By Phil Anastasia
It was the night Devon Bell scored 24 against St. Benedict's.
It also was the night Tyler Ennis scored 53 against Eastern.
"He was the best player I played against in all my years," Bell said of Ennis, who used a national snub to fuel a record-setting performance at the Scholastic Play by Play Classic Thursday night at Life Center Academy.
St. Benedict's coach Mark Taylor said he learned "a hour before the game" that Ennis, a 6-2 Syracuse recruit, was not selected to play in the McDonald's All-American game.
"He was snubbed," Taylor said. "His teammates decided they were going to show that he belonged in the game. They were going to help him get 50."
Ennis' 53 points was the most in the 14-year history of the Scholastic Play by Play series of showcase games. The old mark was 50 by Camden's Dajuan Wagner in 2001.
Ennis scored 24 in the first half and 25 in the third quarter. He made five three-pointer jumpers and three traditional, three-point plays. He was 13-for-16 from the foul line.
Tyrell Green scored 18 and Isaiah Briscoe, who is regarded as one of the nation's top sophomores, added 16 for St. Benedict's, a non-NJSIAA team. Pitt recruit Mike Young added eight points and three blocks for the Gray Bees (25-1), who are ranked 13th in the nation by MaxPreps.
St. Benedict's was ranked No. 5 before a one-point loss two weeks ago to Blair Academy.
"If that's the No. 5 team in the nation I'd like to see the other four," Eastern coach Joe Murphy said.
Bell, a 6-2 senior, scored his points on a pair of three-pointers and series of hard drives to the basket. Senior forward Avery Walker added 15 and Matt Klinewski, a 6-7 junior, scored 14 for Eastern (17-5), the No. 7 team in The Inquirer Top 10.
Taylor was impressed with Bell and Klinewski.
"I don't know names but (Nos.) 10 and 44 are good players," Taylor said. "They (Eastern) are going to do well in their division."
Murphy and Bell said the experience will benefit the Vikings in the post-season tournament.
"Other teams are going to seem a lot smaller and slower after playing these guys," Murphy said.
Eastern 11 15 11 24 -- 65
St. Benedict's 31 30 35 21 -- 116
E: Devon Bell 24, Avery Walker 15, Matt Klinewski 14, Alex Barr 3, Tom Flacco 1, Logan Edwards 2, Alec Walker 2, Malik Sanders 2, Ron St. Croix 2.
SB: Tyler Ennis 53, Isaiah Briscoe 16, Denzell Taylor 6, Mike Young 8, David Wilson 2, Tyrell Green 18, Jon Williams 8, Rodney Miller 4, Trevon Gross 2, Mark Thomas 1.
Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at email@example.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.