|Ohio Hoopsters in the Huddle|
On Saturday, I spent a few hours at Reynoldsburg High School in Columbus as part of the 2013 Capital Hoopest, Although the field was relatively small (about 35 teams), there were a couple of games I wanted to see. I didn’t much of the game, but when I walked in, Dayton Metro was putting the finishing touches on 63-50 smack down of All-Ohio’s 7th grade team. This was a revenge game for Chuck Painter’s Metro squad, as All-Ohio beat Metro in the Grassroots tournament a few weeks ago. Beavercreek’s John Alessando had another monster game to the tune of 25 points. TK Robinson added 8 points, and Jimmy Weireck and Jamiel Goliday led All-Ohio with 11 points each. In addition, in a later game on Saturday, All-Ohio was in a heated battle with Ohio Hoopsters’ B team. When I left, All-Ohio was only up 49-45 with a little more than 8 minutes left in the game.
The game I really wanted to see featured the first match-up of the season between Lamonte Tillman’s Ohio Hoopsters squad and Excel. The game marked the return of Ty Wiley and the debut of Jabari Perkins. With Excel playing without Dane Goodwin, I though the Hoopsters might pull this one out. In the first half, both teams traded blows, and took turns playing with a lead. In front of a spirited crowd, momentum changed hands often as each team enjoyed mini runs. An Excel run at about the 3:47 mark stretched their lead to 10 points (28-18), but the Hoopsters answered with a run of their own to cut the lead to 35-29 to close the half. The big story of the 1st half was the outstanding play of Hilliard’s Isaiah Speelman (6’4 PF), who dominated the game with 18 halftime points. David Madison was the early catalyst for the Hoopsters with 11 points at the break.
|Isaiah Speelman 6'4 PF Hillard|
The second period was also about runs and multiple lead changes, as both teams enjoyed great shooting and clutch plays. There were too many momentum changing plays to count, but trust me; this game was dramatic until the very end. Because Excel made the final run, they got the 63-50 win. Speelman was great the second half as well, finishing with a game-high 33 points. With this performance, Speelman is easily one of the top 2 bigs in the class. You have to give EJ Williams the nod right now because of his sheer size and dominance, but the things Speelman is doing separates him from his peers. Speelman has great footwork; he’s quick, can pass, dribble and finish at this point of his development. David Madison was also very impressive in this game, finishing with a team-high 15 points. He may not have gotten much Buckeye Prep ink up until this point, but his upside potential might be the best of anybody on a very talented team.
|Paris Ford & Terrell Crowder|
Although most of the top 8th grade teams were in Pittsburgh at the Jam Fest, All-Ohio Red hung around town to participate in this local event. I have to admit, it was hard to get real excited about the 5-team division that didn’t really feature any compelling match-ups. Case in point, the game I watched between All-Ohio Red and the Ohio Hoopsters is not very story-worthy, as All-Ohio cruised to an easy 64-34 victory. What is new-worthy is the play of Paris Ford (6’1 SG/WF Pittsburgh). I hadn’t seen Ford play before, but I had heard some good things about his game. Needless to say, he lived up to his billing on Saturday, dropping a game-high 19 points. Ford has good length for his position, is athletic, has a solid handle and can get to cup on the regular. He appears to be more of a slasher than a shooter from what I saw on Saturday, but he is a good looking prospect. I also saw some good things out of Terrell Crowder (5’11 SG Columbus), who used his strong frame to get to and to finish with contact. Crowder finished with 15 points.
In other tournament action, Buckeye Prep’s 7th ranked Shining Stars are cruising along at the AAU Super Regional in Cincinnati. So far, the Shining Stars are 3-0 with wins over Detroit Thunder (80-41), Ohio Unity (60-43) and Cincinnati Vikings (50-42). Jackson See and Jack Cravaack are at again and are leading their team in scoring.
The #2 ranked Murphy AC (7th grade) is playing up in the 8th grade division at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest this weekend. On Saturday they started with a win over Fairfax Stars (61-42), but lost to the Detroit All-Stars 81-69. On Sunday, they lost to the Cavemen 81-79 in overtime. Dwayne Cohill Jr. was reportedly a beast in game one on Saturday. OBC’s 8th graders finished 1-1 on Sunday after playing to Canadian teams.