Posted On: 01/8/18 3:09 AM
I would like to thank Springbrook HS, their very nice Athletic Director Daniel Feher, & the players & coaches from 2 excellent teams. This game was key showdown in what I believe are the top 2 teams in MOCO & the top MOCO game of the season to date. The 2 great schools have a rich athletic tradition & are located just 3 miles apart in Southern Montgomery County. This great game was played before a packed house & a fantastic game to watch. There were many great alumni from both schools including 1970 1st Team All Met Eddie Peterson who is the best pure shooter ever in the DC DMV imo & Paint Branch / Notre Dame great Tracy Jackson (right) who played 3 seasons in the NBA. Fellow Notre Dame alum & Mackin HS All Met CJ Rucker attends all of the Springbrook games since his son Cameron is a star player for The Brook. Photos by Jaqui South of the MOCO Sentinel top & several below). All videos are complements by our friends at Scouting BBall.
Top Scorers for Paint Branch are Xavier Reaves & Richard Dudley with 21 each, Chris Mayaka with 19 & Bobby Miller 9. Top scorers for Springbrook include Matthew Balanc 26, Cameron Rucker 12, Timitrius Whitney- Hawkins 10, Delaino Jessup & Anthony Deruisseau with 8 each.
Coach Chris Bohlen will go 9 plus deep on his talented Paint Branch roster. The Panthers possess excellent depth chemistry, athleticism, length, & toughness. In the pre season I predicted Paint Branch & Springbrook as the top 2 teams with the Panthers holding an edge, to date this ranking holds true. Xavier Reaves (left) Bobby Miller, & Richard Dudley bottom (left) lead the Panthers each of whom who I rank in the MOCO Top 5/10 Overall. 2020 6’4″ F Jordan Alphonso has posted some huge games & he is a top 30 plus MOCO player with a great upside. 6’2 2019 SG/CG Marly Sume, 6’4″ F/G 2018 Chris Mayaka, & 2019, & 6’2″ G/F Mishi Etuafal have all started this season & are very unselfish excellent players. 6’5″ 2018 F Kevin Yomba & 6’3″ 2018 SF Chris Lawrence must be commended for their great play off the bench & will play in college. 5’10” 2021 PG Juan Bell is player to watch & shows great skills. Next season Marley Sume, Mishi Etuafal & possibly Juan Bell will highly ranked MOCO players.
The MD State Regional Conferences & Playoffs have changed this season which now guarantees a MOCO 4A a bid in the MD Semis. In 2016/17 teams from different counties & Regions would meet in the Regional playoffs. Last season Paint Branch lost to eventual MD 4A state Champions Perry Hall from Baltimore County in the Regional finals. Paint Branch improved to 8-1 after their win on Friday with their only loss in their opening game to BCC 74-73. Since the Panthers have bulldozed their way to a top 20 ranking. Paint Branch utilizes a stifling 1-3-1 & other zone combinations plus their very tough man to man forcing numerous TOs. The Panthers are lethal in transition team & play very good half court offense. Despite losing 4 excellent players in 6’2″ WG Steve Etienne (12.8 ppg), 5’10” PG Jarell Boddy (5.3 ppg) ,James Valle III (9.8 ppg) & 6’5″ SF Daniel Brown (5.9 ppg) to graduation, the Panthers are better this season. Every Panther player has improved due the off season programs set up & run by Head Coach Bohlen, his staff & the players desire to improve.
Springbrook is a still a contender for the MD State 4A semis.
Springbrook is 7 deep team, & all of the Blue Devils are talented. Matthew Balanc is one of the best players in MD & DC. 6’6.5″ F/WF Cameron Carter (pictured left ) is an excellent college prospect & is averaging 20 ppg. Cam is a top 10 plus MOCO player & can score from deep, the mid-range & at the rim. Cam has a very good handle which he uses to score from all 3 levels. Springbro0k lacks size & he is forced to play out his normal position as a Wing. I will be updating Cam’s recruitment this month. 6’2.5″ 2019 G Timitrius Whitney- Hawkins (below guarded by top 35 2020 Panther F Jordan Alponso) is a top 30 plus MOCO player & one of the top non seniors in MOCO. He is very long & an excellent scorer with a beautiful stroke. Currently, Timitrius is coming off the bench & averages 12.3 ppg. 6’0″ 2018 PG Delaino Jessup averages 8 ppg & will play in college with potential to receive a scholarship. He can score from all 3 levels & distributes well. Delaino will be a key player for the Blue Devils down the stretch & his production could excel. 6’2″ 2018 G Anthony Deruisseau is one the top underacted players in MOCO & averages 8 ppg. Anthony has played on varsity for 4 seasons & he is a stat sheet stuffer who is an excellent defender. He will fit easily into most college systems very well. Anthony could score at higher level, but hefocuses in other areas & the intangibles. 6’0″ 2019 G Sam Rifidi is known for his shooting & averages 8 ppg. Sam will play in college & we will update his recruitment this season. 6’2″ 2018 F/G Michael Germaine comes off the bench & is a fantastic glue player with a high IQ. This summer Michael received a lot interest from local D3 colleges in MD. Micheal will play next season & he will do whatever his team wants & anything for W. His role could increase in the near future. 6’0″ 2019 G Xavier Harris is a player to watch. MOCO 4A is very deep this season but I expect another Paint Branch Springbrook showdown in the MOCO 4A Regional finals. However, there are 5 plus teams capable of making upsets.
