It is the most wonderful four days of the year as Wayne High School hosts the annual Summit Athletic Conference Holiday Tournament and yours truly will be here for every second of it giving you my thoughts along the way.
Can Homestead girls reclaim their crown? Who will end the half decade long North Side boy reign? Don’t forget to also check out Outside the Huddle’s complete tournament previews as well:
GIRLS: (8) Snider 57, (9) North Side 35
North Side certainly is more awake today to get going. They lead 10-5 after the first quarter with Jewel Reuille leading the way with four points for the Legends. Snider’s Da’Leshia Davis, scoreless in the first quarter scores Snider’s first four points of the second quarter as Snider tries to pressure their way back.
The second quarter turning into a three point shooting exchange that isn’t looking great for either team, but staying even. This is why this is the most difficult game to play in. Its early, the gym doesn’t have a ton of spectators and there is little to no rhythm to the game. Snider owns the second quarter. Davis and Niesha Anderson each had eight points and the Panthers led 25-17 at the half. North Side is going to have to get significantly stronger at the rim in games with
players who have such a size advantage.
Snider closes out the win with Anderson and Davis working inside better than anyone. Snider was just too big and too aggressive. That will win you close games. Anderson could be the best post in the SAC by the time she is done in the year 2022. And honestly she may be the best a lot sooner than that if she can play how she did on Friday morning. Anderson led all scorers with 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Davis added 17 points for the Panthers.
BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Niesha Anderson of Snider
BOYS: (8) Concordia Lutheran 58, (9) Bishop Luers 46
Jadon Dance. Adams Gottschalk. Alec Bartkowiak. Two years ago they were sophomores playing in this tournament and everyone was wondering what they’d be like this year.
Gottschalk didn’t get the start for Concordia, but Dance and Bartkowiak did, contributing in ways that show how much experience matters in this SAC Tournament. Luers had little to no experience coming in and the Cadets took advantage of that. Thought kudos to the Knights, who stayed disciplined in their hybrid looking 1-3-1 to 2-2-1 zone.
“It is a hard thing to do coming in on a Wednesday morning at 10:45. I try to get through to the guys that it is unlike any other situation until you get to a regional,” Concordia coach Phil Brackmann said. “We started a little sluggish, but we started to get going in the second and third quarters.”
Outside of those longtime Concordia players, there was nothing but fun in the matchup between Concordia’s Brayden Pearson and Bishop Luers’ Naylon Thompson. The two lightning quick guards exchanged blow by moves and energy inducing moves early as the game stayed on a frantic pace. But it was Pearson that really separated himself from the pack when he was able to knock down open three pointers and drive to the basket through contact. And there was a lot of contact all game.
Bounce was most impressed during the game by Kamari Anderson-Drew. The football player as we know him, has improved greatly on the court even since I saw the Concordia opener at Norwell. He is still raw in areas, but nowhere near like what he was like day one. He buried a couple of timely three pointers that added to a Cadet lead and rebounded well in the absence of 6-foot-8 Landon Jordan who has transferred away from Concordia.
“He really has stepped it up. He’s been out of basketball for a couple years and he is really buying into what we are trying to do this year,” Brackmann said of Anderson-Drew.
Lesson learned: zone the Cadets and they will make you pay. Gottshalk, Bartkowiak, Pearson, Dance, Anderson-Drew. They can be a three point machine if they are hitting.
Pearson ended with a game high 21 points, followed by 11 each from Dance and Gottschalk. Naylon Thompson had a team high 13 points for Bishop Luers.
BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Brayden Pearson of Concordia
GIRLS: (7) Northrop 65, (10) Wayne 20
Immediately, I was worried about some of the Bruin hopes when I noticed Treva Datcher absent from the Northrop bench. She has been tough inside and I really liked how she played against South Side a couple of weeks back. Then I remembered that Destiny Jackson is a superior rebounder despite her smaller frame and her relative inexperience as a sophomore.
There wasn’t much that Jackson and TiAuna White couldn’t do in the game because of their aggression. The Bruins, as I have noted before, have room to grow as a team, but also have time on their side. What they showed in their first game of the tournament this year is a high likelihood that they will get multiple games in the tournament for the next couple of years and could be a threat by the time that Jackson and White are seniors and Amanda Thatcher is a junior.
Northrop’s press put the game away in the third quarter, if it wasn’t already put away. Their pressure forced Wayne to throw long passes to try and break the press, but good luck getting a ball by Jackson. Midway through the third quarter, Jackson snagged a long pass, threw an outlet pass to Thatcher right under the basket, who then used a little dump off to White for the basket on one of the prettiest plays of the morning.
White scored a game high 21 points for Northrop while Jackson added 17 and J’asia Scott scored 16.
BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: TiAuna White of Northrop
BOYS: (7) Wayne 76, (10) North Side 45
Need your highlight from day one? Two minutes into the first game of the second half of the day, Trayshawn Shoals chased down Timon Kinnie on the break and swatted his layup thunderously off the backboard with a block. It was a great move by Shoals, the aggressive leader of the Legends. He already had a foul in the game, so controlling his body for the highlight reel defensive play was critical and fun.
Shawn Ferrell fired back for Wayne on the next big General fast break of the first quarter by hammering a dunk down over Mike Scott. And that, as the story says, is all she wrote. Wayne never looked back, never shuttered even a little bit. Craig Young made his season debut midway through the quarter and was perhaps the state’s best decoy as Michael Redding went to work as the star of the General start.
