By Pat Leonard

The Jameer Nelson/Pete Nelson Play by Play Classic started off with a bang as Strawberry Mansion of
the Public League narrowly edged Girard College of the Bicentennial Athletic League, 74-72, in the first of five games Saturday at Schwartz Center at Widener University in Chester.

Girard College star guard John Johnson, who is committed to Pittsburgh, scored 43 points for the Cavaliers, but Strawberry Mansion's senior guard D.J. Newbill dropped 22 points and made the
game-winning shot - a three-pointer with 15 seconds remaining and his team down 72-70.

Johnson missed two crucial free throws with six seconds to play, and Mansion successfully inbounded and made one of two for the win.

Newbill was named honorable mention on the Inquirer's all-Southeastern Pa. team last season as a junior. Stan Laws, who is co-coaching Mansion along with Gerald Hendricks this season, said at the beginning
of the season that Newbill is receiving interest from Nebraska, Marquette, Florida State, LaSalle and Drexel.

Strawberry Mansion will not play again in the four-day Nelson Classic showcase. Girard College will play back-to-back days, with a matchup against Archbishop Wood at 3:30 at Gwynedd Mercy College on Sunday.

Second Game: Norristown 67, Rustin 62
A near-full Schwartz Center was buzzing after the Nelson Classic’s second game ended in thrilling fashion, with Norristown beating West Chester Rustin, 67-62, in overtime.

Rustin junior forward Cory Blake made a layup with 8.7 seconds left to tie the game at 56 and send it to overtime, but Eagles senior guard Sheldon Mayer hit a three-pointer to open scoring in the extra period, and Norristown never trailed thereafter.

Norristown senior guard/forward Jahquil Hargrove led all scorers with 21 points, while Blake led Rustin scorers with 15.

The momentum shifted permanently in overtime with Norristown up 61-58 and 1:30 to play. Norristown missed two free throws, but Eagles junior guard Tyreese White stole the ball in the backcourt and converted a layup for the 63-58 lead.

Then, on the ensuing possession, Rustin’s high-flying Blake (6-foot-4) went strong to the basket and was met by the 6-foot
tall White, who pinned the ball against the backboard and was whistled for the foul but drew oohs and ahhs from the crowd.

Rustin led by a point at the end of the third quarter, due in part to Blake slamming home an alley-oop on a designed play, but Norristown met Rustin at the rim and pulled this one out.