District Title Game: MLK-Stratford

High School
Tennessee

Posted On: 02/20/18 9:43 PM

Senior Jahari Reed encapsulated the final Stratford run.

“Big time players make big time plays,” said Jahari Reed after his Stratford Spartans captured the District 10 AA Championship, 65-62.

Tied 55-55 at 3:30 remaining, Stratford managed the conversions when it counted.  Reed hit two enormous three-pointers down the stretch on the way to winning District 10 AA Tournament MVP.

Five themes emerged.

The Wallace Factor

Mike Wallace dominated the backboard.  He pulled down nine first half rebounds and finished with an astonishing 20 rebounds.

Two other key games (@ East Nashville, vs. Whites Creek), Wallace missed the entire first half with foul trouble. Tonight Wallace showed how monstrous he can be when playing.  The forward gets off the floor as well as anybody in the district.  Better yet he is just about as strong as anybody in the district.

Glass work

Stratford pummeled the undersized Royals on the glass.  Beyond Wallace’s exploits, the Spartans collected 60 rebounds to MLK’s 24!

It was not even close to a fair fight on the glass.  According to MLK Head Coach Caden Anderson, “we have to do better boxing out.”

Execution

MLK ran plays with crisp movement off the ball.  Screens were on time and passes hit the correct recipient at the right time.  The Royals really ran a wonderful offense all night.

MLK Head Coach Caden Anderson knows how to scheme and how to gameplan.  Once again he put a great team on the ropes.  Just a few days after knocking off an undefeated East Nashville unit, MLK lead by nine points several times in the first half.

Whistle while you work

The refs played great games.  They did make a lot of calls, but almost all looked correct.

Mike McLary picked up his third foul with 4:05 left in the third quarter.  The point guard was whistled for an illegal screen.  It limited his minutes.

Jahari Reed collected his second foul in the second quarter.  He sat much of the quarter.  Reed earned his third foul late in the third quarter and sat again.   Reed is the heart of the team and his presence on the floor matters significantly.

Desmond Davis (MLK) missed much of the second quarter with foul trouble.

Kevonte Boyd missed some first half minutes with foul trouble.

Final Push

You can watch the final three minutes in their entirety here: https://www.pscp.tv/w/1ypKdmzqgrdGW

Stats

Dealing with Adversity

Midway through the third quarter MLK needed to compete with a vicious Stratford scoring run.  They quelled the run momentarily with a timeout.

The Royals even clawed their way back into the fight.  In the fourth quarter, either team was positioned to win.

Despite the enormity of the moment, Mason Wilson clattered in an astonishing halfcourt heave.

Screendoor

For a team that sets many screens, MLK suffered a dubious fate.  They fouled, at a minimum, four times while screening. You don’t take the screen out of your offense.  MLK just needed to stay still and hold their ground when setting the critical pick.     Desmond Davis hit a worldclass pull-up jumper to temporarily quiet the Stratford-heavy crowd.  Noticing a change in the wind, MLK Head Coach Caden Anderson inserted McClary back in the game.   McClary rebounded a free throw miss instantly.

When McClary was on the floor the team simply played better basketball.

The 10 AA seeds will be:

  1. Stratford
  2. MLK
  3. East Nashville
  4. Whites Creek