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Posted On: 05/27/18 7:06 PM
The #2 AAU team in Tennessee, Team Thad 16u faced a scare from EAB 16u (#6 in Tennessee) Sunday evening in Marietta, Georgia. Thanks to two clutch free throws and an unforced EAB turnover in the final seconds, Team Thad 16u won 72-69 to remain unbeaten all summer.
Five themes emerged from the encounter.
Two Team Thad 16u talents (Markeston Douglas, Rodney Mason) missed front ends. The misses welcomed EAB to the party. In fact, EAB trailed by a single point with about 20 seconds remaining.
Sprinting up the floor John Valdez delivered a two-hand chest pass to Mason McKnatt. Mason’s jump and the pass never met. It floated just above his outstretched hands.
Marvin Hughes (PrepHoopsTN #5) put the game away with two free throws.
The EAB charge fell just short. Though they proved they are capable of playing with the best in Tennessee, Team Thad 16u moved on after Marvin’s perfectly timed free throw makes.
Tariq Daughton (PrepHoopsTN #56) darted in to the lane against an amped Team Thad squad. Tariq slipped in deep and changed hands mid-air. With a gorgeous off-hand scooped layup Daughton earned an and1 opportunity.
Daughton finished with 19 points. Able to rise to the occasion, Tariq smoothly scored in traffic.
Quickness with the ball and bravery in traffic emerged as Daughton’s defining characteristics.
Dusty Williams (PrepHoopsTN #20) dropped a four-point play on their heads. Williams looked a little timid early as he poked and prodded at the handsy Team Thad defense. Williams’ outside shooting kept the Thad men slightly unhinged.
Eventually Dusty Williams needs to be a more confident, quick slasher against elite defenders. Playing in high school this past winter Dusty easily burst by middle Tennessee guards. Frankly, the Memphis guards tend to be two steps quicker and Dusty will be competing against guards of their ilk beyond high school.
Late in the first half Dusty gave a flash of what he can be. His dash to the tin startled the perimeter committed Thad wings. He used his body to keep the scoring hand away from the swatting defender.
J.J. Platt (PrepHoopsTN #35) displayed no fear in the premiere matchup. Platt was the one EAB player that constantly found his way in to the lane. Though the Team Thad team typically altered his shots, Platt earned his way to the free throw line. Another encouraging aspect to Platt’s play Sunday evening was the escapability. Platt showed special court awareness in the face of a swarming defense.
AAU coaches routinely get a bad rap, but EAB 16u coaches quickly solved a glaring problem. Team Thad 16u infused their 2-2-1 fullcourt zone with fury early. The EAB guards clearly had no idea how to beat the first two players via the dribble. After two quick turnovers EAB 16u took a timeout. The coach immediately sent three recipients to meet the ball, splitting the two-man defense apart. The minor yet integral alteration was delivered and implemented flawlessly.