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Posted On: 12/9/17 3:58 PM
In the third annual Shirts vs Skins Basketball Classic, Putnam Science Academy and Massanutten Military Academy got things started off in a battle of two very talented prep schools. Putnam came out on top by a final score of 79-61 to improve their record to 10-2 overall. Massanutten was riding an 11-game winning streak coming into their game against Putnam.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
Jose Perez is the energizer bunny for the Mustangs
It doesn’t take long to see that Perez is the heart and sole of Putnam. First, his communication on both ends sticks out like a sore thumb. When he or his teammate makes a play, he’s the most excited person in the gym. That type of energy and passion can quickly pulsate through a team, and that’s exactly what Perez does. Not only that, but he led the Mustangs with 19 points and did so by scoring from all three levels. The 6’5 senior can get going from three out of the gate, but then will mix it up by utilizing pump fakes and hard takes to the rim. Perez did a nice job filling lanes that made him the beneficiary of fast break lay-ups.
Tyrese Martin gives Massanutten push in second half
Massanutten went into halftime only trailing by one points, but Putnam came out strong and was able to build a double-digit lead by the halfway mark to of the second half. Martin was key for the Colonels as he scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half. There was a point where he had back-to-back baskets that included an and-one in transition that seemed to give Massanutten one final boost of energy. Ultimately, the Rhode Island commit’s effort wasn’t enough, but his ability at 6’6 was on full display.
Kyle Lofton is a nice point guard prospect
Lofton is a 6’3 floor general that showed great poise in running the show for the Mustangs. Not only did he initiate sets well, but his reading in pick-and-roll situations were effective and patient. Lofton currently holds offers from St. Bonaventure, Robert Morris, Quinnipiac, Massachusetts and Manhattan. The coaches who attended yesterday’s games had nice feedback in terms of Lofton’s play, so don’t be surprised if he adds one or two more schools to that list before making a decision.
Mehki Long continues to improve
It seems like every time I see Long play, he adds a new wrinkle to his game. From start to finish, he was the most productive player for the Colonels. His 16 points paired well with Martin’s performance to keep Massanutten in the game before Putnam ran away. Long was an evident presence crashing the glass on both ends. He did a great job catching the ball at the high post of Putnam’s zone defense and either attacking off one dribble or pulling up from 12-15 feet and knocking down shots.
Putnam has a number of weapons
Along with Perez and Lofton, Head Coach Tom Espinosa has a few talented frontcourt players that help bring a major presence inside. The 6’10 LaSalle commit, Osun Osunniyi, brought a scoring presence in the paint whether it was off back to the basket moves or converting dump-off passes from penetrating guards. Akok Akok, a long 6’8 junior forward, was the shot-blocking presence on the back line of their zone defense. He too found himself some easy baskets around the rim both from finding openings in the halfcourt and finishing in transition.