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Posted On: 01/18/18 8:29 PM
A highly anticipated matchup took place at Attucks on Thursday night as the City Tournament quarterfinals were underway. Howe came into town second in the state in scoring, but it was their defense that shined the brightest. Howe came out in a 2-3 zone and really forced Attucks to slow it down, something they aren’t used to doing. It worked as Howe held Attucks to 28 points in the first half on their home floor. The second half gave us more scoring but Howe held on long enough to take the win and move to the semi-finals, 70-67.
Can Attucks hang with the teams that slow them down?
Earlier this year I saw Attucks really struggle with Connersville and their really good ball handlers and tonight they really struggled in the half-court. Attucks loves to get out and run and in this game, they weren’t really able to do that. Howe got back and settled in a 2-3 zone which really gave Attucks fits and while they held it close, I am not so sure that if Attucks plays a methodical and slow team, they will be able to hang with them; especially in the tournament.
Does Howe have a shot to win the 2A title?
Howe is sitting at 11-4 now and in a prime position to make a run in the tournament. Their only losses are to 3A or 4A teams and team have beat some pretty solid opponents. They are in a tough sectional and could face some tough teams, but the way they are playing right now I could definitely see them making a run. Taking down Attucks was the first step, now they need to win the City Tournament.
Who really is the guy that needs to take the reins for Attucks?
While Jamal Harris struggles a bit, he still is the best player on the team. To make a run in the tournament Attucks is really going to have to have Harold Bennett and Derrick Briscoe step up. Both can score but they both also can have games in which they take off and play awful as we saw with Bennett tonight. They are going to have to come together and be able to play better in the half court to have a shot as teams are going to start making them play slow.
Who is going to lead Howe through the gauntlet of their sectional?
Howe is in a pretty tough sectional with Eastern Hancock (9-3), Irvington Prep (11-4), Shenandoah (10-3), and even Triton Central (7-6). They are going to probably have to play two of these teams and by far the easiest path will be Triton Central and Irvington Prep. Howe has the ability to get out but a rough shooting night could spell disaster. Howe should advance and if so they have a match-up with Union City or Northeastern, whom they should beat. Once we get to the regional championship, Howe should face Heritage Christian unless something goes terribly wrong. Tony Hopkins and Jamil-Turner Hall are going to have to step up both in big ways and increase their scoring outputs to have a shot to reach semi-state.
There were two University of New Orleans commits playing; who are they?
Two future teammates faced off as 6’1 SG Jamal Harris (Attucks) and 6’4 SF Tony Hopkins (Howe) both are heading down south next year to play at the University of New Orleans. Both are super athletic guys who are still a work in progress and will need a bit of seasoning at the next level. Harris is a guy who can jump out of the gym literally (50” vertical leap) and he’s really good in reading the passing lanes and running in transition. His shot looks better as he’s starting to knock down more jumpers but still needs a little work. Hopkins is a guy who likes to post up and due to his strength should be able to do well. His shot is the main thing that needs work right now and if he stretches his game out he could be really dangerous. Harris is the more likely of the two to make an immediate impact next year.