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It was the 50th anniversary of the Capital Classic Basketball game, pitting the U.S. All-Star Team — composed of the top seniors from across the country — against the Capital All Star Team — made up of the top seniors from the DMV area.  It proved to be an entertaining contest for fans gathered on a Saturday afternoon at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast, D.C.  In the end, it was the local group who pulled off the surprising 88-81 win over their counterparts.

Adrian Branch gives instructions to US Stars MVP Mikey Williams in the 50th Annual Capital Classic (Jonae Guest/The Washington Informer)
Adrian Branch gives instructions to US Stars MVP Mikey Williams in the 50th Annual Capital Classic (Jonae Guest/The Washington Informer)

Many in attendance came to see Mikey Williams, the highly touted, five-star guard from California who is headed to the University of Memphis.  

In the end, however, it was Tyler Perkins from The Landon School who stole the show.  Perkins, who is headed for the University of Pennsylvania, poured in a game-high 23 points, on an eight of 12 shooting performance, including five of eight from beyond the stripe, which proved to be the difference. 

“There were a lot of players here who have reputations as being some of the best in the country,” said Perkins, who was named the MVP for the locals.  “I felt some kind of way.  I was motivated to show people that I could compete at this level.  I admit that I did have a bit of a chip on my shoulder.” 

Added Capital All Star coach Calos Poindexter, “I could tell from our practice on Friday that he’s a special incentive for this game.  I was very impressed with his overall ability, especially coming up with the big shots when we needed them.” 

The Capital All Stars took the early lead and once led by 12 early before the U.S. All-Stars made a strong push to take the lead at 51-50 at intermission.   

It turned into a back-and-forth battle in the third quarter with Williams coming alive, displaying an array of skills that validate his status.  The smooth 6’2 guard scored or set up teammates for baskets. 

But Perkins refused to let it affect his play as he continued to stave off several U.S. All-Stars’ rallies with timely shots as the shot clock would down. 

Adrian Branch, the coach of the U.S. All-Stars is a former player in the game for the Capital All Stars after staring at DeMatha and the University of Maryland before a short stint in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers.   

He offered his perspective on the experience. 

“It was very interesting sitting in as a coach of these talented young men,” said Branch, currently an analyst for college basketball on ESPN. “Obviously when you get this kind of talent together in such a short amount of time, there are challenges. But I was pleased with the effort to rally and make a game of it.” 

The game is working to go back to the days like that of past participants, such stars as Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Moses Malone, Dominque Wilkins, Grant Hill, Doc Rivers and Klay Thompson. There were NBA scouts in attendance to evaluate some of the future pros. 

“We are pleased with the overall success of the Capital Classic,” said Ricky Goings, director of Players Engagement and Alumni Relations for the Classic.   

“There are some things that we have to work on to improve,” Goings added, “but the most important thing is that we have something to build on for the future.” 

Branch said, “Ricky and his team did a great job.” 

“It was a great atmosphere, there was a tribute to the alums of the game and competition among some of the best in basketball,” Branch explained. “What I came away with is that there is still some outstanding basketball here in the DMV.  The future is bright and I am honored and humbled that I had the chance to be a part of this 50th anniversary.”

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