Posted On: 11/29/18 10:19 AM
CARROLLTON 64, REESE 61
Carrollton head coach Brent Cork was happy to abide by the rules on Tuesday night – though it was just one rule that left everyone else at Reese High School scratching their heads.
Up by two points, six seconds on the clock and the ball in Reese’s hand, Carrollton’s Isaiah Delgado was called for a blocking foul that sent everyone in attendance into a frenzy. The foul was not only Delgado’s fifth of the night, it also left Reese’s Isaac Johnson on the floor in pain. Not long after, officials brought Rockets head coach Brian Kern onto the court to check on the junior guard.
With both teams in the double bonus and Johnson heading for the bench, the officials broke their huddle in need of a shooter. That’s when they turned to Coach Cork.
By rule, after an injury timeout, Johnson had to exit the game and it was up to Carrolton’s coach to select a shooter from the Reese bench.
Cork made his selection, both free-throws were missed and just six seconds later, the Cavaliers were on their way home with a victory.
“It’s great to get a win on the road and start the season off on a positive note. We are a really young team, but I think we grew up a lot tonight,” Cork said. “I’m definitely excited about watching our guys play and grow this year. If we can just fine-tune a few things as the season goes on, I think we can be a really good team.”
UPDATE – 11/29/18, 9:35 PM: According to Reese head coach Brian Kern, the officiating crew apologized to him and his staff following the game, admitting they had made the incorrect call.
MVP: DJ Voltz – Carrollton (2022)
In what was an otherwise balanced-attack, Voltz led the Cavalier offense with 18 points. But, it was the way he went about it that earned him the game’s MVP honors.
After trailing Reese by five at the half, Voltz turned up the heat in a number of ways. He hit mid-range jumpers, got up floaters in traffic and even used his lengthy frame to disrupt Reese’s offense. In the fourth quarter Voltz also used his smooth strides to get into the paint with ease. And while down there, if he wasn’t scoring himself, he was dropping the ball off to Delgado, who also had a solid game for Carrollton.
Best Offensive Performance: Gabe Robinson – Reese (2019)
Robinson can flat out shoot the ball and he proved it in the Rockets season-opener by tallying a game-high 27 points. One of his most impressive buckets of the night came with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter when he hit an NBA-range three, with two defenders in his face, to put Reese up by two.
But shooting isn’t all he does. Robinson made his way into the paint and drew heavy Carrollton contact on multiple occasions, proving there’s some toughness behind his slender frame. He also hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds. After the game, with coaches in attendance, Robinson verbally committed to the University of Michigan Dearborn.
Best Defensive Performance: Anthony Thomas – Carrollton (2019)
His quick hands and in-your-face nature caused him to get in foul trouble early on, but Thomas was very impressive in the first game of his senior season. On several straight Reese possessions in the first quarter, it was Thomas who picked on the Rocket guards, swarming them deep past the arc which often led to easy buckets within the Cavaliers fast-break offense.
Thomas also takes home the award for best shoes of the night, sporting his all-red “Win like ’96” Jordan 11’s to match Carrollton’s red road uni’s.
Best Intangibles: Isaiah Delgado – Carrollton (2019)
Delgado holds the Cavaliers together and, at times, slows this overall fast-paced team down – in a good way. The senior-big man has a soft touch on the block, solid footwork and he rebounds extremely well. He also isn’t afraid to hit the floor for a loose ball or pick-up a teammate in need. But it was his ability to body up his defenders and give the Cavaliers a different phase to their offense that stood out the most when he was on the floor.
Delgado finished the night with 15 points.
Best Underclassman and Best Player off the Bench: Tanner TerBush – Reese (2022)
TerBush got the attention of both fans and defenders as soon as stepped on to the floor for his varsity debut. He’s currently one of three freshman on Reese’s roster, but it’s classmates Damarquiss Palmreuter and Jake Rau who currently hold spots in the Rockets starting lineup.
Locals first learned of TerBush’s talents when he was in middle school. But after a few minutes of running wild and shaking off the first-game jitters, TerBush settled in and proved to others he was born to run the point at the varsity level. With a handful of dazzling passes throughout the night and his ability to create for his teammates, TerBush’s court-vision was anything but freshman-level. As the season progresses and the game slows down for TerBush, it’s easy to see how he could finish the year as one of the best underclassmen in the Mid-Michigan area.
It will also be interesting to see how Kern handles juggles his freshman class moving forward. TerBush could easily earn a spot within the Rockets starting five by the halfway point of the season. However, having a spark plug like TerBush come off the bench is a luxury that not many high school teams have.
Play of the Game
Just minutes into the second quarter TerBush showed just how comfortable he was as Reese’s point guard. After a crossover and a quick first step, the freshman found Bryce Brechtelsbauer (2020) on the block with a no-look pass that that turned into an and-one opportunity for the Rockets.
Honorable Mention goes to Robinson’s clutch three-pointer late in the fourth quarter from well beyond the arc. Although Reese eventually fell short, the timing and difficulty of the shot proved to be one of the night’s few jaw-dropping moments.
Names You Should Know
For Carrollton, that player is Jovant’e Jones-Buckner (2021). His frame nearly mirrors that of teammate DJ Voltz and his skillset isn’t far behind. As one of the first players off the Cavaliers bench, the shifty Jones-Buckner definitely earned his minutes with a trio of big buckets in the fourth quarter. He should see his playing time increase as the season moves along.
For Reese, it’s Isaac Johnson (2020) and Bryce Brechtelsbauer. Johnson tallied a quiet eight points and six assists, showing Reese fans glimpses of what could be a solid one-two offensive punch alongside Robinson. But when Robinson is away from the floor, Johnson will have to shoulder the Rockets scoring load, which will be something to keep an eye on as the season rolls on. Brechtelsbauer has the potential to be to Reese what Delgado is to Carrollton. As the Rockets muscle, the big-man works hard in the paint on both ends of the floor by hauling in rebounds and hitting the floor for those 50/50 balls.
Storylines to Watch
A focus for Carrollton moving forward will be finding an identity offensively. Their scrappiness on defense allowed the Cavs to run the floor and get buckets in transition, early and often. Carrollton’s overall talent prevailed in the end, but when slowed down, their offense had a tendency to get chaotic. Utilizing a player like Delgado in the half-court could be huge for them moving forward.
Reese will run through Robinson. But, if their three freshman can contribute and continue to get better as the season progresses, it could create a very interesting fold in the Rockets playbook. Reese fans could be in for a treat if these young talents end up playing a big part in the Rockets run at Greater Thumb Conference West Championship.
Quote of the Night: Carrollton head coach Brent Cork on selecting Reese’s free throw shooter in the final seconds
“I knew the rule and I knew that I was going to have to pick somebody (to shoot the free-throw). But I’ve only seen that kind of thing on TV, I’ve never had it happen to me personally. I definitely tried to find the guy on their bench that was looking away from me the most,” Cork said laughingly. “That’s a tough situation for that young man, but fortunately for us this time, it worked out in our favor.”