Sunday, March 25, 2018

Nike Grassroots Tournament-Day Two Action

Sean Jones, Evan Unruh, Dwight Williams, Gabe Powers, Josiah Harris & RJ Cortez
We had a chance to catch some of the 8th grade action at Jerry Watson’s Nike Grassroots tournament at Reynoldsburg High School on Saturday.  The first game we watched was a great matchup between the 2022 North Coast Blue Chips (NCBC) and Brad Down’s SMAC Premier squad. 

When we walked in, NCBC was up bi,and by the 2.23 mark the score was 15-23, before a late SMAC run cut the margin to 20-23 with 1.15 left in the period.   Near the end of the first half, a Sean Jones (5’7”/PG/2022/Gahanna) scoring burst ran the NCBC lead to 22-27.  By midway through the 2nd half, SMAC had knotted the game at 39. Back-to-back treys by Hayden Nahra (6’1”/WF/2022/Olmsted Falls) gave SMAC a 45-39 lead.  A Sean Jones layup halted the SMAC run and cut the lead to 4 points (45-41).  NCBC retook the lead and was up 45-47 with 3.59 left in the game. The Blue Chips would go on to win 53-50.  North Coast was led in scoring by Sean Jones and Gabe Powers. 

Jones displayed great pace and the ability to score in the midrange with pull jumpers, floaters and drives to the cup, while Powers rebounded and protected the rim at a high level.  Powers also has the ability to handle the ball well for his size while pushing the ball in transition.  We also saw some good things out of Tayshun Mayfield 6’0”/WF/2022/Columbus) who made several key plays late in the game to seal the victory.  Mayfield was an all-star at our Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase 2 weeks ago so his play on Saturday was not a surprise. Trey Dennis (5'11"/SG/2022/Dayton) was also clutch and showed powerful drives to the basket.

We also had the chance to catch the Quintel Wilson's 2022 Lima Gators take on the Mid-Ohio Pumas. Basically, the Gators raced out to an early lead and were never truly tested. The lead was 9-2 early and 28-12 by halftime. The Gators would eventually get the 47-36 win to bring their win/loss record on the day to 1-1 after an earlier loss at the hands on the North Coast Blue Chips. A big part of the Gators’ early success was they 12 halftime points, all treys, handout by Evan Unruh (5’10“/SG/2022/Lima) and the 9 points and numerous rebounds added by RJ Cortez (6’1”/C/2022/Lima).  Cecil Benton Jr. (5'9"/CG/2022/Lima) also did several nice things and hit some timely shots.  It should be noted the Unruh was also an all-star at our elite showcase 2 weeks ago, and he will be participating in the All-Star Saturday all-star game this coming weekend.

We did not see the entire game, but did note that Team Teague found themselves in a dog fight with All-Ohio White.  In fact, the score was as close as 38-39 with 9.07 left in the game.  Team Teague would hang on to get the 50-41 win.  Standouts for Teague included Dwight Williams (5’10”/PG/2022/Indianapolis) who finished with 10 points and Josiah Harris (6’5”/C/2022/Canton) who added 8 points and badly needed rebounding.  We were surprised to see Ohio’s Josiah Harris running with Teague, having played with Paul McMillan’s All-Ohio squad last season. We hope to get back to the tournament on Sunday in order to catch some of the younger teams in action.


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