WASHINGTON, Illinois -- Thanksgiving Day is usually a time to kick back, eat copious amounts of food, and exchange stories with relatives that you thankfully only see once a year. However, things are a little different here.
Instead, the crowd in Torry Gymnasium at Washington Community High School got to witness two of the country's top high school ballers exchange buckets.
The feature matchup Thursday at the Oglethorpe, Inc. Tournament of Champions was between Spartanburg Day's Zion Williamson, the No. 2 prospect in 2018, and Anaheim Esperanza's Kezie Okpala, a 2017 Stanford signee, after each put on a show the night before.
Coming off a 50-point, 16-rebound performance, Williamson put on his usual show full of thunderous dunks, unreal blocks, and incredible finesse around the rim on his way to 22 points. This night, though, it was Okpala and Esperanza junior guard Brendan Harrick's turn to keep the fans on the edge of their seats in an impressive 76-59 win over Spartanburg Day.
Okpala, who scored 33 on Wednesday, made his own push for the ToC scoring record by pouring in 41 points on 11-for-17 shooting. At 6-foot-8, Okpala is a matchup nightmare for any opponent, because he towers over most high school guards and possesses a first step that makes defenders look as if they are standing still. He keeps the ball on a string and has developed a jumper that will give Pac-12 defenders fits in the years to come.
The Cardinal have an impact player on the way to Maples Pavilion, and this performance was further proof.
To top it off, the Robin to Okpala's Batman-like performance was Harrick, who caught fire early from behind the arc by connecting on five 3-pointers in the first half before finishing with 28 points. He will be an interesting prospect to watch for the rest of the tournament as he could be on the verge of a breakout junior campaign.
The tournament returns to action Friday at 9 AM CST live on FloHoops.
By Evan Thomas