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January 22, 2013

Fouls plague Vonleh in marquee matchup

SPRINGFIELD — Each year at the Hoophall Classic, there’s a can’t-miss game that brings a capacity crowd to Springfield College’s Blake Arena.

That game this year was Sunday afternoon’s Huntington Prep (WV) vs. New Hampton (NH) matchup. And the reason was No. 1 ranked recruit Andrew Wiggins and top Indiana University-bound recruit Noah Vonleh of Haverhill.

Wiggins, Huntington Prep’s 6-foot-8 forward, scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to power Huntington Prep past New Hampton, 55-47.

Moreover, he proved why he’s such a highly-regarded and sought-after recruit.

“He makes you pay in every situation,” said New Hampton Prep head coach Peter Hutchins. “I was impressed with how he went after the glass.”

Wiggins is the nation’s hottest story. One of only a few top recruits yet to make a college decision, Wiggins is being courted heavily by Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State and Syracuse.

Trading blows back and forth, Huntington Prep, the nation’s No. 5 team, according to ESPN, took a five-point lead entering the fourth quarter and was able to maintain distance from New Hampton.

New Hampton’s star player, the 6-9 Vonleh, who signed to play at Indiana this past fall, struggled in the marquee matchup with Wiggins. He fell into early foul trouble, picking up his third personal foul early in the first half.

“Ultimately, we needed him on the floor to win,” Hutchins said. “I think that’s a big part of maturing as a player, being able to play in foul trouble.”

Vonleh did provide a spark in the fourth quarter, getting New Hampton back in good shape to knock off one of the country’s top teams. With New Hampton trailing by two possessions, he buried a pair of jumpers to cut the deficit to 45-43 with three minutes to play.

New Hampton was led by point guard Travis Jorgenson, who scored a team-high 13 points. Vonleh added nine points and four rebounds in limited action.

“We were disappointed,” said Huntington Prep head coach Rob Fulford. “I feel bad for (Vonleh) to be in foul trouble on such a big stage. We wanted them to face their best.”

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