Five Takeaways: Hazelwood Central vs. Whitfield

High School
Missouri

Posted On: 12/6/17 8:12 AM

On Tuesday night, Whitfield paid a visit to Hazelwood Central in a battle of teams that are coming off of tournament championships from last week. Whitfield won the Pattonville Tournament while Hazelwood Central won the Vianney Tournament.

On a night where Hazelwood Central retired the number of former Hawks great Demetrius Alexander, the home team raced to an impressive 74-62 victory over Whitfield in a game that featured two teams that have the talent to make a deep postseason run.

Here are five takeaways from the Hazelwood Central-Whitfield game:

*Hazelwood Central has plenty of depth – The Hawks displayed some impressive depth in their victory on Tuesday night. Top player Shaun Williams and forward Maurice Hayes picked up two early fouls and sat much of the first half, which could have been crippling against a team such as Whitfield. Undaunted, the Hawks still managed to build a 37-28 halftime lead as seniors such as Telly Wright, Cameron Williams, Xavier Ball stepped up with big plays as did senior reserves Larrion Heard, Jhaylen Covington-Berry and Devontae Jeffries. Williams return to score a team-high 15 points to lead five Hawks players in double figures.

*Xavier Ball is quite an addition – Hazelwood Central was already returning a strong nucleus from last year’s 17-win team, but they received a big boost with the addition of the 6’7″ Ball, who moved back to St. Louis from Austin, TX. Ball gives the Hawks some badly needed size, plus he has a skill set to boot. Ball had 13 points and 12 rebounds on Tuesday night. He also displayed some nice ball handling in the open court and nailed a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Hawks a 37-28.

*Torrence Watson is plenty good – Despite the loss, the University of Missouri recruit showed up big for Whitfield with a game-high 31 points. Not only did Watson get buckets, he also rebounded and set up his teammates with excellent scoring opportunities, primarily 2019 guard Aurelio Stucco, who was knocking them down from 3-point range. Watson did his best to keep his team competitive against a Central team that was swarming with depth and athletes.

*Luther Taylor is important to Whitfield’s success: The Warriors suffered a blow when 6’4″ 2019 forward Cyrus Alexander transferred to Vashon. He was an active athlete who made plays around the basket. His absence puts more emphasis on Taylor, a 6’4″ 2019 forward, who played well on Tuesday with 10 points and 11 rebounds against the Hawks. Taylor is an athletic player whose production is vital for the Warriors to make another run to the Class 3 Final Four.

*Both teams are equipped for postseason success: The competition is Class 3 and Class 5 is very competitive around the state, but both teams have the talent and experience to make a run to the Final Four. Both teams have go-to guys in Watson for Whitfield and Williams for Hazelwood Central. Whitfield has been to the Final Four in Class 3 in the two previous seasons. Meanwhile, the Hawks are talented, but also senior dominated.