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Posted On: 12/29/17 9:22 AM
As I do every Holiday season, I will be traveling across the state of Virginia to check out some of the best holiday tournaments in different areas of the state over the next week. My third stop was Charlottesville High School in Charlottesville, VA, featuring four games with eight teams from all over the central part of the state. It was the second day, so the matchups were based off of what happened the day before, but it was a great day of basketball as three of the four games were decided in the last two minutes and were less than double digit games. There wasn’t a shortage of talent at the event, so here’s 10 guys who stood out. Stay tuned for more standouts and stories from across the state over the holiday tournaments!
Despite Massapanox suffering a close loss in the first game of the day to Kettle Run, 2020 point guard Khai Seargant continues to impress with his stellar play. Just a sophomore, he controls the game with maturity and pace, and he has a killer instinct that makes him dangerous at all times. The 5’10” point guard plays with pace and athleticism, so he’s able to compete with and outplay some of the bigger guards. He can create his own shot, sees the floor and can score from almost anywhere on the floor. He led all scorers in the game with 22 points.
The junior big man was a problem in the paint for Massaponax who couldn’t match up with his size as he hammered them on the glass for second chance opportunities. Allen’s still somewhat raw, but he has a soft touch, decent hands and a good motor on both ends. He used his length to bother shots, finished inside with both hands and picked up the slack when others weren’t playing well. He led Kettle Run with 17 points on the game.
In one of the most fun games I’ve watched all season, Mackey and North Stafford point guard Javon Swinton (see below) went at each other all game, and particularly in the second half, in a game that went down to the wire. While North Stafford pulled it out 75-73 late, Mackey put on a show scoring 38 points to lead all scorers on the day, and stepped up big scoring 23 of them in the second half. He got off to a slow start, but he hit some shots late in the first half and kept the momentum rolling. He opened the third quarter by hitting for eight straight on his first three shots, and he showed the ability to get in the lane or make shots from deep off the bounce. He also pitched in 7 rebounds at the point guard spot.
The other part of the epic battle, Swinton capped off an impressive 25 point, 7 assist night by hitting the go-ahead floater with just over five seconds left. The 6’2” guard made a living by using his burst to split the gaps of the zone and using his length to finish over taller players in the paint. He plays with great pace off the bounce and changes speeds well, and he has such a soft touch in the middle with his floater but is also athletic and crafty enough to finish at the rim or get to the line. He was efficient too, shooting 8-for-15 from the field and 4-for-5 from the line, and he helped set the pace on both ends with three steals as well.
Not to be outdone, the senior leader for North Stafford pitched in on this crazy shootout as well as he scored 29 points of his own. The 5’11” lefty has deep range, and he showed that with a couple bombs from 25 feet, but he also didn’t settle and got in the lane for a few pull-ups that would make the purest old head of basketball happy. While he’s the go-to guy and gets a lot of shots up, he isn’t selfish and doesn’t settle for bad shots. He shot an impressive 12-for-18 from the field, and he’s proving to be one of the hidden gems of the 2018 class in the Fredericksburg area.
A stocky, but shifty, shotmaking guard, Anderson made 15 points and 5 rebounds look as easy as pie in Albemarles’ 67-50 route of Charlottesville on Cville’s homecourt. Standing 6’0” and looking like a linebacker (yes he plays football too)m Anderson opened the game with a couple of deep threes, and when the route was on the Black Knights could do nothing but foul him. He scored 9 of his 15 from the free throw line on 12 attempts, and his ability to use his body to get to the line makes him tough to guard because he knocks them down with consistency.
I always love my do-it-all guys, and Jarmon was just that for Albemarle as he pitched in a number of ways on both ends of the floor. A lengthy 6’3” forward, Jarmon used every bit of that length defensively, coming up with three steals and three blocks at least for the Patriots. His play defensively spurred a lot of easy transition opportunities, and he took advantage running the floor and showing his athleticism in the open floor. He also showed the ability to knock down some jumpers from deep and the midrange, on his way to 13 points and five rebounds in the win.
He’s a high major baseball product, but let me assure you that this kid is a big time basketball product as well that is just scratching the surface of how good he can be. Last season, Payne was a 6’4” reserve who came off the bench for energy. This year, he’s sprouted up to about 6’6”, and he’s the man that gets it done. He was phenomenal on both ends of the floor, going for 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and making all of his four attempts from beyond the arc. He also pitched in 8 rebounds and 5 blocks as well. He had the play of the day as well, as he knocked a pass loose late in the game, ran it down and threw down a monster two handed slam in transition that had the place rocking! He made an absolute believer out of me, and it’s scary to think that this may be his second best sport because he is chock full of skill with much more potentially to come.
The only senior in the STAB starting lineup, Pennix set the tone on both ends for the Saints and was a big reason that they were able to pull the upset of a much bigger and more athletic Western Albemarle team. He just has grit, and he makes shots and knows how to play as well. The 5’9” guard opened the game with a three for the Saints, and while he didn’t shoot it particularly well he came up with buckets when they needed them late, including the free throws that put them ahead for good at with a little over two minutes to go. He also pitched in three rebounds and four steals.
Another gritty kid who’s the son of a coach, Taylor may not exactly look the part, but he’s an absolute warrior on both ends of the floor. With STAB trailing by double digits midway through the second quarter, it was Taylor who ignited the spark with a couple of strong takes and steals to start a 7-0 run to bring them back, and they ended up going into the half down just one. He’s a true point guard that gets everyone involved, is a scrappy defender and takes advantage of his opportunities to score. He’s the definition of a floor general, and his 12 points, 5 assists and three steals only tell part of his impact in their win last night.