Tag Archives: McEachern

GE8TOC Recaps

7A No. 8 Westlake 78, A-Private No. 1 St. Francis 75

St. Francis got out to a hot start leading 10-2 behind an aggressive Dwon Odom but Westlake worked its way back behind freshman Dillon Hunter who scored seven of his 11 points in the first quarter to close the opening eight minutes with the Lions trailing 23-15. Westlake’s isolation offense started to click with Rice-commit Quincy Olivari (4), Kaleb Wallace (5) and Clemson-commit Chase Hunter (4) finding the bottom of the net, but it was the steady play of 6-foot-4 senior wing D’Antaye Page that kept the Lions intact. Page netted seven of his team-high 18 points in the quarter to give Westlake a 38-35 lead at the half. Page continued to pour it on in the second half, but it was his rebounding that eliminated any second chance opportunities for the Knights, double-doubling with 12 rebounds to his credit. With Sean Paradise lost for the season with a dislocated knee, St. Francis was in search of someone to step up. Chase Ellis did just that, the reliable undersized forward totaling 21 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block. The Knights went back and forth with the Lions after heading into the fourth quarter down 55-53 until Westlake secured a lead midway through and continued to fend off any St. Francis efforts to regain control. Odom scored 13 points in the final frame but Olivari’s gutsy shot in the lane with 47 seconds to play proved to be the dagger, pushing Westlake’s lead to 73-68.

Top Performers
Westlake
D’Antaye Page – 18 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Chase Hunter – 17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Quincy Olivari – 17 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal
Dillon Hunter – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Kaleb Wallace – 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists

St. Francis
Dwon Odom – 29 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Chase Ellis – 21 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block
CJ Riley – 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Kai Simmons – 6 points, 3 rebounds

 

No. 3 Meadowcreek 70, No. 6 Wheeler 54

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The new-look defending Class 7A state champions clamped down on Wheeler, holding the Wildcats to 17 points in the second half to coast to victory. Wheeler led 17-16 after the first quarter and in the second quarter the game got chippy with technical fouls, jawing and a lot of clapping. Through all the gamesmanship, Damian Dunn (Temple) shined the brightest, dazzling in his Georgia debut. Dunn dominated on the wing, scoring at all three levels and cleaning the glass. He finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists, giving Meadowcreek anything they needed whenever they needed it. As good as Dunn was, it was the role players that proved to be the difference makers. Kedrick Green, a starter as a freshman, came off the bench and showed his championship mettle, collecting 2 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Even with Green’s positive influence on the game, Wheeler still maintained a 37-33 lead at the break with Sam Hines scoring 12 of his team-high 14 points in the opening half. The Mustangs and Wildcats traded body blows in the third quarter before Meadowcreek stole momentum with the three-ball to quickly distance themselves from Wheeler. The Mustangs hit four threes in a row to close the third quarter, senior Emmanuel Collier drilled two of his five during the stretch while Corey Blissett added one and Dunn sank a contested leaner at the buzzer to balloon the lead to 55-47. Collier finished with 17 points, sniping from the corner as Wheeler failed to run him off his sweet spot. Dunn and Jamir Chaplin combined for 11 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring Wheeler (7) by themselves to kick off their title defense with a win.

Top Performers
Meadowcreek
Damian Dunn – 26 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists
Emmanuel Collier – 17 points, 2 assists
Jamir Chaplin – 15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block

Wheeler
Sam Hines – 14 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists
Roscoe Eastmond – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals
Malachi Rhodes – 9 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block
Charles Smith IV – 9 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists

 

