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Ituka leads team to victory in Maryland Elite All-Star game

Jao Ituka scored a game-high 25 points to lead Team 495 to a 92-89 victory over Team 270 in the Maryland Elite All-Star Game. PHOTO OF GEORGE SMITHGaithersburg's Jao Ituka scored a game-high 25 points to lead Team 495 to a 92-89 victory over Team 270 in the Maryland Elite All-Star Game.        PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  ROCKVILLE — The stars came out to shine Tuesday in the Maryland Elite Basketball All-Star Game at Jewish Day School.

Team 495, wearing black shirts, featured Gaithersburg’s Jao Ituka and Jordan Hawkins, Richard Montgomery’s Djordje Orcev and Miles Gally along with Rockville big man Jimmy Sorunke.

Ituka, a highly-regarded Division I prospect, scored a game-high 25 points to lead Team 495 to a 92-89 victory over Team 270, who wore white shirts.

“It was fun,” said Ituka. “It was a good game. Good competition. Everybody here is pretty good and I’m happy I was able to be part of the Maryland Elite All-Star Game.”

Springbrook's Timitrius Hawkins looks down the rim after dunking the ball during the Maryland Elite All-Star Game. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHSpringbrook's Timitrius Hawkins looks down the rim after dunking the ball during the Maryland Elite All-Star Game. PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  Sorunke, who guided Rockville to a 14-10 record last season including an appearance in the region final, scored 11 points for the victors.

Hawkins, Orcev and Magruder rising senior Ebby Asamoah each finished with 10 points for Team 495.

Meanwhile, Sherwood’s Nate Lacy scored a team-high 24 points to lead Team 270. Watkins Mill’s Papito Kalabu finished with 17 points and Springbrook’s Timitrius Hawkins added 10 points for the white squad.

Ituka scored in a variety of ways and helped Team 495 rally from a late deficit en route to the win.

In the second half, Gally rocked with the rim to give Team 270 a 67-61 advantage, but the black squad began to mount a comeback led by Ituka.

Orcev found Ituka underneath the basket and fed the 6-foot-1, 195-pound guard, who outmuscled a defender and scored with ease to put the black team ahead, 79-78.

“He was good, he just needs to pass the ball more” Ituka joked about Orcev, shouting in his direction. “It’s okay, Richard Montgomery’s going to get it this year.”

The second half was highlighted by Einstein guard Camren Ashby who made a move that wowed the crowd; he juked a defender and scored a layup that tied the game at 80-80 with 3:47 remaining in the contest.

“It was great playing with him,” said Ituka. “He’s a very good player. He’s funny. He’s cool. I like playing with him.”

Einstein, who finished 11-10 last season, could be a force to be reckoned with during the upcoming campaign.

The Titans are optimistic heading into the 2018-19 season with Ashby leading the way along with his senior classmates.

Ashby finished last season as Einstein’s second-leading scorer at 11.3 points per game but will be looked upon to provide senior leadership this season.

“I’m looking forward to the regular season,” said Ashby. “I can’t wait until the basketball season comes.”

@bls1969

 

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