Posted On: 03/6/18 2:34 AM
As Marsh Madness begins in Lake Charles, 48 teams are vying to be called state champions. Some of these teams and players will be making this trip for the first time while others will be returning for a second or third time. In Javonte’ Smart’s case, it will be his fourth time during his high school career. He was a difference maker his first year as Scotlandville won the state title in 2014-15. This year, there are difference makers on several teams that can help teams win a state title. Here on Prep Hoops LA, we will look at a few players that fit that mold.
Emaryeon McDonald / 5’11” Freshman / Red River – The Red River Bulldogs have the unenviable task of knocking off the juggernaut that is the Rayville Hornets on Thursday afternoon. To do that, Emaryeon McDonald has to have one of his best games of the season. The freshman sharpshooter with nice handles will have to drive, dish, and score in abundance to overthrow the uber-athletic Rayville team. Even though this is one of the more balanced Bulldog teams in resent history offensively, McDonald’s scoring and ball-handling will have to be near flawless to avoid being Rayville’s 32nd victim. If McDonald can do that, Red River has a legitimate chance on pulling the upset and going on to wining the state title.
Prince Campbell / 6’5″ Senior / Sophie B. Wright – Sophie B. Wright has been one of the best teams in the state this season. Their junior class led by Greg Hammond has the talent to play with anyone. However, to win a state title, they will need senior post Prince Campbell to be the most dominant big on the floor. In a December match up with semifinal opponent Peabody, Campbell outshined (Dwight) Simon and (Jamal) Hayward on both ends. His rebounds and offense are what helped Wright lead the majority of the game on the road. Unfortunately, Campbell also committed too many fouls and became ineffective towards the end. If Campbell can remain on the floor and continue his dominate play, Sophie B. Wright has a legitimate chance in beating Peabody and the winner Wossman and Madison Prep.
Jahein Spencer / 6’4″ Junior / Madison Prep – Madison Prep is the odds on favorite to win the 3A state title since Josh Leblanc is back in the lineup. However, Wossman, SBW, and Peabody figure to be stiff competition for them moving towards that goal. Because teams will be focusing on Leblanc and Kobe Julien, a third player will need to step up. Jahein Spencer would be that player. Jahein should be a match up issue because of his height and shooting ability. The remaining teams have enough size to negate Julien and Leblanc. That is why I think Spencer, especially if he is knocking down three pointers, will be a difference make in Madison Prep bringing home the title.
Kyron Gibson / 6’1″ Junior / Peabody – Kyron Gibson is probably the most important of these difference making players listed in this article because he does so much for Peabody’s team. He runs the point (at times), he shoots it from outside, and he plays high caliber defense. To win the 3A state title, all of these attributes will have to be on full display for Peabody. Gibson has already experienced guarding the ultra talented Greg Hammond and will probably be asked to guard Kobe Julien some should they meet Madison Prep. His defense will not be an issue. Providing that he has enough energy to score on the offense will be the key question to be answered. If Gibson can play stellar defense and be consistent offensively, Peabody’s chances to hoist another state championship trophy are well in their grasp.
Jalen Perkins / 6’6″ Senior / Walker – During the Walker live stream on Friday night, the commentators listed all of the schools that were interested in Jalen Perkins. At 6’6″ and with his athleticism, I could see why. At the end of the week, if state champion is added to his resume’, more schools will come. That also depends on his play. Friday, Perkins showed all of his talent and punished Southwood with it. Being Walker’s only real post threat, he will have to contend with the athletic and rangy wings of Natchitoches Central. If Walker bypasses them, Perkins will have to battle the big men of Landry-Walker or Ouachita. Simply put, he will be difference between Walker winning the inside battle or being dominated. One thing is for certain, if Walker wins the 5A state title, Perkins will be a difference making reason for their success.
Courtney Moore / 6’4″ Senior / Woodlawn (Shreveport) – Woodlawn has held their own offensively all season long led by the offensive prowess of Jalen Brooks and Tra’michael Moton. To win the 4A state title, they will need their big men to play well. That is where Courtney Moore comes in. He is an athletic and tough tweener who does plenty of dirty work. Moore usually has to defend the opposing teams biggest player. For the most part of the season, he has played well in that role. Woodlawn will need two games of not only his defending and rebounding, but his toughness as well. Moore is not afraid of doing the dirty work for his team. Coupling that dirty work with his ability to get out on the break and run the floor, Moore should make a big contribution during these next contest. If that is done, Woodlawn will hoist the first public school boys trophy in the Shreveport area since Fair Park in 2006.
There will be plenty of outstanding play and players that will shine during these championships. These players, and others, will look to make an impact on their team and their ability to win. We will look forward to bringing more information about these players, and others, as the state championships continue this week.