No. 2 McEachern 75, Holy Spirit Prep 72

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Nip-and-tuck until the final buzzer, Class 7A No. 2 McEachern used a late 9-0 spurt to race past GISA superpower Holy Spirit Prep and stun the Cougars in front of a capacity crowd. McEachern held an 18-17 lead after the first quarter behind a balanced attack that saw Sharife Cooper score seven points and Isaac Okoro (Auburn) and Jared Jones (Northwestern) add four apiece. Consensus five-star junior Anthony Edwards had a quiet start for the Cougars and elected to get his teammates involved instead of hunting his shot. Edwards had two points and two assists with Ahmir Langlais scoring six points inside. In the second quarter, Edwards and DeAndre Brown got hot. The duo combined for 16 points, hitting three three-pointers between them and grabbing a 30-24 lead at the 3:36 mark. The Cougars settled for a 33-31 lead at the half. In the third quarter, Edwards continued to break away after Okoro did a nice job defending him to open the game. Three rim-rocking dunks highlighted by one right before the buzzer gave Holy Spirit Prep a 50-48 advantage heading into the fourth. The Indians stuck tight with the Cougars and weathered the Edwards storm the best they could in the third behind Cooper’s slick passing and Okoro’s attacking play. Alyn Breed (4) and Quinton McElroy (5) came up huge in the quarter to give Coach Mike Thompson some offense from his fourth and fifth scoring options. Holy Spirit Prep was in good shape in the fourth quarter even though Langlais hardly saw the floor with foul trouble. The Cougars led 61-55 before Cooper flipped the switch and scored his first points since the first quarter at the 4:28 mark to cut the lead to four. Hemmed up for two quarters struggling to finish in the lane and settling for setting up his teammates, Cooper began to take over. He tied the game at 61 but Ibrahima Jarjou hit a jumper and two free throws as the Cougars clung onto a 65-63 lead with 2:22 left before the levee broke. Cooper exploded and ignited a 9-0 run to shellshock the Cougars, burying a three to give the Indians the lead for good before Breed scored on a putback to all of a sudden give McEachern a 68-65 lead with just 94 precious seconds remaining and the crowd frenzied. The sudden deficit and the atmosphere rattled the Cougars as Holy Spirit Prep rushed quick shots and abandoned the offense settling for pull up threes which led to easy breakouts for the Indians, McEachern capping off their run to take an insurmountable 72-65 lead with 30 seconds remaining. Cooper finished with a team-high 23 points, dropping 16 in the fourth quarter. A Brown three at the buzzer wasn’t enough as McEachern survived a 31-point outburst from Edwards.

Top Performers
McEachern
Sharife Cooper – 23 points (16 in 4Q), 7 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal
Isaac Okoro – 19 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Jared Jones – 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks
Alyn Breed – 8 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist
Quinton McElroy – 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist

Holy Spirit Prep
Anthony Edwards – 31 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal
DeAndre Brown – 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Ahmir Langlais – 8 points, 4 rebounds
Ibrahima Jarjou – 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block

No. 1 McEachern captures third-place at City of Palms Classic

Contributed by Chris Kelly   (@C_KELLY99)

No. 1 McEachern 56, Simeon (IL) 54

No. 1 McEachern lost a tough game against eventual champion University School (FL) on Friday but the Indians looked to defeat Simeon (IL) to capture third place in the City of Palms on Saturday. Simeon is a storied basketball program from the south side of Chicago who has produced a number of elite NBA players, such as Derrick Rose, Jahlil Okafor, Anthony Davis, and Nick Anderson to name just a few. Simeon, led by longtime coach Rob Smith, is always a top-notch basketball team looking to give any team a tough matchup. They played the consensus number one team in the nation, Memphis East (TN), and gave the Mustangs a game that went down to the wire. The Wolverines, led by versatile, senior wing Talen Horton-Tucker, looked to get some revenge and beat McEachern to end their trip to Florida with a third-place trophy.

The first quarter started with a slow offensive showing. Coach Mike Thompson dug into his bench early and put guards Alyn Breed and Devin Gordon onto the floor. The two juniors gave a stagnant McEachern offense some life and played with some energy. On the other end, Simeon guard KeJuan Clements controlled the pace of the game and finished well when he got into the lane. McEachern’s defense was great in the first quarter, holding the Wolverines to just 13.

The second quarter remained rather consistent with the first. Coach Thompson continued to utilize his bench. Guard Quinton McElroy got on to the floor as well to provide some fresh legs. Simeon, who lacked much size, couldn’t keep big men Babatunde Akingbola and Jared Jones off the boards. The two big men were swatting shots constantly and pulling down rebounds over the much smaller Simeon guards.

