Posted On: 12/18/17 12:00 AM
Ottawa Hills faced Detroit Henry Ford this weekend to headline the Battle of I-96 Holiday Hoops Classic. The matchup was a great one to end the night, being in Ottawa’s home gym and the most competitive of the event. There were also many great things we can take away from this game about both the teams and individual players.
The game started out hard to watch. This can be blamed on its slow pace, a lot of whistles being blown, and some sloppy play and easy misses from both teams. However, good things could be observed in the team defense of Ottawa Hills and the individual performances of players from both teams. After halftime, things began to pick up, and the game became more entertaining. Ottawa kept up their aggressive defense which led to some good defensive and offensive possessions for them. They also hit some outside shots. The three-ball helped the Trojans as well, and was pivotal to keeping them in the game. However, in the end, home court advantage combined with good plays to give the Bengals a run in the 4th quarter. They ended up pulling out the win, 65-53.
The Ten Best
MVP – Nelson McCauley (Ottawa Hills)
Committed to Ferris State, McCauley won the crowd over with an impressive dunk early in the game, and his contribution did not stop. Scoring 17 points in the win, along with numerous other reasons, made him the event’s selected MVP as well as mine. He scored well near the basket, using his athleticism to dunk or lay the ball in. He also proved able to control the ball and attack the rim off the dribble. Finally, he has a nice outside shot and solid defense, traits that serve to round out his versatility.
Play of the Game – Damion Seifulah (Ottawa Hills)
Despite being a very fast and shifty player, the senior point guard was struggling in the first half. He lost control of his body or the ball several times, and was not playing close to his best. However, he came out strong in the second half, using his speed and and ball-handling ability to attack and distribute very well. He also made the play of the game. It came in the midst of the second half run that helped Ottawa pull away on top. The Bengals were gaining momentum and the crowd was getting into it. Then, leading the fast break, the 5’10 Seifulah rose up and got himself a dunk, making a clear statement that he and his team were playing to win at home.
Best Offensive Performance – Anthony Roberts (Detroit Henry Ford)
The senior Bryant University commit attacked the rim relentlessly throughout the night. His opponents may have known he was going to drive because he did so nearly every time; however, they very rarely stopped him because of how good he was at it. Off the dribble, he speed made him difficult to stay in front of him. He has good height (listed at 6’4) which helped a lot on his finishes, but he also had a way of positioning his body and the ball that led to him scoring or getting fouled nearly every trip.
Best Defensive Performance – Ottawa Hills
This award cannot be handed to just one player. Rather, as a team, it was pretty clear that Ottawa played superior defense. They were aggressive first of all, and you could tell that players wanted the ball. Also, whether in man or their extended zone, they worked together to pester and trap, causing difficult situations and turnovers for Detroit Henry Ford.
Best Shooter – Deontae Ulmer (Detroit Henry Ford)
Remember that second half shooting that kept the Trojans competitive? Well, the credit can be given in large part to Deontae Ulmer. He came through in a major way for his team, hitting multiple much-needed threes. He also showed a nice midrange touch with a pretty floater. As far as this game goes, he was definitely the best outside shooter between the two teams.
Best Under-the-Radar Performance – Escue Smith Jr (Ottawa Hills)
Smith did not display shifty handles, incredible bounce, or an amazing shooting ability. However, he was greatly important for Ottawa in this win. He contributed on the defensive end and made hustle plays. He also ended up scoring a lot, getting passes on the fast break or leading it himself to score at the rim in transition.
Best Shooter Part 2 – DaJalon Copeland – (Ottawa Hills)
Copeland connected from deep early on, establishing himself as a shooter. He then struggled for a stretch but later hit multiple important ones in the second half. He also showed some versatility, contributing in other areas like attacking and defense throughout the game.
Best Guy off the Bench – Deshawn Marbury – (Detroit Henry Ford)
Coming off the bench for the Trojans, Marbury was not a downgrade. He made few mistakes, played solid defense, and contributed a nice outside shot.
Best Intangible Contribution – Jaquise Jackson – (Ottawa Hills)
If a coach is in need of a player to pester opponents and spur on teammates, Jackson would be a guy to do it. He was vocal throughout the game and did some work getting under opponent’s skin. He could also be seen celebrating loudly with his teammates and maintaining positive energy.
Best External Outcome – Ottawa Hills
Outscoring Detroit Henry Ford in this game, not only did Ottawa Hills win, they also sealed the sweep in the day’s east vs west competition. Wayland-Union topped Detroit Southeastern, Rockford beat Lansing Sexton, Benton Harbor beat Lansing Everett, GR Union beat Mt. Clemens, and Ottawa Hills narrowly defeated the Trojans to make it 5-0 in favor of the West Side!