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Posted On: 11/29/18 9:10 PM
Ardmore (5A No. 9) took on Heritage Hall (4A No. 2) Thursday night in Midwest City as part of a two-day hoops festival at Carl Albert High School. The Chargers were able to come out with the 76-64 win over the Tigers. I was able to catch the game and observe two top-tier teams; one rural, one urban. After evaluating one of the better games of the young 2018-19 season, these are my ten superlatives to dish out from the pool of players from both teams.
Best scorer — Trey Alexander
It’s no secret at this point that Trey Alexander is one of the most physically dominating players in Oklahoma. I wasn’t prepared, however, for his 36-point performance against Ardmore Thursday evening. He was almost unstoppable at the basket, whether it be from driving into traffic or grabbing rebounds. When Ardmore finally had to resort to just hacking him, he went ahead and picked up his two points from the charity stripe while forcing Ardmore into foul trouble in the meantime.
Best rebounder — Trey Alexander
The Chargers’ rebounding dominance was headed by — you guessed it — Trey Alexander. Alexander’s height, combined with his capacity to explode across the lane was a tool at Heritage Hall’s disposal all night. His rebounding presence is rooted in pure athleticism, along with some tangible gifts. Offensive rebounding played a big part in his scoring exhibition.
Best wing — Will McDonald
Our staff has mentioned Will McDonald’s name on a few occasions in the young 2018-19 season, but don’t expect that to stop anytime soon. The Arkansas golf commit has been phenomenal for the Chargers. Thursday night was no exception as he dropped 19 points and was the second-leading scorer on the floor, tied with Ardmore’s EJ Cohee. He makes smart plays, throws great passes, and has an unbelievable chemistry with this team. On any scoring play for the Chargers, it’s rare if the ball doesn’t pass through McDonald’s hands when he’s on the floor.
Best play — Trey Alexander to Ethan Creamer
In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Alexander found himself recovering a loose ball poked out by his Charger teammates. With three-fourths of the court and a five some of Ardmore defenders between him and the goal, he heaved the ball up the floor to a closing Ethan Creamer, seamlessly throwing the pass into traffic and meeting Creamer in stride. Creamer finished the bucket to give the Chargers a 24-point lead entering the fourth.
Best off-the-dribble shooter — EJ Cohee
EJ Cohee, who led the Tigers in scoring with 19 points, was instrumental in the tigers staying close with The Hall. Cohee hit a few 3-pointers off back and side-steps and looked well practice taking shots off of a dribble. Cohee also activated a quicker release as the night drew on, but maintained his mechanics in the process. His impact in the shooting game will be big for Ardmore going forward.
Best player under 6-foot — Jack Spanier
Jack Spanier played fast and a little less conservative than some of his Charger teammates were, but it worked out for him. Finishing with 9 points, his shot selections were good and he was consistent. More importantly, he served as the swingman from the point and had a big impact by getting the ball into other players’ hands before the defense could align itself.
Best role player — River Mitchell
River Mitchell does most things pretty well. The forward was getting blocks and steals on one end as well as making heads-up offensive plays on the other side of the floor. His presence makes his teammates all-the-more able to find open shots around the perimeter.
Sneakiest defender— Ethan Creamer
Ethan Creamer was making plays happen all night, but what caught my eye was his propensity to swipe at ball-handlers in unassuming moments, especially when a Charger teammate was guarding those players. He caused issues by taking advantage of the opposing guards’ shifted focus.
Best finisher — Elijah Franks
Elijah Franks was a beast at getting inside scoring opportunities and maneuvering his way through traffic on his way there. He’s a good ball-handler who has a golf bag full of crafty moves, engaging both of his hands oftentimes to pick up a bucket. Franks also has a knack for drawing fouls but finishing the basket on the way there.
Most blaring observation — Heritage Hall chemistry
Trey Alexander’s dominance is a result of his ability to do everything on the floor. He has guard-like vision, lines up at the wing, moves like a forward, and rebounds like a post. However, everybody on this team has their fair share of talents. Everybody does at least one thing very well. This team, with Alexander’s floor vision, is able to utilize each player’s abilities to full capacity, or at least close to it. They swing the ball quicker than most teams you’ll see, and they’ll go far because of it. I don’t believe they were so much more physically dominant than Ardmore, as much as they were just so much more in tune with each other and knew where one another was, as well as his role.