While the Wolverines lacked size, they made up for it with speed and intangibles. They were a blur in the open court and were able to adjust their defensive scheme to limit Jones’ and Akingbola’s offensive production. While Simeon was able to contain the big men, they struggled to guard the wings. Isaac Okoro and Sharife Cooper both put up good numbers in the first half, combing for 27 points. Cooper hit a few threes and had some great assists to his teammates, while Okoro got to the rim and finished over the small Simeon players. At the half, McEachern was up 35-30.

To start the second half, Okoro hit a jump shot from the right wing, but then the Wolverines blitzed the Indians and put up points in a hurry. Simeon went on a huge run fueled by guard Xavier Pinson and do-it-all wing Talen Horton-Tucker. Pinson, a senior guard, came off the bench for Coach Smith and provided a huge spark. The bouncy guard finished well above the rim and helped facilitate the ball to his open teammates. Horton-Tucker did everything on the offensive end from posting up to running pick-and-rolls.

After the initial offensive burst, the Indians settled in and Okoro started the heat up. He put constant pressure on the interior defense and got to the free throw line. He finished with seven points in the quarter and the Indians had an 8-point lead entering the fourth.

About a minute into the final quarter, Cooper picked up his fourth foul. Coach Thompson chose to keep him in and trust his savvy, young guard. Pinson continued to attack for Simeon until big man Jared Jones stepped in front of a driving Pinson and took a charge. This resulted in Pinson’s fifth and final foul as he had the watch the remainder of the game from the bench.

Simeon continued their game plan without Pinson and saw Drake-commit Messiah Jones step up. He hit some open shots to give the Wolverines a little momentum. Jones, who played out of position the entire tournament, had to battle with the posts down low.

As the game almost came to a close, Simeon fouled Okoro. He went to the line and he knocked down two free throws. The Wolverines rushed down the floor to get a shot but turned the ball over to Cooper with about 16 seconds left. Guard Devin Gordon missed the first of his two free throws but made the second one.

Simeon came down the floor and cleared out for Horton-Tucker. He got to the rim with ease but his layup rolled out.

With two and a half seconds left and the ball under the hoop, Coach Smith drew up a great screen-the-screener play for Clements, using Horton-Tucker as a decoy, and Okoro lost his man. However, Clements wasn’t able to finish the layup, the Indians surviving 56-54.

McEachern finished their first City of Palms appearance in 3rd place. The young team, according to Vice President of the tournament Donnie Wilkie, will be returning in 2018 and have a huge opportunity to develop over the summer and potentially win the entire tournament next year.

Chris’ Takeaways

Sharife Cooper is going to attract some national attention soon. The sophomore guard had a terrific run at the City of Palms including a 42-point outing against 5-star senior Jahvon Quinerly. 42 points is a record by any Georgia player at the City of Palms Classic. Considering some of the Georgians that have played in the tournament, MJ Walker, Collin Sexton, Lou Williams, Kobe Simmons and Malik Beasley to name a few, this is a huge accomplishment. Cooper’s play earned him a spot on the All-Tournament team, alongside some elite company.

Xavier Pinson is still a great available guard for any low or mid-major college. After decommitting from Kent State, the senior blew up on the AAU circuit. Pinson holds a handful of offers from smaller colleges, such as George Mason, Buffalo and Evansville. He is bouncy and is fearless attacking the rim and has a good-looking jump shot. Against Memphis East (TN), Pinson attacked the rim constantly and almost dunked over 7-footer, top recruit in the nation James Wiseman. No matter who’s in the middle, Pinson looks to rise up and slam it on them.

McEachern’s offense will need to improve before the playoffs start. While the Indians will not face a team that has anywhere near the talent that University (FL), Simeon, or Hudson Catholic (NJ), had, they will still face some tough teams in Class AAAAAAA. Against the last three teams McEachern faced in the City of Palms, their offense looked stagnant and struggled at times. Their first game against Ranney (NJ), McEachern’s offense looked smooth and efficient. The Indians only shot the ball 31 times against Simeon and had 21 team turnovers.

