Posted On: 02/6/18 9:42 PM
This game was back and forth throughout the night, but Brandon Estrada was able to get a running floater to go with just eight seconds left to lift Carlson over Kennedy. Jaylan Franklin was the star of the night for Carlson, scoring 16 points, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking two shots. Savion Gray and Terohn Mathis combined for 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles.
This seems crazy to say given the fact that Carlson just beat Kennedy, but it was a one point loss and the Eagles were without arguably their best player, Renaudd Broaden, due to a hand injury. Carlson deserves all the credit in the world for winning this game, but if these two teams played again at full strength, Kennedy wins. Broaden is averaging 25 points six rebounds and four assists this season, which is a big loss for Kennedy. He will be back in action Friday, but Kennedy really needed him tonight. With the win, Carlson is in great position to win the Downriver League. If they beat Woodhaven next week, they win the league. It’s as simple as that. They beat the Warriors on the road earlier this year, and they are the better all-around team. Carlson also has a nice draw for districts, and they are my early pick to make it out of that district.
To win games against tough opponents on the road, everyone on the team needs to be involved. Carlson got big time production from its role players tonight, as Kyle Hesson knocked down two three pointers, Zayden Rinehart scored six points and grabbed four rebounds and Estrada scored five points including the game winning basket. Without these guys, Carlson doesn’t win this game. In fact, they aren’t even in the game. Tyler Koons struggled to score the ball, collecting only five points, but Franklin and the bench picked up the slack and led the Marauders to victory. They are a deep team that has the potential to make a deep run come playoff time.
I mentioned earlier that Koons struggled to score, and Mathis is the reason why. He was smothering Koons all game long, not allowing him to breathe. Carlson did everything they could to get him open. They ran him off screens, tried to backdoor him and gave him ball screens. Nothing was working. Mathis was flying around the court defensively and that really set the tone for what was a great game. Mathis wasn’t just great defensively, however. He led the Eagles in scoring, pouring in 13 points, seven of which came in the second half. He’s a true scorer that isn’t afraid of contact. He’s going to be a key player for Kennedy down the stretch.
This kid is a big time player. Against Carlson, Gray scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but wasn’t satisfied with the performance. I spoke with him after the game and he said, “I played terrible.” If a double-double is considered terrible by his standards, I’m curious to see what he considers great. This 11 point 11 rebound performance comes after he poured in 21 points and collected five rebounds against Wyandotte last week. As of right now, he hasn’t received any interest from college programs, but I expect that to change this summer. He’s a great rebounding guard that scores the ball very effectively.
The Marauders have two big men that can dominate any opponent. Franklin and Matt Harmon are rebounding machines that can step out and knock down outside shots with consistency. However, at times, they play outside a little too much. In the first half, Harmon and Franklin were dominating inside, as the duo scored seven points and grabbed 13 rebounds. They finished the game with 19 points, 24 rebounds and six blocks. Franklin knocked down two three pointers in the game, which is a shot Carlson is okay with him taking, but throughout the second half I saw him and Harmon standing outside the three point line and not posting up against a much smaller Kennedy team. The Eagles had a good gameplan for the two bigs, fronting both and bringing backside help, but that isn’t an excuse to go away from posting up. The Marauders have two of the best big men in the league, and posting them up more will put a lot of pressure on teams defensively.