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Posted On: 12/8/17 3:58 PM
With a 60-52 home victory the Roseville Raiders earned themselves a second straight victory. Senior Gary Smith III gave his new team key baskets down the stretch as the Raiders capped a big second half.
Depth. Roseville went into the break down four scores but a team effort from the 11 different players used led to a dominating second half performance. The Raiders used eleven guys and ten of them found their names in the scoring column. The second half defensive effort from the Raiders helped keep quality Burnsville shots at a minimum and led to a 33-17 difference in the second half. It felt like throughout the game I was constantly looking up names of players early and late as different players were making plays all the time. Drew Adams is the team’s leading returning scorer but in this game he was aggressive on the glass, he was forcing turnovers, and his length caused problems for the Blaze.
The Point Guard. Both teams used multiple PGs for long stretches of the game. Roseville started Avery Nelson who seems to have the best understanding of the halfcourt motion the Raiders used, Jovan Hunter did some things on both ends, and Yohanes Gebeyehu played with a lot of spark attacking the basket regularly for foul shot attempts. Yohanes put a dozen on the board and most came at the foul line. The Blaze started junior Julian Quiroz-Hutchinson and then used sophomore Josh Kamara off the bench, and sometimes played him with Julian. Kamara played with pace and hit three shots.
Gary Smith III. Smith was credited for a dozen points although I recorded 15 for him led by two threes, two dunks, and some foul shots (maybe I confused his number with somebody else). Late in the game Smith had a hard attacking dunk finish, he made a three on the wing, and made some effort plays including a charge take. Gary gave his team a spark a few times during the game and definitely kept things interesting with his energy. Smith was the most athletic player on the floor and several times it led to the edge Gary gave his team. Smith played every role from handling a few times, moving on the wing, and supplying five boards in the paint.
Shepley Looks Like a Prospect. At 6-foot-2 Marcus Shepley is a wing for Burnsville that scored a game high 24 points. Shepley has shown he could score in the past but the way he produced is what caught my eye. Marcus scored his 24 in several ways and the biggest thing that caught my eye was how well Marcus handled the basketball going both directions using hesitations and quick bursts to extend into space to finish. Shepley uses his long arms well and his body control allowed him to contort his frame place shots off the kiss from several angles. Marcus also hit shots with his feet set. With some added core and upper body strength at the college level Marcus will be able to take contact and finish at an even higher percentage. Could be a really nice D3 scorer.
Moving Forward. Roseville dropped a tough game by a basket to Centennial in the opener but has responded well with back to back wins over Rosemount and Burnsville. Coming up this month the Raiders have North St. Paul, St. Paul Central, Stillwater, and Woodbury before the holiday event. This is a solid Raiders team but a team that can fulfill the dreams of those on that team? The next four games could say a lot. If they can win three of those next four it’s time for people to start worrying about the group of Drew Adams, Gary Smith III, Mario Dukes, Daevonte Munson, Nolan Ward, Yohanes Gebeyehu, and others.