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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Oak Hill returns to face Carlisle

Friday, November 8, 2013

By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor

Samuel M. Hawkins Central Gymnasium is the site for a boys' basketball contest between a perennial national prep power and one that many observers consider to be an emerging one.

Oak Hill Academy, which has played numerous past games at Hawkins Gym as part of the Member One-Time Technologies Hoops Classic, takes on Carlisle in a contest that tips off Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

A junior varsity game is slated for 6 p.m.

All tickets are $10.

Carlisle, a Virginia Independent School's (VIS) state semifinalist last year, is led by second-year head coach Jason Niblett and one of his assistant coaches is DeMario Mattox, a former standout player at Franklin County who played against Oak Hill twice during his career with the Eagles.

In 2005, Mattox, then an FCHS senior, scored eight points in a game against a Warriors' squad that featured NBA players Kevin Durrant (Oklahoma City) and Ty Lawson (Denver).

Oak Hill won the game 95-51. Mattox scored six of his eight points by swishing two 3-point field goals.

Oak Hill last played at Hawkins Gymnasium in 2012 when the Warriors faced Blue Ridge School in the Member One showcase. The Warriors won that game 91-64.

Oak Hill head coach Steve Smith won his 700th career game at Hawkins Gym during an appearance in the Member One event.

Oak Hill features four Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) recruits: Kaleb Martin and Cody Martin, both of whom have committed to North Carolina State University, B.J. Stith, a University of Virginia recruit, and Shelton Mitchell, a Wake Forest recruit.

Stith is the son of former Virginia standout Bryant Stith, an assistant coach at Old Dominion University (ODU).

Carlisle, 23-2 last season, has been ranked 25th nationally in a preseason poll conducted by

Carlisle's top player is 7-foot sophomore Thon Maker, the top-ranked sophomore in the nation who will enter college as part of the recruiting class of 2016.

Maker was the Chiefs' leading scorer last year. He averaged 23.4 points, 12.9 rebounds and 4.9 blocked shots-per-game last year.

"The improvement just over the last six months has been unreal," Niblett said of Maker to MaxPreps. "The sky is the limit for him. Off the floor, he is a great kid, very respectful, not a head-case. Thon really studies the game and doesn't mind asking questions -- you want that in a player."

Also, Eric Johnson, Carlisle's point guard, is one of the state's top recruits for 2014 and Kaleb Johnson, one of the state's top recruits for 2015.

Eric Johnson averaged 16 points and 8.3 assists-per-game last season.

Carlisle opens its season tonight with a game against Mount Zion Christian Academy of Durham, N.C., which has played in the Member One, at Laurel Park Middle School at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, the Chiefs travel to Winston-Salem. N.C. to take on Quest Preparatory at 3 p.m.

Another featured game is set for Wednesday, Nov. 27 at Bassett High School against Huntington St. Joseph Prep of Huntington, W.Va.

Last year's Huntington Prep club was led by University of Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins.

The Warriors and the Chiefs also are scheduled to play on Dec. 4 at Oak Hill.

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