Posted On: 12/5/18 2:39 PM
Tuesday night there was a battle of two top teams in different classifications going at it. For 5A it was the state champs from last season opening up their season against Lincoln who is a Top-5 team in 4A. Grandview was victorious but there was more to this game. Here are five takeaways from the game.
Grandview still on top
The Wolves went into the season as the No.1 team of course with them being state champs but they played like it. They showed that they have a balanced attack of two of the best big men tandems in the state and there were also solid play from the guards as well. There was an initial push from Lincoln in which Grandview withstood with their guard play. Davon Walker knocked down open jump shots to begin the game, Tyler Unger also hit timely baskets, Lian Romero kept the pace and Grandview showed that they have what it takes to go up against solid guards. Grandview will be tested early but look like they have what it takes to remain amongst the top.
Grandview looked a bit different
I know that it was only the first game but Grandview looks like a completely different team than we are used to seeing and I think that is a good and bad thing. The good thing is it is a team that you cannot prepare for as they have the personnel to push the ball and have a free flow offense. They have solid inside-out play with great bigs; they can knock down outside shots and have the size to go up against any team in the state.
The bad, they did not look to have the same discipline that we are used to this team. Grandview was a team that rarely turned the ball over or took forced shots. With no shot clock and the access to unlimited passes showed patience and that patience on the offensive end slowed things down for the other team and it was their greatest strength. Teams were confused on switches, did not rotate well and were out of sorts and that caused mismatches each night out. It is going to be interesting to see how they come into their own as they get closer to conference play as I expect to see them switch between the two each game as they have one of the best coaches in the state in Michael Rogers. I’ll tell you from experience, do not turn the ball over with him coaching.
Big Men take over
For Lincoln, it has been the James Felton show to start the year. He is an athletic big that has the speed to get around the edge and into the interior of the defense. He also is a good ball handler which allows him to hang on the perimeter and either slash or penetrate. He is active on the boards and provides second chance points. Kwaheem Brown did not have a big game scoring but he does impact the game with his energy and movement. He is strong on the block and is a player you have to account for at all times. I’m sure he will use this game as a stepping stone moving forward.
Grandview won the game due to their big men. Dayne Prim showcased why he is one of the state’s best players and just stayed aggressive all night. He rebounds the ball well, has great footwork and I still believe the most underrated parts of his game is his defense. He gets placed on the team’s best player and stays with them regardless of position. He patrols the paint in the zone, is the team’s vocal leader and gets it done either with scoring or setting gup his teammates. Great first game for him. Alongside him was Caleb McGill who just might arguably be the best player in his respective class the only thing is – he doesn’t know it just yet. He gets up and down the court, catches it in transition and him and Prim both had dunks that changed the outcome of the game. McGill makes it difficult for the opposing team with his great size but he is also skilled enough to score when he wants. He has some of the best footwork in the post that often times goes unnoticed and is a force down low on both ends of the floor. Grandview will go as far as these two allow them to go.
Lincoln Guards are a different monster
When Lincoln comes together and gets back to the 4A level, watch out. Heading into the season this is who I picked to win the 4A title along with Lewis Palmer and I do not see that stand changing anytime soon despite them losing. What Lincoln has that will separate them is elite guard play. Jahuale Veazy runs the point and sees the floor well. He has to make sure he gets everyone involved and has to remain as the top facilitator on the team. Also will need to use his speed to start picking defenses apart as he did early on until that wavered. With Ty Foster knocking down shots he makes this team very difficult to beat as the Lancers can get inside of the paint and bang with anybody. He sees the floor well, controls the pace and has a very good feel for the game. TJ Bamba is also another guard with a high IQ that gets inside and gets whatever he wants. I hope he becomes more aggressive as the season goes along as he really will take this group to the next level. He uses his size to get to his spots and makes the defense play with his strong finishes. He had multiple and-one finishes in this game and it goes on to show how great this team could really be.
Highlight reels galore
This game was a highly anticipated game as both teams are capable of putting up high scores but it was the ability to dunk in transition and pick each other apart that I was most excited about and this game did not disappoint. There were multiple dunks that brought the crowd on its feet throughout the game by Unger, Prim, McGill, Bamba and Felton. Going forward I expect to see plenty more dunks from these units and watch as it sucks out the energy from opposing teams.