|8th Grade Cincinnati Royals at the Break|
On Friday, I took a trip down I-75 to Cincinnati to get my first look at Tucker Neal’s Bearcat Classic. When I got there, I discovered that the 3-day event would host approximately 250 boys and girls teams from grades 3rd-11th. I posted up at McGee’s Courts 4 Sports facility in Mason to check out some of the state’s top 7th and 8th grade teams.
First up was a match-up between Gene Reddy’s SMAC U and Bill Edwards’ Ohio Tar Heels squad. As you might expect from a Friday night game between a #1 and a #3 seed, the game was never really close. In fact, after the opening tip, SMAC U found themselves up 17-0 in a hurry, as the Ohio Tar Heels did not put points on the board until the 9:20 mark in the first half. By half time, the score was already a lopsided 54-13, and there was really no point watching the rest of the game. With that said, I was impressed with the play of Garret Houser, a 5’7 combo guard from Kent, Ohio, who did a great job of penetrating and finding open teammates. I don’t know how many points he scored, but he definitely impacted the game with his play making ability. Jaret Pallotta shot the ball well early, while Cooper Crawford and Gavin Plunt both provided scoring.
For the second time in a week, I had the chance to check out the 8th grade Cincinnati Royals. The last time I saw them they were being bounced from the semi-finals of my Buckeye Prep Invitational by M.A.T.T.S. Mustangs. This time, they absolutely destroyed the Shining Stars. I didn’t catch the final score, but I know it was already out of hand at the half by a score of 30-21. Before it was all over, the mercy rule was in full effect, and the clock ran until there were double zeros showing. The Royals are loaded with talent; consequently, they enjoy balanced scoring and team-oriented play. Anyone of several players can lead the team in scoring. In this game, it was Matt Sichterman and Keegan McDowell who led the Royals with 14 points apiece. Matt King added 11 points while Dan Sichterman contributed 8. The game’s leading scorer was Austin Crawford, a 6’1 SG from Brooksville, Ky., who dropped a game-high 19 points. He was really the Shining Stars’ only bright spot.
|Matt Sichterman & Keegan McDowell Shine|
For the first time this season I got the opportunity to check out the 7th grade Shining Stars. For the record, the Shining Stars are made up of several players from last year’s All-Ohio Purple team. Gone are Jordan Coovert (King James) and Kane Cooper (Queen City Prophets). However, although they did not play tonight, Cory Davis (elbow injury) and Terry Durham are still with the team. Jackson See and Jack Cravaak are also still on the roster, and both played on Friday night. There is a reason I have not talked about the game yet, that’s because it was the 3rd blowout of the evening. In this game, the Shining Stars were up 21-3 mid way through the 1st period, and eventually won the game 54-18. It’s important to note that Jackson See, a 5’10 WF from Cincinnati had an 18 point explosion in the first half, and finished with a game-high 20 points. Jack Cravaak, a 6’3 C from Madeira followed with 13 points.
|Jackson See & Jack Cravaack Lead Shining Stars|
As a couple of misc notes, 2017’s Keegan Seban is running with the 9th grade Cincinnati Lakers this year, while OBC’s Jayden Sayles is doing double duty this weekend by hooping with the 9th grade Lakers squad on Friday night, then joining his OBC team for the OBBL on Saturday and Sunday. OBC is playing up in the 9th grade division of the state-wide league. Tomorrow I plan to watch the shining Stars hook up with my 7th grade Buckeye Prep team; it should be a good one. Also, Chuck Painter’s 7th grade Dayton Metro Team is in the tournament, and with the addition of DeShawn Parker and Darius Quisenberry from the Dayton Nets, they have to be considered one of the favorites to when the whole thing. Stay tuned for the Day Two report!