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Posted On: 01/23/18 10:05 PM
All-around domination is how I would describe this game. Belleville never trailed en route to a 71-29 victory. Michigan State commit Gabe Brown led all scorers with 15 points, while Devin Alverson added 13. However, defense was the main reason the Tigers were able to pull away. Fordson was overwhelmed by Belleville’s pressure and couldn’t find any open looks. One positive for Fordson was Hashem Aljahmi. He was the Tractors’ leading scorer with seven points, and he was really the only player that was able to break Belleville’s press consistently. Belleville improved to 6-4 on the season and Fordson dropped to 5-6.
Brown and Alverson didn’t need to play much, due to the fact that Belleville was up big most of the game. However, in their limited time on the floor, they made a big impact. The duo combined to score 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds. I don’t know exactly how many minutes they played, but if I had to guess, I’d say each played about 16 minutes. Brown is ranked No. 5 and Alverson is ranked No. 68 in Prep Hoops’ class of 2018 rankings for the state of Michigan. The Tigers have a ton of talent, and that makes it nearly impossible to stop them, especially when they are shooting the way they were tonight.
When a team only gives up 29 points in a 32 minute game, you know they were doing something right defensively. The Tigers forced 15 turnovers, and that number probably would’ve been higher had their starters played more than a couple minutes in the second half. This team is long, athletic and quick, which makes it tough for anyone to score. The best defender that I saw for Belleville was Davion Williams, who is a Michigan State football commit. Williams didn’t score in the game, but forced a bunch of turnovers and didn’t allow the Tractors to attack the basket. They force you to take and make contested jump shots, which is tough for most high school players. The Tigers are one of the best defensive teams that I’ve seen.
I’ll admit, before this game, I didn’t know who Hashem Aljahmi was. However, after this game, I’ll never forget his name. His stats don’t pop off the page, but if you watched this game, you know how big of an impact he made. Aljahmi finished with seven points and six rebounds, but his ability to break the Tigers’ press and his calmness on the court impressed me. Sure, he had a few turnovers, but that’s bound to happen when you face a team that pressures the ball as well as Belleville. Aljahmi was really the only bright spot in a game that Fordson would like to forget.
This team is absolutely loaded with talent. They have seven players featured in Prep Hoops’ rankings and all seven are capable of going off at any moment. The Tigers have started 6-4 this season, which isn’t great, but they’ve played some of Michigan’s best teams, including, Canton, West Bloomfield, Ann Arbor Skyline and Ypsilanti Lincoln. The Tigers are 1-3 against those teams, but all three losses have been close. Class A is no joke, and to make a deep playoff run, they’ll have to knock off some great teams. As it stands right now, the teams in Belleville’s district playoff bracket have a combined record of 23-20. If you take out Monroe, who could only meet Belleville in the district final, that record is 22-12. It’s a tough district, but the Tigers’ defense and three-point shooting ability is good enough to compete with anyone in the state.
Fordson was pretty balanced in this game, as six different players scored. However, no one had more than seven points. Aljahmi had seven, Mohamed Baiz had six and Yousef Farhat, Houd Mashrah and Jafar Altalaqany each had four. To get to the next level, the Tractors need to find a guy that can score 15-20 points a night. Farhat is ranked as Prep Hoops’ No. 131 overall prospect in the state of Michigan for the class of 2018, and I think he is a guy that can step up and lead this team in scoring. He had some open looks against the Tigers, but his shot just wasn’t falling. It happens to everyone, but he’s a senior that I believe has the tools to become a consistent scoring option for the Tractors.