Battle of I96 Classic: Top Performers (Part 1)

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Posted On: 12/26/17 4:47 PM

The Battle of I96 features some of West Michigan's top teams. This year, games for the day included Detroit Southeastern vs Wayland Union, Lansing Sexton vs Rockford, Lansing Everett vs Benton Harbor, Mt. Clemens vs Grand Rapids Union and Detroit Henry Ford vs Ottawa Hills. Disclaimer: I wasn't able to make the first game between Detroit Southeastern and Wayland Union, so this list won't include any standout performers from that game. Here are some of my top performers from the day:

Nate Bareno (2019, Rockford)

Bareno was simply a man among boys in Rockford's win over Sexton. The 6'5" forward was dominant in the paint, controlling the glass and getting bucket after bucket down low. He also did a really good job knocking down his free throws, a place where he got a good portion of his points. He finished with 34 points in a blowout victory.

Jerrelmiar Jones (2018, Sexton)

Jones was a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable outing for Lansing Sexton. He was hot shooting the three ball. Not just a shooter, however, Jones found success penetrating and finishing at the rack. He also played solid defense, tallying multiple steals and blocks. Despite only being 5'10", he went up and blocked some taller opponents. Jones finished with 28 points.

Shawn Hopkins (2018, Benton Harbor)

The 6'4" guard has been solid for Benton Harbor all season and this game was nothing different. Benton Harbor has a multitude of options offensively, so it is important for Hopkins to be efficient with his touches, which is precisely what he did in their win over Lansing Everett. Hopkins did a great job of crashing the offensive glass and getting easy second chance buckets. He used his height and athleticism to his advantage as he attacked the rim hard for multiple and-ones. Hopkins was also solid on the defensive end with a couple steals and blocks.

Carlos "Scooby" Johnson (2020, Benton Harbor)

The sophomore is considered one of the best players in the 2020 and showed why in Benton Harbor's victory over Lansing Everett. He did a bit of everything - he scored, facilitated, rebounded and defended all at a high right. He was clearly the best player on the court and, quite honestly, it seemed like he wasn't even trying. He finished with a total of 25 points, 10 rebounds and 4 steals as Benton Harbor blew out Everett.

Deontae Ulmer (2018, Detroit Henry Ford)

In what was primarily a defensive battle against Ottawa Hills, Ulmer able to manufacture some offense for Henry Ford in big moments. He scored from all three levels and had a smooth shot from beyond the arc. Also, he showed an ability to get to the rack and finish in traffic or draw a foul. While Ulmer's total of 16 points may not be mind blowing, it was the timing in which he scored those points that was huge. There was a point in the 4th quarter when Ottawa Hills went on a run and Henry Ford couldn't answer until Ulmer had 8 points in a matter of 2-3 minutes.