WASHINGTON, D.C. – Maret School senior forward Luka Garza’s all-time favorite basketball player is LeBron James.
It was fitting, then, that the last time the Verizon Center hosted the Capital Classic, James was on the court.
Fourteen years later, Garza stepped onto the same court to participate in the 44th annual All-American game along with some of the country’s best high school players.
Students from nine different states, including Florida and Minnesota, traveled to the nation’s capital Saturday to play in a game that has proved to be a stepping stone for a number of decorated NBA players.
The students were separated into two teams: The Capital All-Americans and the United States All-Americans.
Both squads lit up the scoreboard in a highly entertaining, fast-paced, highlight reel of a game that saw the United States All-Americans come away victorious, 113-101.
Garza’s 18 points and 14 rebounds earned him Most Valuable Player honors for the Capital All-Americans.
Forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree from Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia finished the game with 18 points of his own and nabbed the MVP trophy for the United States All-Americans.
Guard Brandon Simpson from Seneca Valley and Anthony Duruji and Dominic Doyle from St. Andrew’s represented Montgomery County as Capital All-Americans.
Duruji finished the game with eight points while Simpson posted four.
Pat Behan from St. Mary’s Ryken served as head coach for the Capital All-Americans. Carl Arrigale from Neumann-Goretti led the United States All-Americans.
Guard Brandon Randolph from Westtown School in New York led all scorers with 22 points, 18 of them in the second half.
Players from both teams put on a show for the fans in attendance. Guard Isaiah Washington from St. Raymond in New York hit four jumpers in a row after dribbling between his legs and juking the Capital All-American defense.
Garza, an Iowa commit, extended his 6-foot-11 frame as he snatched both offensive and defensive rebounds.
“I was so excited to hear that I was chosen to represent the DMV and I tried to represent as best as I could,” said Garza. “I’d heard a lot about some of these guys because they’re all nationally recognized players and I valued the opportunity to go against the best.”
Even though the United States All-Stars led for the entire second half, the Capital All-Stars were never far behind as basket after basket dropped for both teams.
Whenever United States would score, Capital would answer.
Forward DJ Harvey from DeMatha slammed an emphatic one-handed dunk that caused fans to cheer and leap out of their seats.
Guard Daryll Morsell from Mount St. Joseph finished the game with nine points. Morsell will be playing for the University of Maryland in the fall and appeared excited for the chance to take his game to the next level.
“I can’t wait to be a part of the winning ways of that program and keep it going,” he said. “In high school I learned how to win so I want to carry that on into college and I’m going to try my best to win as much as I can at Maryland.”
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