Sunkist Shootout: 4 Thoughts from Day 4

High School

Posted On: 12/31/17 9:22 PM

1) Riverside looks bored (but still really good)

Despite two straight scares on the way to a championship, Riverside was able to keep their perfect season alive with wins over McGill-Toolen (Mobile, AL) and tournament host St. Thomas More. However, with the talent that they have, those games were both closer than they probably needed to be. In the first half of both games, it looked more like the Rebels were just going through the motions, and then turned it on in the 4th quarter. Granted, they had already beaten St. Thomas More earlier in the year, so that could have something to do with their lack of motivation, but it’s never a good habit to start playing to their level of competition.

2) We were robbed of a great game

After both losing in the semi-final, there was supposed to be a game for 3rd place between McGill Toolen out of Mobile, AL, and Madison Ridgeland out of Madison, MS. Both of these are state championship level quality teams out of their respective states, and it is always fun getting to see a matchup of out of state opponents. However, there was a problem. The National Federation of State High School Associations only recognizes one athletic association per state, and Madison Ridgeland isn’t part of that association. Because of this, the principal of McGill Toolen would not let their team play against Madison Ridgeland, so there was no 3rd place game this season. As a result, basketball fans were robbed of a great game.

3) St. Thomas More is better than I thought

I will be honest, I wasn’t super high on St. Thomas More coming into this tournament. I thought that they were good enough to compete for a Division II title in a pretty down year, but I didn’t think that they could compete against the top tier teams. They proved me wrong when they took down Madison Ridgeland in the semifinals and it was a very competitive game against Riverside in the championship game. Jonathan Cisse stepped up big in this tournament, and averaged over 20 ppg, and they were able to get huge contributions from freshman Carter Domingue.

4) Grace Christian has a shot this year

Grace Christian had a real good year last year, reaching the semifinals of the state championship, and losing to eventual state champions Crescent City. This season, they return their 4 best players from last years squad, and at full strength feature a lineup of 3 players that are 6’4+, which in Division V is HUGE. When they were at their best, they are tough to beat. They seem to have hit a bump in the road, when one of their 4 best returning players, Courtlynn Ramirez quit at the end of the game. However, with his dad being the head coach, something tells me that this issue is going to get resolved before the end of the year.