Posted On: 02/23/18 5:00 AM
Start junior guard Brandon Lewis finished off a classic Toledo City League Championship game with a 3-pointer to win it as time expired. A one-point victory moved the Spartans record to 19-3 as they enter the OHSAA postseason.
Seconds after Rogers took a 48-46 lead byway of a Christian Smith layup, Start pushed in transition to find Lewis, who sent the crowd into a frenzy with his game-winning jumper.
— Anthony C. Garcia (@nthonyCgarcia) February 23, 2018
Rogers (9-12) actually outscored Start by six points in the final quarter and appeared to have total momentum before the last two minutes. However, Christian Smith’s 18 second half points weren’t quite enough to hold off their opponents.
After not watching a ton of Toledo City League ball this season, we learned a lot about the teams and players in the conference this week. Let’s review the action with a What We Learned recap.
The unsigned 6’6” senior wing still had most of his influence on the offensive end when it was all said and done. The smooth scorer dropped in 18 points in the second half and was a walking bucket in crunch time.
However, all week, Smith was communicating on help-side and rebounding at a high level. His ability to close-out on shooters was also impactful. He had a game-high eight rebounds Thursday night. His length and IQ allow him to impact the game on that end.
Smith had a 2.0 accumulative GPA when we interviewed him in the summer. He’s an outstanding recruit at the JUCO level if he goes that route. A coaching staff that can pull the dog out of him on a nightly basis could elevate Smith’s game to D-I quality.
The City League Champs go ten deep and head coach Matt Wortham can trust all of those kids to sell-out for 50-50 balls, play with maximum effort defensively, and share the ball. While they struggle with turnovers and outside shooting at times, the Spartans are simply a very good basketball team. It also helps when you have a reliable floor general in junior 5’11” point guard Devin Williams.
They have a rigorous postseason journey ahead of them in the Division I Toledo District, likely playing Whitmer in their first game on March 2. In order to make it to a Regional Final, they’d have to string wins together against Whitmer, St. Francis, Southview/Northview, and St. John’s. It’s unlikely, but nobody will have any fun playing against this stingy group.
The junior from Start is a prospect to watch going forward. He plays an efficient game at the point guard spot. A pesky and tireless defender, he often sneaks in for steals on the weak-side. Williams can shoot it off the dribble and has a body that can absorb contact at the rim. Quality athlete too. A total sleeper, Williams has NAIA potential.
Alex Perry, a 6’4” junior wing from Start, is a coach’s dream. The epitome of a glue guy, Perry rebounds at a high level and can push the break immediately. He sees the floor very well for a guy who lingers in the paint mostly. He can step out and shoot it a little bit. Perry is a mobile athlete capable of defending 2-4. He had five points, seven rebounds, and four assists against Rogers.
Adrian Michael routinely checks in the game to begin the second quarter; and on two consecutive nights, he carried the scoring load for the quarter. He shoots the ball with ease from deep and doesn’t force the issue as a primary ball handler. The 5’10” sophomore has the looks of a double-digit scorer for the next two seasons.