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Purvis, Gill set on protecting home court

Rodney Purvis and Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) will take advantage of their hometown advantage at the High School OT Holiday Invitational this week. Courtesy of NBPA

RALEIGH, N.C. -- In his four years at Upper Room Christian Academy (Raleigh, N.C.), Rodney Purvis has lost just 10 home games.

That’s pretty remarkable by most standards, but for Purvis it’s 10 too many.

“I’m such a competitor and I hate, I mean haaate to lose,” said Purvis, who is ranked No. 16 in the ESPNU 100. “But it’s different when you lose at home. It’s like you almost feel violated. Like someone came in and stole something that was yours. I can’t have that.”

It’s the mindset Purvis hopes propels he and the Eagles to the High School OT Holiday Invitational title this week at Broughton High School (Raleigh, N.C.).

Upper Room will face Body of Christ Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) in the first round on Dec. 28 at 5:40 p.m. ET. The championship will commence Dec. 30 at 9 p.m. ET.

“The tournament is in Raleigh and that’s my city,” said Purvis, a North Carolina State signee. “There are teams from around the state and the country that are playing in this tournament, but we feel like, being from here, it’s a home game for us so same rules apply. We’ve got to protect our home court.”

Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) guard Anton Gill can relate.

Last year he led the Ravens to the High School OT title with a 57-52 win over Middle Creek (Apex, N.C.). The Ravens knocked off Greenfield (Wilson, N.C.), 68-54, in their opener and will play the winner of St. Mark's (Southborough, Mass.) and United Faith (Charlotte, N.C.) on Dec. 29 at 5:40 p.m. ET.

“It’s definitely more motivation to win when you’re playing at home,” said Gill, a junior who recently committed to Louisville. “We definitely treat this tournament just like it’s our home gym, but I prepare for games the same way. It’s all about the win, no matter the situation because you tend to remember losses a lot longer.”

Purvis agreed.

He recalled watching his “big brothers” from Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) John Wall (Washington Wizards) and Dezmine Wells (Xavier) fall to Christ School (Arden, N.C.) in the High School OT title game in 2008.

“I just remember John and Dez being so mad about losing that game,” Purvis said. “That really stuck with them because not only did they lose, they lost in their own city to an out of town school. I don’t want to feel that.”

Jason Jordan is the basketball editor for ESPNHS. He can be reached at jason.x.jordan.-ND@espn.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @JayJayESPN