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Posted On: 03/14/18 1:54 PM
The 4A State tournament was filled with upsets according to rankings. However, the vast majority of basketball pundits expected a Shadow Mountain and Salpointe show down after the transfer of Evan Nelson.
While this game looked extremely unlikely due to the struggles of Salpointe, Salpointe found a way to click at the right time and get to the title game. Further, they did everything they could to win the game as they dominated the first 3 quarters. Luc Rosenblatt had one of the best games of his career.
However, it was not enough as Shadow Mountain was able to erase a nearly 20 point deficit in a matter of minutes due to the strong play of Jaelen House.
House’s heroics in the 4th quarter of the state championship win over Salpointe will most likely never be replicated. With 8 minutes to overcome an almost 20 point deficit, House found a way to create turnovers and score the basketball. His intensity, toughness, and competitive mentality were monumental to the tremendous tournament run that Shadow Mountain had.
Blacksher did not have his best game in the state championship. However, he is one of the top guards in the state and demonstrated that throughout the rest of the tournament. Blacksher provided Shadow Mountain with another one of the top defenders in the state who can create turnovers and easy transition buckets. Further, he has a great feel for the game, and he is one of the best passers in the state.
Allen’s ability to finish around the rim made him a game changer for Shadow Mountain. He was the recipient of a number of lob passes for dunks and lay-ups. The versatile wing is capable of creating and shooting from deep. However, he did a great job of providing Shadow Mountain with another top tier athlete who will play tough defense and moved well without the basketball.
In addition to Allen, Morrow added even more depth as an athletic wing who can score the basketball in an array of ways. With two guards who facilitate the game well in House and Blacksher, Morrow did not have to create for himself as much. Moving without the basketball and being in the right spot at the right time mixed with his strength, athleticism, and skill set enabled him to make a number of big time plays this season and in the tournament.
Salpointe entered the tournament as an #11 seed due in large part to the injuries of Deng and Nelson not being eligible for the first half of the season. However, Nelson was a game changer for the team during the season and in the tournament. It is safe to say that without Nelson on the floor, Salpointe does not find a way to make it to the state championship for the second year in a row. He has a great feel for the game and makes his teammates better.
Deng impacts the game in an array of ways due to his athleticism, skill set, and basketball IQ. His emergence throughout the tournament was vital to Salpointe navigating to the championship game. With Deng and Nelson back next year, it looks like Salpointe and Shadow Mountain could be poised for yet another state championship battle.