LANDOVER -- It was lights, camera, showtime for Corey Benjamin.
The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder from Fontana (Calif.) High was a blur of action as he scored 24 points, including seven slam dunks, to lead the U.S. All-Stars to a 126-110 victory over the Capital All-Stars in last night's 23rd annual Capital Classic at USAir Arena.
Benjamin (seven assists and seven rebounds), who is undecided about where he'll take his talents, was the MVP for the U.S.
Mike Bibby, headed for Arizona, had 24 points and nine assists for the U.S.
Nate James, a 6-foot-6 forward from St. John's Prospect Hall, was the MVP for the Capitals, who trail in the series, 15-8, and have lost five of the past six games.
For the Capitals, Tony Stanley (20 points) of Washington and Lee (Va.) tied the single-game record for three-pointers with six, and Joe Lofton of Forestville contributed 17 points.
Playing for the Capitals, Southern High's two-time All-Metro Johnny Hemsley had a good overall game with 14 points, four each in assists and rebounds, and three steals. He was also tied with two other players for the most minutes (25) in the game, which will be televised on Channel 4 on Saturday at 10 a.m.
It was the climax to an illusitrious career for Hemsley, who signed for a full scholarship with the University of Miami yesterday.
He helped Southern win three 4A state crowns in the past four seasons.
"This was probably the last big-time game that I'll be involved in, and these were some of the country's premier players, guys who really studied the values of the game," said Hemsley, who at game's end rushed into the stands to greet his parents, Richard and Karen.
Hemsley, who scored his last four points on a tip-in and a short fallaway jumper to bring the locals within 108-101 with just over six minutes left in the game, added, "I woke up this morning, signed with Miami, and realized that after tonight my high school career was over."
Despite playing with a slight limp after hurting his ankle in the first half, James (21 points and five assists) went 7-for-7 from the field in the second half, including 10 points in the third period when the Capitals pulled within 93-89 -- their closest margin since the game's outset.
"It was hurting pretty bad, but I'm not one to give up," said James, who is considerring Maryland and Duke, among several other schools. "This was something I was looking forward to for four years. I wasn't going to let something like an ankle injury stop me."
The U.S. All-Stars sprinted to a 38-19 first-period lead, and led 69-54 at the half, largely thanks to Benjamin and Bibby, who hails from Brentwood, Ga.
Benjamin had 10 points in the period, including two three-pointers and a reverse dunk off an assist from Bibby, who had eight points, four assists and two three-pointers in the period.
Hemsley entered the game with 6: 49 left in the first period and had an inauspicious start, committing two fouls and going 0-for-3 from the field before settling down.
Hemsley later assisted on three baskets -- one after a steal to begin a fast break -- converted two free throws and grabbed a rebound.
Pub Date: 4/11/96