From my vantage point at the shootout here's what caught my eye.
Game 1 Central vs Long Beach Poly (Girls): Poly is loaded, Jasmine Dixon is nice player but forced too many shots. April Cook was big on defense and Monique Oliver is a dominating post player. Losing Theairra Taylor to foul trouble in the first half was a big loss for Central. But once it was shown the Kyana Johnson wasn't going to be able to handle Poly's pressure, Willie Taylor needed to make the adjustment to Kiana Buford much sooner than he did. 66-51 Poly wins and it wasn't that close.
Game 2 Princeton vs Mobile, AL LeFlore. Wow, did I get this one wrong. This turned out to be the best game of the day. Nick Williams was about the only player who showed up for LeFlore as Demarcus Cousins looked really disinterested. But all credit goes to Princeton who played a terrific game. Berggren had his hands full with Cousins and more than held his own. Nice job with a box and 1 on Cousins late to get back in it, but I would have gone diamond and 1 with Berggren in the back so that Cousins wouldn't have gotten the 2 big offensive rebounds late. Cousins was really frustrated by it which I also saw last week against Vincent, front him and he gets mad. He'll need to work on that as that's not a good sign. Nice show of a triangle and 2 for 1 possession too, I thought they'd try it more at that point. Princeton gets to within 4 but then a 20-4 run by LeFlore late puts it away. Nice adjustment by coach Hughley to get Nick Williams at the high post where he hit 2 critical jumpers during the run to seal the game. The problem is that this was there all day and he didn't come back to it until that late. It'd be really funny if Princeton actually ran the Princeton offense since they have the mascot and colors to match.
Game 3: Cass Lake-Bena vs Memphis, TN White Station. Joe Jackson was well worth it with his 29 pts. Quick, athletic, big hops, a true stud. CLB got nothing out of their defense. White Station ended up with a balanced attack. CLB was just outclassed in this game 99-68.
Game 4: Hopkins vs Dematha. Raymond Cowles was flammable early (26 total) and Trent Lockett played well with 16. Dematha had some success with their 2-3 trap and it took Hopkins a while to move their back line post player to the high post to break it. Hopkins showed on Thursday vs Kennedy that they like to keep both posts low against zone so it made some sense that Novak took time to adjust. Naji Hibbert showed he's a player for Dematha with his 29 pts. Josh Selby took tough shots but his 20 pts were also worth watching. The big story here though is that Hopkins was up 12 late and tried everything possible to give the game away. Very surprising from a Ken Novak team to see quick, bad shots in those situations. With the score only being 4 pts and a minute left, Broghammer tips a missed FT to Lockett who gets a 3 pt play out of it and that finally sealed the deal for the 73-66 Hopkins win.
Game 5: Minnetonka vs Campbell Hall. Close 1st half though a late Campbell Hall run took a 2 pt game to 7 at halftime. Only 7 pts at the 13:42 TV timeout and then Jrue Holiday put on a show. He finishes with 30 and totally dominated the run in the 2nd half. Hedstrom tried Udo and McBounds on him amongst others and it didn't matter. For those who think Kyle Risinger would have made a difference, forget it as Holiday was just that good. One of the best performances in the history of the shootout. CJ Erickson was impressive for the Skippers. He surprises you with his athleticism, especially in the area of blocking shots. One area that Tonka could have gone to more I thought was Sedrick McBounds on the post against James Johnson. Couple of strange things from this game. A 10 second FT violation which I've never seen before and a cheerleader in full uniform with a full neck brace. Fortunately she wasn't doing any of the routines. Yes girls, cheerleading can be dangerous. Dallas Rutherford (1st 10 pts for the Vikings) and Keegan Hornbuckle also played very well for the Vikings with 23 and 14 pts respectively.
Game 6: Benilde St. Margaret's vs Madison Memorial. Some awards to give out. 1) Most creative student section goes to BSM. 2) Most anemic offense from a team that has enough talent to score goes to Memorial. 3) Biggest disappointment of the shootout, Memorial
Memorial's offense was unbelievably awful. Devonte Maymon took bad shot after bad shot and didn't make them and still kept taking them. Shot them right out of the game. Vander Blue was impressive with 23 and will develop nicely in that program. Jeronne Maymon's stats were deceptive, yes he had 20 rbs and 19 pts, but most of those 19 were on the offensive glass in the 2nd half. He's really bulked up since they played here 2 years ago vs Jefferson and will be a nice player for someone down the road. His problem is that he plays post for them and he'll be a wing at the next level. In the 1st half he was awful missing bunny after bunny. All around this was an awful performance by Memorial. Strange that they tried an inverted triangle and 2 on Battle and Taylor to start both halves. I got it totally wrong on the sophomore guards, they didn't guard Taylor. Matt Thomas and Spencer Bata put an end to the junk D with 7 3s between them. This should have been a great matchup for Memorial (no Stu Neville, ankle injury) with 4 guards vs 4 guards and Maymon vs Battle so I thought they could have been successful with straight man. Fun highlight of the night comes in the last 20 seconds when you had mask vs mask. 2 broken nose masks for Matt Laubmeier (Memorial) and Max Carlson (BSM). Laubmeier takes the ball and scores against Carlson with 10 seconds left but Carlson comes back and gets 2 just before the horn. Mask vs Mask is a draw. BSM rolls 71-56, Taylor and Battle both with 15, but Taylor didn't control the halfcourt game which didn't surprise me.
My All-Shootout Team
Jrue Holiday - Campbell Hall (MVP)
Joe Jackson - White Station
Nick Williams - LeFlore
Dallas Rutherford - Campbell Hall
Jared Berggren - Princeton