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Posted On: 01/14/18 3:31 AM
The fifth game of the at the 810 Varsity Showcase like many, did not disappoint. Grandview and Blue Valley Northwest was one of the better matchups around the area this year. There was plenty of D1 talent on both teams which allowed us to witness some great basketball from start to finish. Grandview trailed going into the 4th quarter, but some pressure defense seemed to be a little too much for the Huskies. Some turnovers late in the 4th quarter allowed Grandview to grow their lead to 8, and they never looked back from there. Grandview was lead by a player that doesn’t get a ton of love, but he is a hard-nose player who displays a great skillset. Michael Nweke was very scoring the ball leading both teams with 16 points. Christian Braun lead the Huskies with 13 points.
Grandview’s Guard Play
The Grandview Bulldogs are full of talented players up and down their lineup. They have a great starting five along with 2 or 3 solid players off the bench, but where they really excel is their guard play. Jordan Lathon who will be taking his talents to Northwestern next year leads this group of talented guards. He has a large frame standing at 6’4″ which allows him to bully smaller guards and gives him great opportunities to score the ball. His jump shot is really starting to come along where he gets great elevation giving him plenty of space even when tightly guarded. Lathon is key for this Bulldogs team, and without him, it will be tough for them to make a run at the Championship. Lathon finished in double figures with 11 points in which 9 came in the second half. Next up in line is the shining senior guard Mason Taylor. With Lathon suffering an early season injury, Taylor was the go to man and was averaging around 18 points a game. Although it looks like Taylor’s scoring may suffer with Lathon around, it allows him to get cleaner looks and work more without the ball. Taylor can score the ball in a hurry and isn’t afraid to light the opposing team up from deep. The last guard in the backcourt is DeAndre Sorrells. Sorrells hasn’t gotten a ton of attention probably mainly because of his size, but man this kid plays hard and can really shoot the ball. He definitely is one of the better shooters around the area, and his scoring has really gone up with Lathon back in the lineup. Sorrells isn’t much of a creater as of now, but more of a spot up shooter, but his quick release makes it really hard to guard him. Sorrells finished the game with 14 points.
Christian and Parker Braun are probably the best brother combo around the area. They both have great size with Christian standing at 6’5″ and Parker at 6’9″, and obviously that helps on the basketball court. Christian is more of a wing, but can bring the ball up the court if he needs to. He is a shooter and when left open, he’s almost automatic. Christian is an up and coming junior who didn’t get a lot of time last year, but has seen a few D1 schools get in touch with him as well as some offers. Watch for Christian to really blow up in the near future. Parker didn’t get his first points till the second half, but once he scored, he became the go to guy. He had 2 or 3 big dunks that really started swinging the moment towards the Huskies. He was also huge on the defensive end. Parker is really athletic and it lead to him blocking quite a few shots. He ended the night with 5+ blocks and some of those off the backboard. Parker scored all 12 of his points in the second half.
Grandview’s Pressure Defense
The Bulldogs won this game because of their harassing defense, and it didn’t really affect the Huskies until the fourth quarter came around. Nweke got some big steals by stepping in the passing lanes which then lead to breakaway layups on the other end. Grandview got another late steal late in the game which lead to Taylor knocking down an open 3 in the corner which ultimately sealed the game. In the first 3 quarters, the Huskies were patient and didn’t really force anything, but in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs decided to turn up the defensive intensity. They started to trap just as the ball passed half court, and they really started to gamble on the “next pass” opportunities. The Huskies couldn’t handle the pressure at all and it was a turnover filled quarter.
Blue Valley Northwest spreads the wealth
The Huskies have 4 or 5 really good players who can all score 20 points on any given night. Although no one really caught fire or took over the game in the scoring department, they all played hard and shared the ball very well. The Huskies finished with 4 players in double figures Saturday Night. Christian Braun lead the team with 13 points, Parker Braun and Joseph Pleasant followed with 12 a piece, and Sam Ward joined them with 10. Pleasant is a solid big man with some of the best footwork in the area. He’s a strong forward who can play a wing if need, but usually will stay down in the post. He’s got a pretty sweet stroke from 15 feet and can finish with the best of them. Sam Ward has no problem shooting the ball and he displayed that on Saturday. He didn’t have his best shooting game, but it was nice to see that he still shot every shot with plenty of confidence. He also showed that he has some crazy range when he knocked down a 3 from about 30 ft in the 4th quarter.
The Grandview Bulldogs have so much talent on their team, but it will only go as far as their star guar Jordan Lathon will take them. He really is the glue for this team. If he isn’t scoring a ton of points, then he is assisting on a lot while being aggressive on the defensive end and coming up with big steals. It’s clear he’s the team’s vocal leader, and the team really puts their trust in him. This team will also need one or two other players to step up on a night to night basis. Saturday night it was Sorrells and Nweke. Nweke was great at both ends of the court. He plays really hard and tight on ball defense, plus he moves really well on the offensive side without the ball. He knows his role and doesn’t try to force anything if it isn’t there. Grandview has a bright future as long as they continue to grow as a team. If it ever becomes “I” instead of “we”, that is when trouble will start to brew.