Matthew Balanc is the best MOCO player & POY favorite.
This season Matthew has bulls eye on his back & he is facing double teams, collapsing defenses sometimes causing triple teams & gimmick defenses. Matthew is so talented he can maneuver , go around & up & over his opponents. In Fridays game Matthew played with so much energy, intensity fearlessness & toughness, I rate his performance as one the best I have seen this season. He had double digit rebounds, totaled 27 points & constantly attacked the rim with ferocity. Matthew connected on several superb dunks & some others were missed due to contact. In my opinion Matthew is a top 5 explosive player in the DC DMV with a superb vertical & overall athleticism. On numerous occasions on Friday his head was at rim level. Matthew can score easily off the dribble on his high lift jumper & in the mid range. For a long duration of the game he played at PG or was the primary ball handler. Next season Matthew will play at D1 Quinnipiac & I rate him as a impact freshmen. He is clearly an ALL MET candidate this season & already a 1st Team Doctor of Dunk in the DC DMV. Matthew is pictured left getting fouled on a mid range shot going to the rim. Photo by Jaqui South of the MOCO Sentinel.
Bobby Miller , Xavier Reaves, & Richard Dudley are TOP 5/10 MOCO Players.
There is some great news at Paint Branch & it is MILLER TIME. Preseason Top 5 MOCO player. 6’3″ 2018 Wing Bobby Miller (left) is 100 % healed from an early season ankle sprain. On Friday Bobby scored 9 points, but his performance was huge on every level. He played superb defense, coming up with rebounds steals, blocks & playing excellent overall defense. On offense Bobby converted several highlight dunks & in the mid range scored on several nice buckets. His much improved 3 pointer will become a weapon soon when Bobby regains his full timing. He is an excellent college prospect who is on the high D2/low D1 level at this time. After a few more games under his belt I will update his Recruitment & more. 6’5″ 2018 F/G Xavier Reaves is having a superb senior season & a MOCO Top 5 player. This season he is stuffing the stat sheets with rebounds, blocks & steals. Xavier is a superb defender & the Panthers place Xavier at top on their 1-3-1 where he utilizes his extremely long wingspan. On offense Xavier is averaging 17.6 ppg & he can score from 3 levels. From the wings or transition he is always a threat to dunk. Xavier is one of the best players I have seen this season in MOCO & an excellent college prospect. Against Springbrook, he was fantastic scoring 21, grabbing 14 boards & 3 steals. He is a tenacious rebounder with excellent 1st, second & third jumps has stuffed the stat sheets all season. 5’11’ 2019 PG/CG Richard Dudley is playing at such a high level he would get votes for MOCO POY. Recently Richard had several 39 point plus outbursts, and averaging a team, high & probably a MOCO player leading 26.3 ppg. In the preseason I ranked Richard in the Top 10 MOCO players & he has moved up into the top 5. Richard has a great handle, can score on or off the dribble & attack the rim at a very high level. Richard excels in transition & scores from all 3 levels. He has made numerous superb assists this season & proves to be pesky defender.
What does Springbrook & Paint Branch need to accomplish to reach MD Regional finals.
Paint Branch can get better despite their 8-1 record & blasting many teams this season. Bobby Miller is back in town & an impact Panther. Paint Branch will now get more balance in their scoring, but more importantly Bobby is a great all around player & an excellent high level defender. Chris Mayaka left had a huge game for the Panthers overall & totaled 19 points. The Panthers toughest games will be on 1-12-18 @ Kennedy, another showdown with The Brook on 1-26-18 @ home, on 2-2-18 in a potential trap game @ Whitman, and a 2-6-18 home game vs Clarksburg. The Panthers could run the table, but if they get a hiccup Paint Branch will adjust & rebound hard from it.
Springbrook lacks depth, size & muscle & could really use 6’5″ 275 Peace Abado in the paint who payed great this summer & attended the game. He transferred to St. Frances HS & earned a scholarship to Duke for football as OT/OG. However, Matthew Balanc can carry the Blue Devils if they get the right match ups in the Regionals. Cameron Rucker can explode for 25 plus, especially if the opposition does not have multiple 6’5″ plus power players. Delaino Jessup is a very talented PG/CG who could close out his senior season with a bang after a great summer. Anthony Deruisseau is a tremendous all around player who can slash his way for 16 plus points & Timitrius Whitney- Hawkins can easily score over 20 points. Sam Rifidi is very capable of getting hot from 3 & I believe Mike Germaine could be a very key factor in January & February for the Blue Devils with an increased role. I will not by any means count out Springbrook from reaching the MD 4 A semis, but Paint Branch is the clear favorite. Looking way into the future, the MOCO 4A State semifinalist could meet Perry Hall again &in the semis. The Gators start 3 D1 players in 6’9″ 2018 G/F LaQuill Hardnett, 6’8″ 2018 F Anthony Higgs committed to Ole Miss & 6’8″ 2019 F Anthony Walker & high energy 6’4″ G Tyler Polley who is a player. Other potential teams to reach the MD 4 A state semis are the 8-1 Wise Pumas & the 5-2 Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders( 1 loss to Dematha & other by 2 to Riverdale Baptist) who each own recent 4A crowns & clash on 1-16-18 @ Wise. Other potential candidates include Millford Mill & Dulaney from Baltimore County, and several more teams not mentioned which could include a SMAC team, Anne Arundel team, or HOCO representative River Hill.