That decoy game ended quickly in the second quarter. Young’s first bucket, with 7:47 left in the first half, came on his first shot. Then he dunked. Then he hit a put back dunk. Then he dunked again at 6:14. Eight points on 4-of-4 shooting in one minute and 33 seconds.
North Side was able to create some chaos midway through the third quarter with Drevion Braden and Ronald Collins III heading up the Legends press, but once Wayne was able to make North Side play a half court game, there was little the Legends could do to keep chipping away on the scoreboard.
Young may have not led the Generals in scoring, but certainly in impact with 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field, but was 0-of-4 from the free throw line. The Ohio State football commit added four rebounds but his impact was clear: this Generals team feels so much more comfortable with him suited up. Andre Beasley also had 10 points for Wayne, who saw all 11 players score. Mike Scott led all scorers with 13 points for North Side.
The loss ended the North Side program’s five year run as SAC Holiday Tournament champions. The Legends hadn’t lost since the calendar said 2012.
BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Craig Young of Wayne
GIRLS: (4) Carroll 60, (5) Bishop Dwenger 54
The Saints’ Carissa Wiegman stood out early with her effort. With 4:18 left in the first quarter, she missed a shot, but grabbed her own rebound and scored as she was fouled. Her conversion on the free throw gave Bishop Dwenger a 6-4 lead. But that was important, what was important was her effort in a game that carried a frantic pace early and clearly was going to rely on effort.
Earning second and third chances on offense is something the Saints relied on a lot in the opening half. That could be good or bad. Good: you get more chances and you are rebounding well. Bad: you are clearly not improving your field goal percentages.
Carroll, on the other hand, relied on their jump shooting early on in the game. Malia Williams and Olivia Hoeppner both showed promise shooting the ball. When the outside game spread out Bishop Dwenger’s defense, Carroll collapsed to the basket offensively. It was Williams’ and-one with just over two minutes to play in the first half that extended the Carroll lead to 29-24, either team’s biggest lead of the first half.
In the second half, Carroll tried to push the pace and get out on the break to take away the defensive prowess of Molly Ream on the perimeter and Maggie Cheever inside. Kate Schlatter often started the Charger offensive break with with her tough as nails defense on Ream, leading Emily Parrett and Hoeppner to be able to use their more experienced games to push the ball and the pace.
Dwenger pulled back within two at 45-43 with seven and a half minutes to go in the game on a three point play from Cecilia Garrett. The Saints then went cold, not scoring again until the 3:08 mark when Wiegman hit a pair of free throws, but they were never able to fully climb out of the hole. Enough was done though for me to easily proclaim this the game of the day.
Parrett led all scorers with 18 points and Charger teammate Williams added 12 points and Hoeppner added 10. Bishop Dwenger was led by 16 points from Kayliana Hammel and 10 points from Ream.
Thanks to the odd scheduling of this year’s tournament, Carroll now takes two days off and won’t play until 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.
BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Emily Parrett of Carroll
BOYS: (4) Northrop 60, (5) South Side 49
The night cap was a rematch of a sold out game at South Side just 12 days ago. That game had hype, had atmosphere and had some slop with 46 total turnovers and 21 missed free throws by Northrop. How did game two stack up?
Early on, Northrop didn’t look anything like the mistake filled team they were in the first meeting, even in a win. The Bruins constantly fed off the crowd and Isaac Anderson, Qualen Pettus and Sydney Curry dominated the offensive end to pull ahead 10-2 midway through the opening quarter. South Side meanwhile couldn’t get anything, even good looks at the rim, to fall. When TaQuay White took a charge from Austin Jordan at the 3:46 mark of the first quarter, the game was already firmly in Northrop’s hands for the time being.
At the 6:47 mark of the second quarter, Kamron Mitchell completed the South Side comeback to tie the game at 13. Most of the comeback came with Curry on the bench, marking South Side’s ability to capitalize on the Bruins not having a stopper in the middle. But the Archers kept pushing and took the lead 18-17 with 4:46 left in the half on an Austin Jordan free throw. The back and forth swing continued until Northrop’s 25-24 halftime lead.
The start of the third quarter belonged to Kamron Mitchell, who twice gave South Side the lead, first with a lay in and then again to take a 32-29 lead on a three point basket from the far corner with 4:26 left on the clock. The triple gave Mitchell 12 points as the first Archer to reach double digits. He looked as determined and as smooth as Bounce has seen him so far this season.
It must be said that although he didn’t dominate throughout as he has been shown to be able to do, Curry’s rebounding was downright angry at times forcing Bounce to imagine the force he could be if he played that tenacious for 32 minutes or however long per game he remained on the floor. Curry took control in the closing minutes of the third quarter, showing he wanted to take advantage of his time playing in the Holiday Tournament after two years out of it. His dunk with around six minutes to go with a two hand flush that’s authority and impact would have made Shaquille O’Neal jealous. Made me jealous.
Kudos to Northrop, who Bounce has continued to reserve judgement on. I am in no way ready to anoint them as anything but the better team on Wednesday night, but when they needed to close out South Side, the knew how to finish. That is a big first step and a step they’ve made mostly in the last 12 days.
Anderson led all scorers with 18 points for Northrop while Pettus and Curry each added 15 points. Mitchell led South Side with 14 points. Their double digit scoring marked 24 different scorers on the day with 10 or more points.
BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Qualen Pettus of Northrop