Top Performers

McEachern
Isaac Okoro – 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Sharife Cooper – 19 points (5-5 FG), 4 rebounds, 5 assists

Simeon (IL)
Talen Horton-Tucker – 21 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Xavier Pinson – 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists
Messiah Jones – 10 points, 10 rebounds

No. 1 McEachern dominates on national stage at City of Palms

Contributed by Chris Kelly   (@C_KELLY99)

No. 1 McEachern 77, Ranney School (NJ) 57

No. 1 McEachern (7-0) entered their first City of Palms game against the Ranney School (NJ) as the nightcap on Monday. McEachern and Coach Mike Thompson knew they were going to have their hands full with 5-star wings Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis. Both wings are highly touted prospects with a handful of offers from high-major schools. The game tipped off with a total of nine juniors and a sophomore starting between the two teams. It started out as a fast pace matchup with Sharife Cooper and Isaac Okoro finishing strong at the rim. On the other end, McEachern came out in man-to-man with the long Brandon Suggs guarding Lewis, the No. 6 ranked player in 2019, and Okoro picking up Antoine, the No. 7 player in 2019. As the quarter closed out, Cooper put up a long two, looking for a foul and made it to give McEachern a four-point lead.

The second quarter began with the Indians going on a small run. McEachern’s size inside, mainly Jared Jones and Babatunde Akingbola, became a big problem for the much smaller Ranney School. The two bigs made their presence felt by continually crashing the boards and swatting shots. Towards the middle of the quarter, Cooper floated a perfect pass to Akingbola who rose up and dunked all over Lewis.

McEachern closed out the half with a string of great defensive stances and Ranney School head coach Tahj Holden getting a technical foul. At the half, McEachern was up 42-19.

The third quarter opened up with the Ranney School sparking a brief run. Lewis got his first points off of a beautiful crossover and three. Antoine got to the free throw line a few times and both the standouts found guards Ahmadu Sarnor and Alex Klatsky for easy buckets. McEachern responded with a run of their own, fueled by Cooper’s ability to penetrate and find players on the wing. Big men Jones and Akingbola both showed their versatility by knocking down some outside shots. Lewis left part way through the third quarter with what looked like a very gross, dislocated pinky finger but quickly came back and started to make his presence felt a bit. He hit a few jump shots and did a great job finding shooters open on the wing. McEachern still closed out the quarter by a wide scoring margin and began to pull away.

The fourth quarter started with the Ranney School losing one of their more consistent players, Sornar, to fouls and McEachern capitalized on it. Cooper turned it up a notch and got into the paint at will, finishing well with both hands. McEachern’s bench came in to give their starters a rest and provided the same level of production and consistency. Juniors Alyn Breed, Quinton McElroy and Devin Gordon were the main contributors from the bench and provided little drop off in production from the starters. As the quarter went on, the lead never dwindled and McEachern kept their foot on the gas. Towards the end of the game, both squads put in their reserve players and Lewis finished with a few big time plays, including a spin move and huge dunk.

McEachern won by 20 with the final score being 77-57. The Indians displayed their dominance on a national stage at the City of Palms. The young, Georgia team has a very tough match-up Wednesday morning against the No. 8 ranked team in the nation, Hudson Catholic (NJ). The second New Jersey squad the Indians will play, are led by a senior core consisting of Ohio State-commit Luther Muhammad, Oregon-commit Louis King, and recent Arizona-decommit Jahvon Quinerly. The game tips off at 11 AM.

Chris’ Takeaways

Sharife Cooper was one of, if not, the best player on the floor. Cooper was extremely poised and made great decisions for his team, something you do not normally see from a sophomore. He got into the paint with ease and was able to find teammates to kick the ball out to.

McEachern’s defense is the real deal. The Indians held a very good Ranney School team to just 19 points in the first half and finished with only 58, with most of those second half points coming at the end of the game. Brandon Suggs and Isaac Okoro did a great job containing Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine. The two wings combined for thirty-two points on a subpar 33% shooting.

Beating McEachern come playoff time will be no easy feat. The Indians, despite being young, limit their mistakes and played under control. McEachern is also such a deep team. Coach Thompson’s team has very little drop off in production when the second unit comes in the game.

Top Performers

McEachern
Sharife Cooper – 21 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists
Isaac Okoro – 15 points, 5 rebounds
Jared Jones – 16 points (6-9 FG) 7 rebounds

Ranney School
Bryan Antoine – 20 points
Scottie Lewis – 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists