SAC Holiday Tournament, Thursday edition: Bounce’s observations

Back for day two? You know your friendly neighborhood amphibian is. After a day one that gave us two of six pretty solid games, today should feature some more tightly contested battles.

So follow along again with me, will you? Nothing better than four days at Wayne High School.

Also, don’t forget to look back at yesterday’s observations and top scorers from the Holiday Tournament:

SAC Holiday Tournament, Wednesday edition: Bounce’s observations

SAC Tournament: Wednesday’s top scorers

Homestead’s Luke Goode calls for the ball during the first half of the SAC Holiday Tournament game on December 27 against Bishop Dwenger.

BOYS: (3) Homestead 51, (6) Bishop Dwenger 39

Luke Goode is ready to be a star. The box scores from the of the season may indicate that Homestead isn’t Goode’s team despite all of us expecting him to be the star of a team effected by graduation and football only focus. But as Homestead built a 10-0 lead, Goode scored six of those points, focus on his face as if he took it as a personal mission to get the Spartans back to a semi final game.

Bishop Dwenger’s Brenden Lytle takes off on a fast break during December 27’s game against Homestead in the SAC Holiday Tournament.

By the time the game was 14-2 six minutes in, there were four different Spartan scorers, but something about Goode’s calm was the most infectious part of Homestead’s first quarter play. He finished the first quarter with eight of the Spartan’s 18 first quarter points.

Bishop Dwenger did not score until 3:22 left in the first quarter. They didn’t score again in the quarter. Do you think Chris Johnson brings teams to the SAC Tournament ready to play? Homestead’s interior defense kept the Saints playing on the perimeter for much of the first half and Bishop Dwenger just couldn’t hit a ton from the exterior outside of a couple anomalies. Hayden Smithey was held scoreless until 13.8 seconds left in the half when he hit two free throws and Homestead led 25-13 at the break.

John Hoffman played with good aggression on the inside in the third quarter and acted as a little bit of a spark for the Saints. But they were not able to get back within single digits much. Once Homestead built that early lead, that was the cushion they were able to play with essentially all game long. A Jared Lee three pointer (after pump faking defender Goode into the cheerleaders) with 3:34 left in the game made it an eight point game, but the Saints weren’t able to capitalize on the momentum.

Goode led all scorers with 21 points. That tied the highest single game scoring effort for an individual to that point in the tournament on either the boys or girls side. Alec Grinsfelder added 12 points for the Spartans while Lee led Bishop Dwenger with 14 points.

BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Luke Goode of Homestead

Concordia Lutheran’s Carissa Garcia takes off on a fast break during the first half of December 27’s game against Bishop Luers.

GIRLS: (3) Concordia Lutheran 42, (6) Bishop Luers 28

If anyone knows how to pull upsets, it is coach Mark Pixley at Bishop Luers and they had that in mind with the second game of the day as they threw an immediate box-and-one defense with Katelynn Gray face guarding Concordia’s Carissa Garcia one on one early on, making one of the state’s top scorers work hard for touches on the ball. When she did get it, Luers played strong defensively on her early, but that didn’t stop Garcia from assisting Nautica Rogers on two of the first four Concordia scores of the game. The other two scores came from Garcia.

Not enough could be said about the hustle of Katelynn Gray and her sister Ashlynn. Defensively they were forced to try and contain Garcia and offensively, they led with strong ball movement in the first half to hang right with the Cadets and keep the game within reach as they aimed for their second straight year of upsetting a higher seed. The Knights trailed just 19-15 at the halftime break.

Bishop Luers’ Ashlynn Gray moves the ball against the defense of Concordia’s Carissa Garcia during the first half of December 27’s SAC Holiday Tournament game.

Both teams battled throughout the third quarter, back and forth they went with both coaches receiving warnings for what I can only explain as over excitement in the moment. The margin of scoring didn’t change as Luers trailed by four at the end of the third, but with both teams putting in maximum effort, it is fair to say it stole the title of Bounce’s favorite game (so far) of the tournament.

When Rogers drained an unexpected three pointer with 5:52 remaining in the game, the Concordia lead was opened up to 11 points. Concordia had found a way, on the hands of their post presence to shut the Knights out of upset hopes. It will be fun to see what these two teams do when they meet again just after the calendar turns to 2019.

Rogers led all scorers with 19 points for the Cadets while Garcia added 15 after fighting through a tight defense all morning. Anna Parent and Dori Javins led Bishop Luers with eight points each in defeat.

Notably, Bishop Luers’ leading scorer Lydia Reimbold did not play for undisclosed reasons.

BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Nautica Rogers of Concordia

Concordia’s Brayden Pearson (left) and Snider’s Michael Eley (right) battle for a loose ball during the opening half of Thursday, December 27’s SAC Holiday Tournament game.

BOYS: (1) Snider 67, (8) Concordia Lutheran 62

Depth has been Snider’s friend all season. 11 players, 12 players deep in each and every game. Player depth is always important in the SAC Holiday Tournament, but so is scoring depth. Snider’s first nine points came from four different players: two pointers from Jaylen Lattimore, Cleevas Craig and Michael Eley and a triple from Airyan Thomas. That was big early as the Panthers worked to stifle the loads of momentum the Cadets had built over six straight wins.

As the second quarter developed, Eley looked to separate himself with his shooting prowess almost a year to the day of his SAC Tournament debut when he had his coming out game as a freshman in a loss to South Side. Eley worked all different levels of his jump shot and as Concordia looked to collapse on him him, it was fellow lights out shooter Thomas that took advantage. On the hands of the duo’s four first half threes, Snider led 33-18 at the halftime break. They also did it without teammate Dillon Duff scoring until the 3:29 mark of the second quarter.

Duff scored the first six points of the second half, following up a putback layup with a hammer dunk off a backcourt steal by the Panthers. As much as Concordia needed to come out of the locker room with a renewed killer instinct, it seemed more like a Duff led Panther team that wanted to put a stamp on their opening game of the tournament. And the benefit of that previously discussed depth? The Panthers were able to use the majority of the third quarter, after the lead was over 20 points, to give their starting five a rest because they had seven other guys to play.

Snider’s Airyan Thomas defends Concordia’s Alec Bartkowiak during a December 27 game.

Concordia used that time to battle back on the hands of Brayden Pearson, who harassed the Snider reserve guards to build his own scoring total. The Cadets got within seven points before coach Jeremy Rauch of Snider was forced to call timeout with 5:27 left in the game to sub his five starts back into the game. Adam Gottshalk and Jadon Dance continued to get into passing lanes midway through the fourth quarter and Concordia used the foul disadvantage (10 for Snider, 3 for the Cadets) to try and march to the line for the final four minutes of the game.

Dance’s steal of an Airyan Thomas pass and finish on the other end looked critical at the 2:45 mark of the first quarter, smoothly running into a passing lane. But Duff powered back on the other end. The teams continued to exchange baskets down the stretch of the game until Duff took the ball from the left wing to the right side of the hoop with 1:17 left to land the lay up and complete the and-one at the free throw line to give Snider a 61-56 lead. Eley put a stamp on the game with just under a minute to play with a two handed put back dunk off a Jayshawn Underwood miss to make it a seven point game. When Snider needed to answer, to close out a game, they did. Much like their next round opponent Northrop did on Wednesday night.

Seven players scored in double figures in the game. Eley matched a tournament high 21 points to lead all scorers. Panther teammates Duff scored 19 and Thomas added 10 points. Concordia got 20 points from Pearson, 16 from Gottschalk, 13 from Kamari Anderson-Drew and 11 points from Jadon Dance.

BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Dillon Duff of Snider

Homestead freshman Ayanna Patterson defends Snider’s Payton Gorman during the first half of Thursday, December 27’s SAC Holiday Tournament game.

GIRLS: (1) Homestead 77, (8) Snider 36

Homestead, as expected, came out fast to try and push a big lead so their main contributors could get some rest in the first of what could be a five game stretch in the next three days. Back to back inside buckets from Sydney Graber and Ayanna Patterson immediately broke open the perimeter for Sylare Starks to drain a Homestead three pointer in transition for the first eight Homestead points of the game.

Homestead led 23-0 before Snider put their first points in at 1:09 of the first quarter on a Da’Leshia Davis drive and score through contact. By that point, Graber already had 10 points coming from a variety of places on the court and four rebounds to go with it.

It is probably fair to say that the most drama early came with 2:05 left in the first quarter when Patterson lost a contact in the middle of the floor and the Spartans and referees all had to search for it.

There wasn’t much intrigue in this one as Homestead just executed the way they execute and shot the ball well, which is a tough thing to defend no matter who you are. So what can I say about the Spartans that hasn’t already been said, by me none the less? I guess, the fact that Homestead coach Rod Parker knows the expectations of his team are high and with tough opponents lingering tomorrow, he didn’t want them to get lazy or sloppy. Parker coaches to make his team better each time they are on the court. Who can’t love that?

