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Shooting for top of Oak Hill

February 07, 2001|By DAN SPEARS

Shooting for top of Oak Hill



St. James takes on Diop, nation's top-ranked team



St. James boys basketball coach Wayne Ridenour is hoping to draw up the perfect plan Thursday night in the 28th St. James Invitational Tournament.

That's when his Saints take on the nation's No. 1-ranked team - Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and its talented 7-foot-1 center, Sagana Diop.

Ridenour's center, Jared Knotts, has already done some drawing of his own.

"Somebody told me Jared went up to the board in history class the other day and made a drawing," Ridenour said. "Jared drew this big stick guy with a head on it, and then drew a little stick guy next to him and said, 'This is Sagana (pointing to the big person) and this is Jared."

All kidding aside, the Saints know in order to pull off a monumental upset plenty of stars are going to have to be aligned - all of them on the Warriors' bench.

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"We're not delusional. We're just going to go play hard and see what happens," Ridenour said. "Blue Ridge took them to the wire, and we played well with them, so by comparison ..."

But St. James (8-5, No. 9 Herald-Mail poll) needs its big four of Knotts, Phil Scott, Billy Keyes and Brandon Monroe to have no comparison.

The already-thin Saints are even thinner, though, because of an illness to Brock Twigg, even though, according to Ridenour, Twigg says he "would have to be dead" to not play.

"I wish this was a couple more bodies later for us," Ridenour said. "If we shoot well and they're off, we've got a chance. but if they're on all cylinders? Well, no one's beaten them yet."

No matter the cost to his team's record, though, Ridenour just wants plenty of people to see what happens.

"It's a great time of year to be a basketball junkie, like I am. ... We're nervous, but we're excited, too. We're proud to put it on, but you're always holding your breath.

"We just need people there. We need people to support this, because it's expensive."

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