of Milwaukee Bucks forward Thon Maker.
The winner of that matchup will take on the winner of Hillcrest Prep (AZ) and Tennessee Prep. Hillcrest Prep features Arizona-commit DeAndre Ayton, who many believe could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Ayton will tangle with 7-foot-3 big man Chris Sodom of Tennessee Prep, who is committed to New Mexico.
What will John Petty do for an encore?
Last year, John Petty set the Lighthouse Classic record for points in a game with 40 points against Callaway (MS). The game before, Madison Academy (AL) and now Michigan State guard Joshua Langford broke Malik Newman’s scoring record from the previous year.
After an impressive start to the season for Petty, many Mississippi basketball fans are asking one question: what does Petty have up his sleeve next?
Petty, who signed with Alabama last week, has had some big games to begin the season, but he hasn’t hit the 40 mark yet. He will have a chance to break his own record this weekend against Cordova (TN) and Pace Academy (GA).
2018 Cordova (TN) guard Tyler Harris had a big game last season and set the event record for assists in a game with 14. He will look to top that record, too.
Matchups, Matchups, Matchups
The Lighthouse Classic group has done a fantastic job of setting up matchups throughout the event. From the beginning, similar teams and players will face off against one another.
Columbus (MS) and Southwind (TN) will matchup two talented wings in 2018 forward Robert Woodard and UT-Martin signee Carlos Marshall, Jr. Both are talented shooters and scorers from everywhere on the floor.
Future Mississippi State guard Nick Weatherspoon and future Memphis guard Jamal Johnson will go head-to-head Friday afternoon as Velma Jackson (MS) and Spain Park (AL) will take on each other. Both players are liable to be on triple-double alert at the end of the game.
Chalmette (LA) and New Hope (MS) boasts two 7-footers in Western Kentucky signee Mitchell Robinson and 2018 big man Andrew Junkin. Junkin and 2017 guard Terryonte Thomas will have their hands full containing Robinson, ninth-ranked prospect in the 2017 HoopSeen 125.
Which Mississippi player begins their story?
I went to the Rodney Hood Elite Camp in August and saw some of the top prospects Mississippi has to offer. With that being said, the state is extremely talented from top to bottom, especially in the 2018 class.
Over the years, players from the host state have done a masterful job of stealing the show. Who does it this year?
Ladarius Marshall (Forest Hill), Tada Stricklen (Corinth), DeAnthony Tipler (Ashland), Ladarrius Spears (Okolona), Cameron Smith (Okolona), Ma’Darius Hobson (Houlka), Devonte Spears (Biggersville), and Andrew Junkin (New Hope) are all names to watch for over the weekend.