Graber led all scorers with 17 points and Starks and Patterson each reached double digits with 13 and 16 points respectively. Davis led Snider with 23 points, a tournament high at that point.

BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: Sydney Graber of Homestead

Wayne’s Craig Young battles with Carroll’s David Ejah during Thursday, December 27’s game in the SAC Holiday Tournament.

BOYS: (2) Carroll 51, (7) Wayne 46

Could you almost feel chills when Craig Young of Wayne and Carroll’s David Ejah lined up against each other for the opening tipoff? Ejah won it, but the two battled back and forth early. Monstrous back and forth was won by Ejah in the first quarter with his 7 points to Young’s six. The big advantage for Ejah came in the fact that Young picked up two first quarter fouls.

Never the less, coach Aaron Rehrer proceeded with Young on the court despite him playing 10 or less minutes in his first game of the season on Wednesday. Young did not leave the court until the 5:02 mark of the second quarter after picking up his third foul.

Carroll’s Dan McKeeman takes a hand off from David Ejah during a December 27 game against Wayne.

But in any game of runs, the comeback run can be the most fun. After Wayne fell down 20-10, Michael Redding was on fire, burying back to back threes in the closing minute of the first half to tie the game at 24. It is a familiar sight for Carroll, a kid named Redding burying three pointers. But unfortunately for the Chargers, this wasn’t Jacob and his younger brother Michael plays for Wayne.

So lets talk about 4:36 left in the third quarter when Darius Alexander did his best Craig Young impression. Did you know that Alexander could fly like that? I bet Richie Gross does because Alexander blocked his shot nearly through the gym wall below one of the scoreboards. Just want to bring it up. Because it was mean. To his credit, Ejah then blocked an Alexander shot before Young returned the block party to Dan McKeeman. Blocks are fun.

If you would have told me that Wayne and Carroll would be a war of shooting attrition, I may have laughed in your face but Young’s three triples in the third was countered by corner threes from Richie Gross and McKeeman and truly made this game a shoot out. And I will say it, the best boys game of the tournament so far.

So who had the ability to be a closer in the fourth? It was, oddly enough, Ray Vollmer’s first and only field goal with two and a half minutes to play that pushed the Carroll lead to four and Wayne would never get closer than three. But it was the tempo set by Ejah and McKeeman as senior leaders and that coach Marty Beasley has from the bench in the crunch time that led to composure in the closing minutes.

Young led all scorers with 23 points, matching a tournament high. Ejah led Carroll with 18 points, McKeeman added 12 and Redding rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 for Wayne.

BOUNCE’S PLAYERS OF THE GAME: David Ejah of Carroll and Craig Young of Wayne

South Side’s Jaci Jones dribbles the ball up the court during Thursday, December 27’s SAC Holiday Tournament game against Northrop.

GIRLS: (2) South Side 68, (7) Northrop 50

Ending night two like we ended night one: Northrop and South Side. And you know, just like on the boys side, it is always going to be a slugfest.

While it was Northrop who was attacking the basket on the fast break, pushing the ball out to Destiny Jackson, Amanda Thatcher and J’asia Scott, South Side countered with Olivia Smith and Jaci Jones’ shooting prowess against the Northrop 3-2 zone until they were able to push the pace themselves.

Bounce has found himself quite looking forward to seeing this Northrop team play. They play like any Rashida Muhammad coached team; like the then Rashida Ray played at Harding: like their lives depended on it. Jackson and White could be the best duo in the city in two years with more court time and confidence.

South Side’s Darriyn Hackbarth (left) and Northrop’s Amanda Thatcher (right) fight for the ball during the first half of December 27’s game.

But South is South. And although they graduated a lot from last year’s SAC Holiday Tournament champions, coach Juanita Goodwell has done a great job in making sure her cupboard wasn’t as bare as the Bruins’. Jones, Alaya Chapman, Darriyn Hackbarth all lead, but new varsity contributors like Olivia Smith and T’Laizha Morris have made all the difference.

Bounce would usually reserve his praise of breakout performances for a separate column, but Morris was an experience, grabbing so many rebounds that led to second chances for the Archers and herself. She has officially become a third head on the post monster that is South Side alongside Alaya Chapman and Lamyia Woodson.

South had three players in double figures led by Smith’s 21 with 16 points from Morris and 12 from Jones. Northrop was led by 14 from Jackson, 14 from White and 12 from Scott.

BOUNCE’S PLAYER OF THE GAME: T’Laizha Morris of South Side


SAC Tournament: Thursday’s top scorers

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