Posted On: 12/12/17 12:00 PM
The Northeast Ohio high school basketball social media community was buzzing after Garfield Heights freshman Demetrius “Meechie” Johnson went for 50 points Dec. 9 in one of the most epic prep performances that I can remember.
I followed it on Twitter via Cleveland.com’s Matt Goul as I watched Villa Angela-St. Joe’s tangle with Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary in a game that SVSM would win, 75-63.
Johnson connected on 8 3’s in the 89-83 win over Benedictine. The scorebook had Johnson with 48, but a review of the tape revealed Johnson was not credited for a layup in the first quarter, that when counted pushed his scoring total to 50. According to his coach and Uncle, Sonny Johnson, Meechie shot the ball 28 times and connected on 58 percent from the field in his scoring feast.
Johnson’s scoring outburst even earned him a mention from LeBron James on Twitter, who congratulated the young guard on his 50-point game. James, Dwayne Wade, and J.R. Smith had gone to see Johnson and his teammates play a game earlier in the week.
Word of Johnson’s big game resonated in the coaching office at VASJ. VASJ and Garfield Heights are inextricably linked — at least for this season. Alonzo Gaffney played and helped lead the Vikings to a state title as a sophomore. But alas, the 6’9” Gaffney (2019), who is one of the top juniors in the country, transferred to Garfield Heights in search of more touches and a “system” in which to better display his all-around game, or at least that was the word in area gyms this summer.
But after playing in a game in which Meechie Johnson got all the shots, the St. Joe’s coaches joked after hearing of Johnson’s 50-spot that Gaffney would now be transferring back to VASJ.
Indirectly VASJ coach Babe Kwasniak downplayed Gaffney’s transfer. The rumor is that Gaffney bristled playing under Kwasniak’s system, in which Gaffney would have played on the block.
“He’d have gotten looks if he were here, Garfield Heights, or John Adams,” Kwasniak said.
Gaffney finished the win over Benedictine with 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks and no hard feelings that he played second fiddle to a freshman.
“Zo was happy. Zo’s a winner,” said Sonny Johnson when asked what Gaffney’s reaction was to Meechie taking so many shots.
After the game, Meechie gave his teammates credit in the win, according to Cleveland.com.
“That wasn’t the thing about me. It was the other plays that made us win. A dive on the floor. Zo had three blocks in a row. That helped us win that game,” said Meechie.
Meechie Johnson has already received offers from Louisville and the Ohio State University.