Posted On: 01/9/18 10:22 PM
The gym was packed. The crowd was loud. And for a quarter, it looked as if Ecorse was going to pull off an upset against River Rouge. However, the Panthers were able to outscore the Raiders 19-3 in the second quarter and never looked back, winning by a final score of 47-33. One of the biggest reasons Ecorse was unable to get back in the game was turnovers. The Raiders turned it over 18 times, leading to a ton of easy fast break points for River Rouge. Also, the ball wasn’t going in the basket. Kaleb Maddox had a great game, but outside of his play, Ecorse didn’t have a lot to be happy about. River Rouge remains undefeated and the loss was Ecorse’s first of the year.
Typically a player on the losing team doesn’t get the MVP award, but it would be tough not to give it to Maddox. Without him, Ecorse would have struggled to score the ball and probably lost by about 30 points. Maddox scored 16 points on 6-10 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. He was all over the floor and is quietly putting together a great season. He is a player to keep an eye on as the season rolls along.
In a defensive game, Freeman was able to find some openings and score 13 points on 5-5 shooting from the field. Nigel Colvin and Jayvien Torrance-Jackson didn’t have great shooting nights, but Freeman was there to pick up the slack. He was driving to the basket, finishing at the rim and knocking down shots from the outside. With Colvin and Torrance-Jackson usually stealing the show, it’s easy to forget about Freeman, but he’s just as lethal and shouldn’t be overlooked.
River Rouge is one of the better defensive teams that I’ve seen this season, and that is in large part due to these two. Toney and Torrance-Jackson combined for eight steals in this game and made life for the Ecorse guards very tough. The Raiders had 18 turnovers in the game and couldn’t find a rhythm on offense. The Panthers are a legit Class B title contender, and defense is the reason.
Like Freeman, it’s very easy to forget about Few, because he’s not going to score a ton of points. He had three against Ecorse. However, he made an impact in other areas, collecting 11 rebounds and blocking seven, yes, seven shots. It felt like every time Ecorse went inside, Few was there to reject or contest a shot. He is a difference maker that many people forget about.
Freeman was really the only underclassman that made a big impact on the game, scoring 13 points on perfect shooting from the floor. He was tough to guard all night long and hit the glass hard, grabbing five rebounds. This is Torrance-Jackson’s last season and Freeman could fill his role nicely next year.
As I mentioned before, Few was a beast on the glass, collecting 11 rebounds. He was also a candidate for best underclassman, as he’s only a junior, but Freeman was simply too dominate on offense throughout the game. If Few works on his post game, he could evolve into one of the most dominate big men in the Metro Detroit area.
Toney had a really great game against Ecorse, scoring nine points and coming away with five steals. However, his passing ability is what really stood out to me. His teammates always have to be alert when he has the ball because he sees the entire floor and finds the open guy. He’s great at leading the break, and when he has the ball, the Panthers are usually getting an easy bucket.
Neither bench made much of an impact in this game, but Norton was able to score four points on 2-4 shooting from the field, while also collecting two rebounds. The Panthers have a ton of depth and Norton is a great option off the bench. He’s only a junior and has a lot of room to grow.
Carroll didn’t get a lot of opportunities tonight, but he was able to show his shooting ability. He scored eight points on 3-5 shooting from the field, while also grabbing six rebounds. River Rouge did a good job of keeping him relatively quiet, but he was still able to get away and showcase his great shooting ability. If Ecorse wants to make a deep playoff run, Carroll needs to continue his hot shooting.
If you haven’t seen River Rouge play this year, I’d recommend it. Their defense is a thing of beauty to watch, as they play together as one unit. Everyone is in help defense and communicating, making it tough for opponents to score. According to River Rouge basketball’s Twitter, the Panthers are holding opponents to 33 points per game this year. They held Ecorse to 33 points and forced 18 turnovers. This team is legit and has a good chance to win the Class B title this year.