|SMAC U-6th Grade Champions|
The best game I saw all day on Sunday was the 6th grade championship of the SMAC Grand Nationals,which featured a slug fest between SMAC U and the King James Shooting Stars. Having defeated King James earlier in pool play by 24 points, SMAC was the clear favorite heading into the game. Although King James drew first blood on a layup by Yaeal Hill, SMAC answered on the next possession to tie the score. After that, King James went on a 13-6 run with 10:08 left in the first half. SMAC would counter with a run of their own to cut the lead to 12-15 by the 8:05 mark. At about the 7:36 mark, costly King James turnovers and the emergence of lead guard Sincere Carry, SMAC seized momentum and quickly took a 21-19 lead with about 5 minutes left in the first period. With 45 tics remaining, the Shooting Stars drew to within 1 point (31-32) after a Greyson Green layup.
The score was tied several times early in the second half, before Sincere Carry starting taking over the game. Carry, a 4’5 PG from Solon, put on a clinic with his ability to separate from his defender, and get in the paint for kick out treys or bounce passes for easy layups. Although Carry did not dominate the game in terms of scoring, this kid created numerous scoring opportunities for guys like Cooper Crawford (5’10 WF Avon Lake) and Jaret Pallotta (5’9 WF Jackson). Carry performance was the most impressive I saw all day, and solidified in my mind that he is one of the top 2 or 3 floor generals in the state in his class. Carry has several advance dribble moves which were very effective in beating his defenders off the bounce. Very efficient, skilled with a healthy dose of swag is how I would describe Carry's game.
|Yael Hill-Dropped 18 Pts in Final Game|
Back to the game; despite a valiant effort by King James’ Yael Hill (game-high 18 points), who almost single handily kept the Shooting Stars in the game, SMAC eventually pulled away and finished the game with a lopsided 74-50 victory. The fact that Carry was the player of the game is an easy call; but the performance logged in by Hill was almost equally impressive. Were as Hill was a scoring machine, Carry was the consummate pass-first floor general who controlled every aspect of the game. I should mention that Carry created more points than he scored, but he proved he could get to the cup and score almost at will, while also demonstrating the ability to shoot if left open.
Although I did not watch much of the action in the 7th grade division, I did get a chance to check out DB Hoops Martin in one of their early bracket games. After only watching for a few minutes, it was evident that the go-to guy for DB Hoops is John Williams, who accounts for the bulk of the offense, either through scoring himself or creating opportunities for his teammate. In support, Derek Koch (6’3 PF West Salem) is probably the second leading scorer and leading rebounder, while Calvin Calhoun (6’3 C South Euclid) patrolled the paint defensively and blocked shots with a vengeance. In the 7th grade championship game, DB Hoops defeated the Columbus Crusaders 45-32.
SMAC’s 5th graders had a good weekend, as they captured the 5th grade division title with a 40-31 victory over Shooting Stars Sports from Kentucky. In that game, Solon’s Michael Bekeljia closed the game with 3 highlight treys in the closing minutes of the game. Other standouts for SMAC Showtime were Julius Jones (5’4 SG Macedonia) and Michael Simpson (5’3SG Twinsburg).