Booker T. Washington: Cream of the Crop at the Elite 14 Showcase

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Oklahoma

Posted On: 11/8/18 12:00 PM

Booker T Washington hoops, just a season removed from a loss to Edmond North in the 2017 State Championship, returns to 6A basketball for the 2018-2019 season after a year in 5A; It took a good first step Saturday at the Elite 14 Showcase in Wichita Falls, Texas.

The Hornets were without Bryce Thompson all day, who is recovering from a hand injury. Even with the absence of the best player in the Oklahoma 2020 class, BTW was still a problem all day for opposing defenses. Offensively, the BTW attack ran harmoniously against a few stiff and unforgiving defenses. It felt like there were two games going on simultaneously, occasionally crossing over into each others’ realms while taking turns with the ball: a dominant front-court and an uncatchable back-court. 

Back-court:

In BTW’s first matchup against Duncanville (TX,), Trey Phipps (2020 PG) showed up big time, scoring or assisting on 21 of its first 23 points. He was an explosive scorer, both from his shooting and getting into the lane, but was also a dominant floor general. All day, he gave opposing defenses fits, and has appeared to develop a more complete scoring attack since his sophomore year. Kamron Parker moved the ball up the floor very well against the Duncanville defense when it chose to press and had few errors. Michael McHenry was able to capitalize on Phipps’s dominant offensive outing, and was a reliable catch-and-shooter from the wing position

Front-court:

Seth Hurd and Jalen Breath combined for an inside tandem whose presence will be giving opposing bigs nightmares for a few nights. They backed down and physically overpowered defenders just as big as they are. Once they exhausted their ability to straight overpower, they shared the ball between one another on dump-offs and screened across. They have the potential to be one of the scariest high and low post combinations in 6A this season.

Defense:

BTW’s 2-3 zone was able to limit the size and athleticism of the opposing attackers, anchored on the blocks by Breath and Hurd. One thing I believed this defense did exceptionally was not sulking when they made mistakes, which tends to happen against great scorers. Even when they gave up a bucket or turned the ball over, they got back and played, minimizing the stature of their turnovers. I believe this will set them apart this season.

Verdict:

Throughout the day, all I could think while watching this team perform was “These guys look like they never left the gym. It’s like they started practicing the day after the State Championship last year.” Seeing what they were able to do against the fierce Texas competition, it will be interesting, to say the least, to see what they are able to achieve in 6A basketball this season.