Posted On: 12/13/17 12:55 PM
The Horatio Williams Tip Off Classic has always been filled with some of the state’s top talent. This event has the format of Detroit Public School league teams versus other schools. PSL basketball has always been special. This year the event took place at the historic Cass Tech High School, reigning city champions. As usual, this event did not disappoint.
The first game was between Class B contender River Rouge and Detroit Western. Rouge used a balance attack and stifling defense to pull out a gritty 49-33 victory. The second game of the event pitted Detroit Renaissance against Flint Carman-Ainsworth. This game was much more up tempo and entertaining for fans. These two teams traded buckets for much of the game, and neither team could pull away from the other.
After 1, Renaissance held a narrow 16-14 lead. In the second, Carman-Ainsworth had the most dominant quarter as they held the Phoenix to just 6 points, and took a 32-22 halftime lead. Renaissance weathered the storm and took an 8 point lead into the final minute of the 3rd, but a string of turnovers quickly allowed Carman-Ainsworth to capitalize, and they took a 1 point lead into the fourth quarter. From there, neither team could get more than a couple possession lead on each other. In the end, the Cavaliers of Carman-Ainsworth had too much balance and experience and were able to pull out a tough 61-57 victory.
MVP: Ja’Kavien Lewis- 2018 5’11 PG Carman-Ainsworth
Lewis was the player of the game pretty easily in my eyes, although his teammate Omari Duncan had a reasonable case for it as well. Lewis did a little bit of everything. As usual, he was a force on the defensive end, creating multiple turnovers and disrupting the offensive rhythm of Renaissance. Offensively, he was excellent. Especially in the second half. He dropped a team high 7 assists and pulled down 5 rebounds to go along with 15 points. Lewis is one of the best available guards in the state, and he showed why in this big showcase game.
Offensive Player of the Game- Chandler Turner- 2019 6’6 SG Detroit Renaissance
Turner was doing it all on the offensive end. He was scoring at all three levels with ease. Turner knocked down a three, and made eight other field goals inside the three point line. He also got to the foul line a decent amount, connecting on 5 of 6 attempts. He did more than just score though, as he dished out 3 assists and got involved on the glass, collecting several offensive boards. Turner finished the game with an efficient 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. He looked the part of a solid D1 player who is trending toward high major.
Defensive Player of the Game- Carrington McCaskill- 2019 6’7 PF Detroit Renaissance
McCaskill is one of the most athletic players in Michigan, regardless of class. Because of that, it automatically makes him an above average rim protector. He gets off the floor so easily and quickly, that he can block shots with ease on ball or helpside.
Against Carman-Ainsworth, I marked him for 3 blocks as well as several more altered shots. What was most impressive about McCaskill was that he helped hold Mike Fletcher to 4 points. Fletcher is a top 5 player in our 2019 rankings, and he holds 5 D1 basketball offers. McCaskill was one of two primary defenders on Fletcher, and he used his freakish bounce to help contain Fletcher. This defense on Fletcher gave Renaissance an excellent chance to win. McCaskill finished with a double double, posting 15 points and 10 rebounds. Mccaskill looks like a player that is trending toward the high major level.
Best shooter: Montara Harris- 2018 5’11 G Carman-Ainsworth
Ja’Kavien Lewis could have easily been chosen for this, as he knocked in a game high 3 threes. However, we go with Harris due to the timeliness of his threes, and how good his shot looked. Harris appears to have the role of coming off the bench and providing a shooter for the Cavaliers. He looked confident and ready to shoot every time he touched the ball against Renaissance, and in turn, knocked down a pair of threes. Expect Harris to be one of Carman-Ainsworth’s top three point options this year.
Most electric- Omari Duncan- 2018 6’4 SG Flint Carman-Ainsworth
This was the easy choice, and that is surprising considering Carrington McCaskill was playing. Duncan had 3 or 4 dunks in the game, and they were all at big momentum shifting moments. His performance in this game was one of the most entertaining of anyone all day, and he frequently had the crowd on its feet. Duncan finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal and is beginning to really turn heads in Michigan. Duncan is quickly becoming one of the more coveted 2018 shooting guard prospects still available in Michigan.
Unsung Hero- Devin Holmes- 2018 6’5 PF Detroit Renaissance
His stats will not pop out at all, but without Holmes, I do not think the Phoenix would have stayed within single digits in this game. He did a superb job checking Mike Fletcher down low. Between him and McCaskill, they held Fletcher to 4 points. Fletcher is one of the most physically dominating players in the 2019 class.
One notable play that sticks out more than others was when Fletcher caught a entry pass at the mid-high post. He tried to make a spin move, but as soon as he spun, Holmes beat him to the spot and held his ground. He actually knocked Fletcher off balance backwards, and he threw up a wild shot at the rim. Seeing Fletcher get knocked off balance is extremely rare, let alone when he is attacking the basket. Holmes frequently was able to deny entry passes all game to Fletcher, and whenever he did get the ball, Holmes walled up very well and held his ground.
Best Rebounder- Mike Fletcher- 2019 6’7 PF Flint Carman-Ainsworth
Despite being contained on the scoresheet, Fletcher did grab a large amount of rebounds especially late in the game. His wide frame and good mobility allow him to generally dominate his area, and also grab boards out of his area. Regardless of rankings, Fletcher is one of the very best rebounders in the 2019 class in Michigan.
Best Glue Guy Performance- Dustin Fletcher- 2020 6’4 SF Flint Carman-Ainsworth
The younger brother of 2019 Mike Fletcher, Dustin quietly had himself a solid night against Renaissance. He is very well built, and like Mike, is a D1 football prospect. Dustin is already has multiple D1 offers at Quarterback, and you could tell he was a capable leader on the floor despite being one of the youngest.
Fletcher talked well on defense and also did a lot of tough, gritty things to help Carman-Ainsworth win. He defended inside well because of his strength and size, and he displayed the lateral mobility to defend on the perimeter as well. He gives Carman-Ainsworth a very versatile defender who can check the 2-4 spots versus most high school teams. Fletcher also chipped in in the scoring column as well, scoring 7 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. Fletcher will not wow anyone with his stats this season, but he would play for most teams due to his versatility and ability to positively affect his team when he is on the floor.
Best Under the Radar Performance: Donnal Conway- 2019 6’2 SG Flint Carman-Ainsworth
Conway quietly put up a nice statline against Renaissance. He did a good job of creating for others from the wing, and although he is not talked about like most of his teammates, Conway showed that he is a very good player himself. He knocked down a three and also went 2-2 at the line to go with 3 more field goals to finish with 11 points. Conway also dropped three assists, grabbed a pair of rebounds and had 1 steal that led to one of Omari Duncan’s big dunks late in the 3rd. If he can quietly go about his business like he did this game, Carman-Ainsworth will be one of the very best teams in Michigan regardless of class.
Best Play: The steal by Donnal Conway that led to a oop dunk from Lewis to Duncan
This was late in the 3rd quarter, and it was part of a huge run by Carman-Ainsworth to take a 1 point lead going into the fourth, after being down 7 just a minute or so before this dunk. Carman-Ainsworth scored 8 straight points in about a minute and a half, and it gave them the momentum they needed going into the fourth quarter to hang on and beat Renaissance. It also really highlighted the athleticism of Duncan, as this game was much of a coming out party for Duncan. He played great against Clarkston, and then followed that up with a big performance in one of the state’s biggest one day events for basketball.