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Posted On: 01/1/18 6:00 AM
The headline matchup of Friday’s Catholic Invitational was cancelled due to poor weather, making Detroit Country Day versus Powers Catholic the last game of the night. No one was complaining, however, because this game turned out to be quite entertaining and left us with a lot of good info. Below is a brief summary of the game and the ten best from this Class B contest.
The game started out slow, the score being 2-3 three minutes into the first quarter. It soon picked up, however, and both teams began to display their strengths. Powers showed some versatility by attacking the glass, taking midrange shots, and knocking down some threes. On the other end of the court, Country Day thrived off driving to the rim, either finishing or getting fouled. By the end of the first quarter, Powers had earned a slight six point lead which they held until the end of the half. In the first two quarters, they looked to be the better team offensively and in rebounding.
In the second half, Country Day really picked up the defensive intensity. Halfway through the third quarter, they tied the score at 38, then made some impressive plays to lead 42-38. Aggressive defense and mounting energy after big plays led to a 12-0 run on their part. Powers ended the quarter able to score again, and closed the gap a little going into the fourth. The fourth was pretty narrow throughout, and ended with a major game-tying three from Country Day to send the contest into an extra period. Overtime was similarly close for a while, but some big plays from Country Day broadened their lead, and they finished on top, 75-64.
MVP: Wendell Green Jr. – 5’9 – 2020 (Detroit Country Day)
Green was an easy choice for MVP. He led his squad offensively nearly every possession as a point guard, finished the game with 26 points, contributed on both ends of the floor, and came away with the win. One of the smallest on the court, he made up for it with quickness, handle, and aggression. He liked to attack the rim and found success doing so, scoring or getting fouled more often than not. He also showed ability to distribute, getting many assists off the drive and dish or drive and kick. Defensively, he was aggressive and intense when part of his team’s full court pressure as well as in the half court playing man-to-man.
Play of the Game: Wendell Green Jr. (Detroit Country Day)
It seems fitting that the MVP would also make the play of the game. Late in the fourth, the Yellowjackets were down by three, and they desperately needed a bucket to keep them in the game. Green struggled from three throughout the night, but he connected when it really counted. He received the ball from a teammate, faked the first shot to see his defender fly past, dribbled in, stepped back, and shot as if he had been hitting all night long. Of course it went in, clean and pretty. Without this shot, his squad likely would have lost before overtime.
Best Offensive Performance: Cameryn Carpenter – 6’1 – 2018 (Powers Catholic)
Carpenter played antagonist to Green and had quite a game of his own. From the very beginning, he showed an ability to score at the rim and in the midrange. He displayed the depth of his two-pointer package, connecting with floaters, lay-ins, and jumpers. When he wanted to drive all the way in, he did so fast and strong, making him very difficult to stop. He also got to the line and converted pretty consistently, making 7/9 from the stripe. The three pointers didn’t come in droves for Carpenter, but a couple did fall. Overall, he scored consistently, often responsible for keeping his team in the game. He led the Chargers with 25 points.
Best Underclassman: Julian Roper – 6’3 – 2021 (Detroit Country Day)
Roper started for the Yellowjackets and had a very impressive game, especially for his grade. Playing the SG/SF positions, he finished mostly on the inside but hit one outside shot. He also hustled throughout the game, going for steals and crashing the boards a lot. He is athletic and fast, traits he put to good use on both sides of the floor. They led to his working for and getting two nice blocks, a few steals, and some rebounds. He also made a big play by dunking in his team’s big third quarter run and bringing them some energy. He finished the contest second in scoring for Country Day with 16, and is DEFINITELY a name to remember.
Best Under-the-Radar Performance: Dylan Sandhu – 6’4 – 2018 (Detroit Country Day)
Sandhu played well for Country Day but did not do much in the way of scoring for most of the game. He played solid D, used his length to grab rebounds and contest shots, and made numerous hustle plays that really helped keep his team flowing. While this was mostly under the radar, he made himself know when it counted most. Overtime was narrow for about three minutes, but he made three big shots, all from three-point-land and in rapid succession, to widen the gap and guarantee a Yellowjacket victory.
Best Under-the-Radar Performance Part Two: Makai Conner – 6’2 – 2018 (Powers Catholic)
Conner was not super showy and, therefore, did not draw oohs and aahs from the crowd. However, he played his role well. He usually was the 2 or 3, but he did distribute the ball well at times. The majority of his scoring came near the rim. Sometimes he drove in himself; other times he got himself in position to receive the dish. In the end, his quiet scoring garnered him seventeen points.
Best Finisher at the Rim: Makai Conner (Powers Catholic)
Many players in this game proved able to attack and finish at the rim. Among them were Carpenter and Green who both did so a lot and well. Conner is one who also deserves mention for this. As stated above, he both drove in and positioned himself to receive passes on the inside. Many of his takes were simply strong and fast enough to beat defenders. On others, he employed some creativity, hitting from nontraditional angles off the glass or floating the shot higher than usual. He finished with 17 points, over half of which came from shots near the basket.
Best Rebounder: Demetriess Champion – 6’6 – 2019 (Detroit Country Day)
Champion was the tallest guy on the floor and used this to his advantage. He ended the contest with ten points, most of which came from attacking the basket or free throws. He also came away with a double-double–or at least was close–by nabbing a lot of valuable rebounds.
Best Off the Bench: Durell Pigee – 5’9 – 2018 (Powers Catholic)
It wasn’t long after Pigee checked into the game that he started to make some things happen. In the first half, Powers was scoring on all levels, and Pigee contributed to this by hitting two shots in the first quarter from beyond the arc. Based off his performance, he is a good roleplayer but can also be trusted to hit those shots when the time is right. He finished with eight points and showed some hustle.
Biggest Takeaway: Detroit Country Day
Country Day looked nice on Friday, especially in the second half. They have a lot of good pieces–shooters, a ball-distributor, and rim attackers. They also had a lot of guys making an obvious effort to hustle on defense and get steals and rebounds. These things in place, this season should be a successful one. However, I predict this team having even more success in the next year or two. Green is only a sophomore and Roper a freshman. Champion will also return next year. These three already being talented, if they and theirs continue to improve, and perhaps they gain some strength in the post, I could see Country Day becoming a Class B powerhouse.