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Posted On: 12/29/17 9:41 PM
This was a very physical game. The refs were letting both teams play, and there were a ton of hard fouls. In the end, Ecorse pulled out a 74-66 victory over Denby and remained undefeated on the season. Ecorse forward Kaleb Maddox couldn’t get much going in the first half, but was unstoppable in the second half, finishing the game with 18 points and six rebounds. Justin Parish and Kyron Carroll combined for 31 points as well for the Raiders. Denby battled hard until the end, as Derek Linebarger collected 17 points. Two of those points came from a vicious dunk over an Ecorse defender. Here are a few takeaways from the game.
The biggest takeaway from this game for me was the play of Ecorse forward Kaleb Maddox. He got off to a slow start in the first half, but ended the game with 18 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter. He was using his length to his advantage, grabbing rebounds and shooting over smaller defenders. If he can bulk up and develop a decent outside game, Maddox will be one of the biggest steals of the 2018 class.
One thing I noticed throughout this game is the team play of Denby. They are very unselfish and always want to make an extra pass for an easier shot. Sometimes that is great, and other times, it is not. Derek Linebarger scored 17 points for the Tars on Friday night, but a lot of those points came late when the team was down by a significant margin. Jalen Mayfield also chipped in 10 points. These two are capable scorers that need to take control on the offensive end when the team needs a bucket. Both guys are seniors that know what it takes to win. I expect one or both of them to explode as the season goes along.
The second half was all about Maddox, but the first half was all about the talented back court of Ecorse. Carroll had 16 points, while Parish chipped in 15 for the Raiders. Ecorse was up 13 at the half, and both guys played in huge role in that. Carroll was lights out from beyond the arc and the Tars struggled to defend him on the perimeter. On the other hand, Parish was able to hurt the Denby defense by driving and finishing at the rim. He has a quick first step that allows him to blow by defenders. Ecorse’s back court is very talented and could lead them to big things.
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, this game was very physical from beginning to end. There were a ton of hard fouls and a lot of contact was not being called. Fans from both sides were voicing their displeasure with the lack of foul calls. Neither team is that big up front, but a lot of quick players were driving into the lane, banging with bigs and drawing a lot of contact. It felt like an all out war throughout the game, and the score shows just how tough of a game it was. The grit and intensity of these teams could help them win some big games come playoff time.
Conner isn’t the star of the Ecorse. He doesn’t have to be. He knows his role and he plays it really well. Much like Draymond Green, Conner is a gritty player that grabs rebounds and sets his teammates up for success. The senior big man grabbed 12 rebounds and scored six points. It’s not a sexy stat line, but his rebounding and ability to finish at the rim are exactly what Ecorse needs. Parish and Carroll are perimeter oriented players, while Maddox is a guy that moves inside and out. Conner is a true big man that cleans up the glass and knows when to score. He’s a true team player.