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Posted On: 01/12/18 10:03 PM
Before this game started, I thought it would be a battle throughout, but it was the complete opposite. Woodhaven dominated this game because of defense and the play of Josh Warren. Allen Park was down four at the end of the first quarter and never got any closer, as Warren poured in 27 points and Bryon Wilkinson added 11 in a 52-38 win. Below I answer five questions about this game and the Downriver League as a whole.
To me, the answer is no. I haven’t seen a team in the league that looks as good as them thus far. The Warriors are the only unbeaten team left in league play, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t lose a league game the rest of the year. They are that good. And, if you remember, they lost just one game in league play last year. However, they do have a tough stretch coming at the end of the month. The Warriors play Carlson, Southgate and Kennedy back-to-back-to-back which should be a challenge. Guys like Tyler Koons (Carlson), Deven Fields (Southgate) and Renaudd Broaden (Kennedy) will test Woodhaven’s defense.
This is a tough question, but in my opinion, the answer is yes. There are a lot of talented players in the league, such as Bryce Armstrong (Wyandotte), Broaden, Koons and Khalid Fleming (Lincoln Park), but Warren is on another level. He played every single minute against Allen Park, scoring 27 points and grabbing six rebounds, while locking down defensively. His ability to score in a variety of ways separates him from most of the elite players in the league. Some guys are very good inside, some are good outside, but Warren is a great shooter, great at finishing at the rim and a good passer. He’s also one of the top defensive guards in the league, as he comes away with three or four steals a game. He’s my very early pick for Downriver League Player of the Year.
Donovan Ebo was First Team All News-Herald last year and featured in my top returning Downriver League players article before the season. Tonight, he was completely taken out of the game, scoring just six points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field. He did grab four rebounds, but a player of Ebo’s caliber should be getting more than five shots. Some credit can be given to the Woodhaven defense, but most of the problem was Allen Park’s stagnant offense, which I’ll get into a little bit later. Ebo looked really good going to the basket, blowing by defenders with ease, but when he got there, he was too pass happy. There were a few times I thought he could’ve gotten an easy layup but passed it outside for a three-pointer instead. That can work sometimes, but the way the Jags were shooting the ball tonight, it probably wasn’t the best option. One bad game doesn’t change my opinion on Ebo. He’s still a good player. He just needs to be more aggressive when he has the ball.
As I mentioned earlier, the Allen Park offense was very stagnant tonight, which resulted in 38 points on 42 percent shooting from the field. But what I’m really concerned with is the huge drop off in offense from the beginning of the season to now. The Jaguars started the season 6-0 and were averaging 61 points per game, while giving up just 43. Over the last five games, Allen Park has three losses and has averaged just 50.6 points per game, while giving up 50. So, what happened? Well, tonight, there was a lot of standing around and passing around the perimeter. I didn’t see many post ups or even an attempt to get the ball inside. One bright spot of the offense was Luke Zacny, who had 17 points. He looked good shooting the ball and really kept the Jags in the game. However, going forward, if Allen Park wants to beat good teams, they need to move more on offense and establish a post game.
Anyone that has seen Warren play knows he is a great player. But every great player needs help. Jordan needed Pippen, LeBron needed Wade and Bosh, etc. So who is going to step up and help Warren? There are a few names to pick from, but tonight it was Bryon Wilkinson. Wilkinson had an excellent game, scoring 11 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Another name to keep an eye on is Colin Czajkowski. The University of Michigan baseball commit had just five points tonight, but he’s proven to be a stable option for the Warriors, scoring 16 points against Lincoln park earlier this week. The Warriors are a good team, but they have potential to be great if they can find a couple more consistent scoring options.