Posted On: 03/6/18 9:25 AM
As March begins to settle in, we have finally reached the Final Four in the VHSL 4A State Tournament. The quartet of Lake Taylor, Huguenot, Loudoun Valley, and John Handley, four squads with maybe the best talent the state has to offer, present two exciting semifinals match-ups to lead to the State Championship game. Here we will take a look at each individual team, it’s key players, and an overall analysis of strengths and weaknesses.
Lake Taylor Titans:
Head Coach: Kenny Brown
Key Players: Joe Bryant Jr., Jalen Jordan, & Dereon Seabron
Overall Analysis: The Lake Taylor Titans have the best record heading into the 4A State Tournament Final Four. With the senior trio of PG, & Norfolk St. commit, Joe Bryant Jr, SG, Jalen Jordan, and the Class 4A, Region A POY, Dereon Seabron, the Titans have only fallen once this season, a regular season loss to inner-city rival, Maury, a team who Lake Taylor defeated previously in the season. The Titans have won convincingly, beating opponents by an average of over 10ppg. With PG, Joe Bryant running the show, and providing the second tier of offense for the Titans most of the time behind Seabron, or SG, Jalen Jordan, who has also seen himself as the Titans leading scorer on multiple occasions, including a 38 point game in the VA Preps Classic, Lake Taylor has multiple forms of offense to get the job done. But an analysis of the Titans would not be complete with the mention of Dereon Seabron, the Region A POY. Seabron finished the season as the #2 leading scorer in the Hampton Roads area, averaging just over 22ppg. Seabron is the type of player that does whatever is needed in order for his Titans to get a win, whether it be on the offensive or defensive end. One of the top unsigned seniors in the state, Seabron’s recruitment has also started to heat up with his impressive season. The Titans will travel to the capital city, Richmond, to take on Huguenot at the Arthur Ashe Center later today. Tip off is scheduled for 6PM.
Head Coach: Ksaan Brown
Key Players: Lance Monterio Jr., DeShawn Ridley, & Eric Resten
Overall Analysis: First year head coach, Ksaan Brown has led the Huguenot Falcons to the 4A State Tournament Final Four. The Falcons have a trio of their own, in junior guard, Lance Monterio Jr., and seniors, DeShawn Ridley and 7-foot center, Eric Resten. Throughout the playoffs, each player has scored in double digits to lead the Falcons, who have suffered some close losses in the regular season, to the semifinal game. Monterio has the ability to score the ball at will, and with the Falcons defense, is often able to go on individual runs, to keep his team ahead, or get them back in a game. With the experience of seniors, Ridley, a forward who has a high basketball IQ, and ability to get the shots he wants, or senior, and 7footer, Eric Resten, the Falcons defensive general, who often anchors the defense with his shot blocking ability, the Falcons prove more than any team that defense leads to offense, a transition they have pretty much mastered. The Falcons will face probably their toughest game of the season, just 15 minutes down the road, with the Lake Taylor Titans, at the Arthur Ashe Center, @6PM.
Loudon Valley Vikings
Head Coach: Chad Dawson
Key Players: Jordan Miller, Jalen Williams, & Trent Dawson
Overall Analysis: The Loudon Valley Vikings, defending 4A State Champions, & the owners of a 57-4 record over the past two seasons, head into the 4A State Tournament Final Four ready as ever. 4A just might be the class of trios, with the Vikings being no different, in their trio of Jordan Miller, Jalen Williams, and Trent Dawson. Miller, the George Mason commit, and reigning 4A State POY, has not let up from last season, the senior has been the leading scorer for the Vikings since his sophomore season. With his ability to slash through the lane, a skill he has also possessed since then, Miller has improved his shooting ability, and is now able to provide offense from different levels of the court. Other senior, Jalen Williams, a 3point specialist, who set the school record for most 3s made in a game (10) earlier this season, provides another facet of offense for the Vikings, who are on average, beating teams by double digits. Sophomore, Trent Dawson, the commander and chief of the offense, in his PG position, shows poise that many sophomores just do not possess, and has led his team to this position, a position of being 2 more games from another state championship title. The Vikings will face Handley, the squad who they suffered a close lost to in the Region C championship. The winner will go on to the state championship game to face the winner of Lake Taylor/Huguenot. Game time is set to tip off at 7PM @ Shenandoah University.
John Handley Judges
Head Coach: Jason Toton
Key Players: Michael Brown & D’Andre James
Overall Analysis: If there is any squad that is more confident in their position in this 4A State Tournament Final Four, it is the Handley Judges. The Judges defeated reigning 4A State Champions, Loudon Valley in the Region C Championship, and have positioned themselves for a rematch, with hopes of knocking the champs off, and heading to the state championship game. The Judges are led by senior, Michael Brown, and two-sport athlete, D’Andre James. The Judges are a fast paced team, one of the quickest to be able to get the ball 94ft up the court and score, and this quickness has been an advantage they have over other teams. On the defensive end, Handley is known to cause “havoc” forcing double digit turnovers, and converting those turnovers into points. Handley got it’s revenge once over Loudon Valley, a team who beat them early in the season, but they beat in the Region C Championship, but here is where it matters, and the Judges look to come out with a win again, but it will not be easy against the defending state champions. The game will be held today, at 7PM @ Shenandoah University, with the winner going on to the state title game to face either Lake Taylor or Huguenot, and the losers season ending.