Posted On: 01/27/18 6:40 PM
Detroit Renaissance was the spot for a big time matchup between the top two teams in the Detroit PSL west division, with the winner taking possession of first place.
Renaissance came out of the gates imposing their size advantage over Henry Ford, with the Phoenix getting 2-3 shots nearly every possession after grabbing offensive rebounds. The Trojans would counter by using the long ball to neutralize their shortcomings in the paint. While Henry Ford remained within 10 points during the opening 2 quarters, Renaissance was getting better looks at the basket and controlled the flow of the game for large portions of the first half. The Phoenix successfully used a 2-3 zone in the second half to maintain breathing room with 35-30 lead heading into the final stanza. The Trojans picked up the pace in the 4th and tied the game at 35 behind a Deontae Ulmer triple and a layup from Anthony Roberts. From that point on it was the Carrington McCaskill show. The athletic 6’7 wing/forward absolutely dominated the last 6 minutes of play with an array of jaw-dropping dunks and lobs along the baseline in addition to crashing the offensive boards for putbacks and tipdunks. Renaissance would take bragging rights and first place with a 55-52 victory.
MVP: Carrington McCaskill (Renaissance)
Carrington continues to display his rapid development on the perimeter, as he was able to attack off the dribble from the wing before finishing in addition to connecting on a corner triple with a beautiful stroke. McCaskill was electric at the rim as usual, throwing down a tip-dunk during a crucial stretch of the 4th quarter that brought the crowd to its feet and he crushed the rim on several baseline dunks and lobs. A relentless offensive rebounder, he grabbed several offensive rebounds before converting putbacks with soft touch. Carrington would finish with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks in a performance that has become the norm. With his ability to consistently stretch the floor from distance and put the ball on the floor, McCaskill has become one of the fastest rising prospects in the country.
Best Offensive Performance: Anthony Roberts (Henry Ford)
The 2018 Bryant commit had the full arsenal on display, carrying the offensive load for the Trojans when nobody else could get it going in the first half. Roberts hit stepback triples off the bounce, crashed the offensive glass for putbacks and did a good job of relocating off ball to get free before knocking down catch and shoot threes. Anthony has developed nicely as an on-ball guard, as he was able to create separation off the dribble with change of direction and speed before finishing at the rim with great body control in the 2nd half on his way to 20+ points. Bryant is getting a steal in the 6’3 guard with a college ready frame, as he’s a great shooter from distance and has improved a lot as a shot creator with the ball.
Best Defensive Performance: Chandler Turner (Renaissance)
Turner was superb on the defensive end, as his length and activity on the perimeter of the Renaissance 2-3 zone made it extremely difficult for Henry Ford to get clean looks from distance. Chandler had 2 steals, several deflections and caused havoc from the wing. He also made good rotations on the backside, as he was able to block a shot and alter a few more. Turner covered a ton of ground when crashing the glass, as he dove from the perimeter to the paint for 8 rebounds. Love the all around game for the talented 6’5 wing in this game, as he finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block.
Best Rebounder: Devin Holmes (Renaissance)
Devin was a man possessed on the offensive boards, grabbing several in the first half to give his team extra possessions and control of the game. Holmes took advantage of smaller defenders in the paint and hit a pretty turnaround jumper on the baseline. In the second half he found McCaskill on the baseline for a few finishes after pushing the ball up the court. Devin also finished through contact at the rim a few times in the closing minutes to help seal the deal against Henry Ford.
Best Shooter: Deontae Ulmer (Henry Ford)
The Trojan senior guard was able to knock down two huge triples in the second half to tie the game and put the pressure on Renaissance, one coming from well beyond NBA range. Deontae also attacked the basket and converted in transition and has improved as a ballhandler. Ulmer has a beautiful shot, with a fluid release, good arch and nice rotation. Deontae is one of the best shooters in the state when his feet are set and small colleges at the NAIA/D3/JUCO that need a floor-spacer should be all over him.
Best Under-The Radar Prospect: Cortez Garland (Renaissance)
The 2018 guard is having a really good season after coming back from injury last year. Garland showed a versatile offensive game, knocking down a left wing triple after coming off a down screen before pulling up and nailing an elbow jumper after getting a step on his defender with a behind the back dribble a few minutes later. Cortez displayed nice vision on a few occasions as well, as he hit teammates with accurate dumpoffs after forcing helpside defense to cut off his driving lane. Solid performance from the 6’0 guard with 11 points and 3 assists, as his stock is rising and small colleges should definitely give him a hard look.
Best Glue Guy: Ahmeer Harris (Henry Ford)
Henry Ford is small team, and Harris’ defensive versatility helps out in a big way. Ahmeer defended 3 positions against Renaissance and held up well at each. His ability to switch onto guards or bigs in pick and roll situations is critical for coach Ken Flowers, as it allowed him to keep Renaissance within striking distance despite the size gap. Offensively, Harris does a bit of everything as well. Ahmeer attacked closeouts, was the playmaker at the free throw line area against the Phoenix 2-3 zone where he buried midrange jumpers and crashed the offensive glass.
Best Guy Off the Bench: Kristopher Garrett (Renaissance)
The bench was extremely limited for both teams in this game, with both coaches electing to ride their starters for the great majority of the game. With rest for starters at a premium, Garrett provided some quality minutes for coach Vito Brown at the guard spot. Kris was reliable as a ballhandler, finished his two shots at the rim and defended.
Renaissance Takeaway: Putting it Together
A season ago Renaissance dropped 9 games by single digits, with 7 of those losses by 5 points or less. The record may have been bad, but the team was extremely competitive with tons of young talent. Fast forward a year and Carrington McCaskill and Chandler Turner are now juniors with multiple Division I offers. Senior guard Cortez Garland is back from injury and playing well. With experience under the belt and legitimate talent at nearly every spot on the court, the Phoenix are starting to click this season. Winners of their past 7 games and 4-3 in games decided by single digits, Renaissance looks primed to be a contender in the Class A playoff picture. While depth may be a concern, the Phoenix have the size, skill, versatility and athleticism to beat any team in the state in a one game elimination tournament.
Henry Ford Takeaway: Pace and Space
Coach Ken Flowers doesn’t have a ton of size on his roster, but he has shooting and he knows how to use it. The Trojans have 4 legitimate sharpshooters on their roster that are capable of hitting multiple 3s in any given game. That makes for a tough assignment for the opposition, as a 2-3 zone is a standard defense at the high school level, but Henry Ford generally makes short work of that with their ability to simply shoot out of the zone. When the defense adjusts with a man-to-man, the Trojans turn to the ball-screen game where Anthony Roberts can finish at the rim or find teammates on kickouts once the helpside defense rotates. Its a fun brand of basketball that is heavy on skill, spacing and pushing tempo.