|Derrick Daniels-6'6 8th Grader St Mary Queen of Peace|
Sitting at a more than respectable 13-3 overall, and an 8-1 league record, Coach Byron Priest and his 8th grade Mary Queen of Peace Stars are looking for not only a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) championship, but a rematch with their arch rivals, St Charles (8-1) , in the CYO post season tournament which starts on February 4th. “We split with them this season, but they beat us last Sunday in an ugly, low scoring game,” said Priest. Although the Stars have already locked down a number one seed, as well as a first round bye in the tournament, the team’s focus appears to be centered on a rematch with St. Charles. “We expect to play St. Charles. We are rooting for them to get to the championship game,” added Priest.
The rivalry between the two programs goes back a number of years, with each program taking turns winning the regular season and tournament championship. Last year, the then 8th grade team, finished undefeated on their way to the league title. That team was led by Amos “AJ” Harris, now one of the top freshmen in the state, as well as the starting PG for Dayton Dunbar this year. However, the current team, as 7th graders last season, lost to St Charles in the championship. “It’s the first CYO game I have lost in the 2 years I have been coach here,” continued Priest.
So far this season, the Stars have relied on heavy defensive pressure and easy transition points to get to 13 wins. “We run a man-2-man and a 2-1-2 press to turn teams over. After that we get easy transition points. If you let us run, there is no one who can stop us,” offered Priest. In order to find competition, the Stars have played an aggressive non-conference schedule. “We go out of conference to get games. You only get 10 games in the CYO, and we need to test ourselves in high profile games,” Priest added. Other the St. Charles, the only other teams to beat the Stars were Valerie and South Dayton.
The Stars are led by Terrance Landers (6’1 WF) and Derrick Daniels 6’6 C), who are averaging 19 and 17 points per game, respectively. In addition, Daryl McClusky (5’6 PG) is averaging 7 assists per game. The other starters include Thomas Ellison (6’0 PF) and Cameron Greer (5’6 SG). Daniels is very familiar to Buckeye Prep based on his play at various AAU events, as well as his all-star caliber performance at the fall Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase. In fact, Daniels is ranked among Buckeye Prep’s Top 30 players statewide, and McClusky and Landers are listed among our Top 150 players in Ohio.
The Star reserves include Lamar Lawrence (6’2 PF), Mike Ivy (5’10 WF), Chris Spearman Jr. (5’7 SG), Remy Hudson (5’10 SF), Cory Hastings (5’9 SF), DeBraoun Robinson (5’7 PG), Chris Pooler (6’3 C), Dalashawn Elder (5’7 SG), Deontay Lee (5’8 SF) and Gequan Cochran (5’8 PF). Coach Priest is assisted by Chris Spearman Sr. and Kevin Long. Buckeye Prep would like to wish Coach Priest and his team much success in their upcoming tournament.
|Rodrick Caldwell-5'7 PG Stivers MS|
While we are on the subject of Dayton-area basketball, it should be noted that Valerie Middle School has an undefeated season cooking as well, and has been beating teams by 25-30 points. Valerie is led by Joey Williams (6'2 WF) and DJ Hoskins (5'11 PG). The other undefeated and dominant team in the area is a Rodrick Caldwell- led Stivers. Caldwell is listed among Buckeye Prep's Top 10 players. From what I hear, the showdown between Stivers and Valerie on January 26th is going to be a monster game! Good luck to all of the featured teams.