Posted On: 03/8/18 1:02 PM
Game 1 at Ypsilanti-Lincoln High School provided quite a show. Belleville cruised to a 19-9 first quarter lead behind 12 Gabe Brown points. The 2nd quarter started with two quick buckets by Connor Bush (2020, F, Belleville). Holding a 14 point lead, Belleville looked to be cruising to an easy win. Ypsilanti could have surrendered but instead, led by Bradeon Morgan (2018, G/F) and Spencer Robinson (2018, G/F), the showed resilience and heart. Triggered by an 8-2 run, Ypsilanti closed the halftime deficit to 7. The 3rd quarter saw Ypsilanti slow the game down and become more efficient offensively. Belleville was led by Davion William’s (2018, G) 8 3rd quarter points and a thunderous dunk by Kaevon Merriweather (2018, G). Belleville led 47-44 entering the final quarter. Belleville hit 7-8 early 4th quarter free throws to keep Ypsilanti at an arms length away. They held on for a hard fought 60-52 victory.
Game 2 started with a quick 6-0 Saline run. Monroe battled back behind the efforts of Joshua Laroy (2018, F) and Cole Chappell (2018, F), who supplied 4 points each. Griffin Yaklich (2020,G, Saline) took over in the 2nd quarter with 7 points and 2 assists off of pinpoint passes. Saline opened a 30-16 halftime lead. The two teams battled to a near draw in the 3rd quarter with Monroe cutting 1 point off the deficit. In typical Saline fashion they rode Yaklich, Trevor Arico (2020, G), and an intense defense in the 4th quarter. Saline pulled away from Monroe and took home a 57-40 win and a spot in the district championship game.
Saline needs a third scoring threat against Belleville.
As good as its defense is, the Hornets will need help on the offensive end against Belleville. Arico and Yaklich have carried the load offensively for much of the season. For Saline to become District Champions however, they’ll need another offensive weapon. Look for Emmett Turner (2018, F), Adam Heisler (2018, F), or Connor Terech (2019, F) to fill that void.
Belleville May be the most athletic team in Michigan.
Obviously Gabe Brown helps this argument. Their senior class is loaded with athletes featuring Devin Alverson, Davion Williams, Kaevon Merriweather, and Cameron Smiley. Don’t forget, Belleville has one of the best sophomores in the state in Connor Bush.
Ypsilanti has two very underrated prospects.
Josh Perkins (2018, 6-7, C) is a beast. He is so active on the glass and uses his size and strength to gain position. If I was a Division 2 coach, I would take a chance on this kid immediately. Braedon Morgan is even better than advertised. He’s a threat to score from anywhere and can create his own looks at the rim. He’s strong and athletic, and ready for college ball right now.
Monroe has a chance to develop as a program.
They are a team that is hungry for some success. There are some pieces in place though. Carson Delbin (2019) showed flashes at point guard while Jalen Johnson (2019, G) could develop into a leader. Dominic Puccetti (2019, F) has shown potential all season.
On Friday at 7PM at Ypsilanti-Lincoln High School, Belleville will face Saline for the District 26-A Championship. This will be a matchup between an offensive juggernaut in Belleville, and one of the top defenses in southeastern Michigan in Saline. Belleville has one of the most athletic teams in the state led by superstars Gabe Brown (2018, SF) and Davion Williams (2018, G). Both can create their own shots and score from anywhere on the court. Saline is led by their young backcourt featuring Griffin Yaklich (2020, G) who is excellent at getting in the lane and making plays for himself and his teammates, and Trevor Arico (2020,G) who is knock down shooter. Belleville will want to attack Saline early and build a quick lead. They need to open the floor and speed the game up in order for their athletes to take over. Saline needs to counter punch big plays by Belleville, especially early, to avoid giving up any big runs. If Saline can slow the pace and shorten the game, their defense can keep them in it.
Prediction: Belleville 63-45. Look for the game to come down to an early outburst and a run after halftime by Belleville.