Sports / The Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com
MMA postgrads blow out Mercersburg Academy
Peterson scores 15 points in return to Berkeley County
By Eric Jones
For The Daily
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Q.J. Peterson had several could-be distractions when he and Massanutten Military Academy played Mercersburg Academy, Pa., Thursday night at the Berkeley 2000 Recreation Center.
After all, the former Hedgesville Eagles standout was returning to Berkeley County, where he became one of the best high school players in the state during his four years.
His appearance, along with the rest of his talented teammates, many future Division I players, drew close to 1,000 people for the game.
For the most part, fans were there for Peterson.
"It was a great experience," Peterson said. "It was nice to be back home, essentially, and it was a pretty decent crowd. I wanted to show them the kind of talent there is on this team, at the prep school level."
Massanutten showed off its talent in a big way, defeating the Blue Storm 101-51.
Peterson, who has signed to play at VMI, was able to put all the distractions behind, scoring 15 points and collecting four steals.
"It was a great feeling," Peterson said of the attention. "At the same time, there's a game to be played, and I can't worry about who's in the crowd and what they're saying."
"I thought I played pretty hard," Peterson said. "I didn't think my defense was as solid as it usually is, but I played pretty well. My job off the bench is to bring some energy to the team."
The game was full of energy as the Colonels, who have players going to Maryland, Kansas and Boston College, among others, ran up and down the court against an undermanned Mercersburg squad.
In the first half, the Blue Storm got the lead down to two points, 20-18, before Massanutten finished the half on a 34-16 run to grab a 54-34 halftime line.
In the first part of the run, when the Colonels scored 13 of 18 points for a 33-23 lead, Peterson a productive of four points, two steals and an assist. On one play in particular, off a missed free throw, he put a one-handed rebound back up for a basket.
Massanutten blew Mercersburg away in the second half, outscoring the Blue Storm 47-17.
Already up 63-42, the Colonels went on a 16-0 run to extend the lead to 79-42. Leading scorer Deandre Burnett, who had 19 points, started the run with 3-pointer, then Amin Abuhawwas capped off the run with short jumper from the foul line.
Massanutten finished with a 50-point win.
Mercersburg was led by Dre Willis with 24 points.
Peterson wasn't the only local connection as Massanutten coach Chad Myers played for Shepherd University. Myers and Brady Catlett, facilities manager for the rec center, were roommates at Shepherd. They collaborated on the idea, and it didn't take long for things to come together.
"I just thought it would be a great thing to get these guys some more exposure," Catlett said. "Playing for a prep school is a great way to get recognized, more than just playing in a public high school.
"With Q.J. being a local guy, and Massanutten recruiting some of the other local guys, it seemed like a good deal. Chad and I talked about it and thought it sounded like a good idea."
Catlett is hoping to have more of these kind of showcase games in the future, maybe even make it into a larger event with more teams. The first one was a success, and even raised money for programs at the rec center.
Of course, there was good basketball.
It was a good night all around.