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February 5, 2010

Winter Park wins; Knight tops Rivers, 48-41

MORE: Check out the latest RivalsHigh Top 100 boys basketball rankings

Winter Park (Fla.) High showed why it is the No. 15 team in the RivalsHigh Top 100 boys basketball rankings with an 87-76 victory over Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Pine Crest on Friday night in Boca Raton, Fla.

But the team totals weren't really the main interest in this one.

It was the game within the game - the battle between Pine Crest's Brandon Knight and Winter Park's Austin Rivers - that packed the gym at Florida Atlantic University and pushed the game onto national TV. The two guards didn't disappoint.

Playing a game of 'can you top that?' - Knight outscored Rivers 48-41.

Knight, the No. 1 player in the RivalsHigh Top 100 for the Class of 2010, did much of his damage from the foul line, where he was a perfect 15-for-15.

The rest of the night was spent trying to create his own shots - some inside, some out - while working with a supporting cast that wasn't up to the task.

"We knew Brandon was a high-volume shooter, and we weren't going to contain him," Winter Park coach David Bailey told the Orlando Sentinel. (Read its game story here) "We knew we had to stop everyone else."

He finished 15-of-36 from the field, but the makes were impressive.

Knight attempted to bring Pine Crest back single-handedly in the fourth, at one point scoring nine straight points - and 18 of 20 - on a variety of moves.

There was a nifty 12-foot bank shot and a driving layup through the lane that produced a basket and a foul. He followed his own miss for a basket in the lane, then added a spinning bank shot where he collided with the defender but still put it in - and drew the foul.

Winter Park did everything it could to slow him down the stretch, even double- and triple-teaming him. But that didn't always work. His final points came on a 3-pointer between three Winter Park defenders with just over a minute left.

Knight, however, wasn't satisfied.

"Forty-eight points doesn't really matter to me," he told the Miami Herald. (Read its game story here) "I think people look at you not for how many points you score, but if you are a winner. That is what I want to do, win.

"Points - who really cares, really? Forty-eight is a big number, but I could have went out and had 60 if I really tried to attack every single time. A win is the most important thing."

Knight, who lists five schools among his finalists, did not always work directly against Rivers.

Knight, however, had to chase Rivers around for much of the time on the defensive end.

Rivers, the No. 8 player in the Class of 2011 and headed to Florida, started the second quarter quickly, hitting a pair of long 3-pointers that helped break open the game. He added his own assortment of running banks and 3-pointers the rest of the way.

He ended the game 14-for-24 from the field.

"Brandon is a heck of a player," Rivers told the Herald. "I wanted to go against him. It is awesome fun going against players like him. I am the best player on his team and he is the best player, so we had to go against each other."

The difference in the team contest? Rivers had help.

Unheralded senior guard John David Swanson couldn't be stopped. He went six-for-seven from behind the 3-point line and finished with 22 points.

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