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Posted On: 03/14/18 5:39 PM
Wednesday opened play in sunny Murfreesboro. Students, parents, and supporters shuffled their way in to The Murphy Center for Class AAA Quartfinal action. Every young man committed deeply to the enormous opportunity. These particular players paced then broke free from the pack.
An asterisk indicates the player’s team won.
By my count Kegler drew three different defenders in the opening half. Still he scored 14 points before the break. The significant Riverdale focus on one man is uncommon. A fantastically balanced defensive team, Riverdale’s focus on Kegler didn’t really work as it should.
Nobody dominated more Wednesday than Big James (15 points, 8 rebounds). Wiseman is an uncanny 6-foot-11 forward with beautifully soft touch. This season Wiseman started to unveil the necessary toughness and physicality and now the lefty is undeniably destined for greatness in this game.
Typically Malcolm Dandridge is overlooked amongst the high profile East Mustang team. Dandridge finished with seven points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. Both he and Wiseman forced Blackman players to pass on layups, despite their frequent penetration. The Blaze took 13 outside shots, but found themselves alone only around the arc. Singular safeguards like Dandridge stood firm under the basket and this helped East guards aggressively defend without fear of penalty.
Whitehaven is guard-driven. The ball pressure creates problems that opponent’s typically struggle to handle. Still Cameron scored 13 points with 3-6 free throws late. Jones (Jacksonville State signee) tucked away six steals too.
From the off-guard position, Desmond Billingsley recorded 11 points. Eight of his points came in the opening half and he gave little to the Panthers in the 22-point second stanza.
A wonderful on-ball pressure guard, Cross made it nearly impossible for Riverdale to run the intended offensive sets.
Unsigned guard Trenton Gibson gave the Blaze all the fire needed in the opening quarter against mammoth Memphis East. Gibson delivered energy and fight to the courageous underdogs. It was not enough. Blackman scored on 50.0% of their shots inside the arc. They just didn’t take many in the face of a college-sized NBA frontline.
The Warriors struggled mightily to score. Elijah Cobb gave seven points on 3-6 shooting. His defense early against Alec Kegler suggested Riverdale might compete all morning. Both of Cobb’s early blocks inspired his team. Unfortunately for Riverdale Kegler persisted. His 26 points easily ranked first for the day’s high tally.
Though the junior got too few touches Siren’s efficiency with the basketball impressed with eight points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. Siren’s footwork and lane awareness keeps improving as he physically and mentally matures.
Not only does the Wichita State signee regularly break pressure, Alex Lomax makes it a point of instantly breaking into the teeth of the defense. He has expert court vision and a willingness to make the exceptional pass.
What a sterling performance for the bouncy junior. Trent pounded the dunk home off a fantastic alley-oop from Roman Robinson. In all, Stephney both rattled Jordan Lockridge and poured in 19 points (8-15 FG’s).
Returning from an injured ankle, Drew Pember positively effected the basketball game. The junior scored 15 points, bocked two shots, and recorded eight rebounds. Pember’s length was disruptive for the Mt. Juliet Golden Bears.
It took awhile for Lockridge to filter in his points In the second half, Mt. Juliet’s starting point guard knocked down several three-pointers en route to a 13 point night.
Offensive and defensive contributions from Isaac Stephens placed Mt. Juliet in a position to win heading in to the fourth quarter. Thoguh Bearden pounded Mt. Juliet late, Stephens dumped in 14 points in 26 minutes. He did foul out, but managed to play with three or four fouls through three quarters.