Prep Hoops 10 Best: Bloomington vs. Richwoods

High School
Illinois

Posted On: 01/9/19 12:21 PM

Bloomington held an early lead with strong play from Southern Illinois recruit Chris Payton (2019) but Richwoods battled and continued to outplay the Raiders in an upset.

The Knights (12-4) were coming off a consolation championship at the Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament and used that momentum for an 81-72 win over seventh-ranked (AP Class 4A) Bloomington (12-5).

This is the best game I've seen Richwoods play in three years against quality competition, and the Knights did it without senior forward Jaydion Davis, who is out indefinitely with an undisclosed foot injury.

Let's take a look at the best things from Tuesday's Big 12 meeting with the best lines from the game to close out.

Game Thread

https://twitter.com/Sports_Aaron/status/1082813345311408128

1. MVP

Cortez Mosley (Richwoods 2019, G, 6-foot-4) - 27 points (8-13/1-1/10-12), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal

Mosley is remarkably better since transferring to Richwoods. His previous two seasons at Peoria High saw him as one of the top players in the city but he lacked an outside shot and ball-handling skills. In several games this season he has improved both areas. He is best when he's attacking downhill but his 3-point stroke looks better and makes defenders respect him out there.

One critique is he needs to become even more skilled as a ball-handler and show the ability to play on the perimeter off the ball, which he has at times. His game will translate well to the next level (he has an offer from Northern Illinois) but will likely go to a junior college before advancing to a four-year institution.

2. Play of the game

Chris Payton (Bloomington 2019, F, 6-foot-7) 

Payton hosted a block party which created transition opportunities for Bloomington with good outlet passing. In the second quarter, Payton blocked a shot and grabbed the rebound in one motion, dribbled coast-to-coast by three defenders and finished with a reverse layup off the glass.

3. Best offensive performance

Nate Duckworth (Bloomington 2019, G, 6-foot)

[caption id="attachment_638010" align="alignright" width="300"] Nate Duckworth[/caption]

Duckworth is a skilled point guard and has improved each year but it was efficient shooting that stood out. As Payton faded offensively in the fourth, Duckworth stepped up by going 2-for-3 from 3-point range and hitting all four of his free-throw attempts. He scored 10 of his 18 points in the quarter. Overall he was 4-for-6 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

4. Best defensive performance

Donzell Johnson (Bloomington 2019, G, 6-foot-2)

Johnson fouled out of this game but not for a lack of effort. He drew the assignment of shutting down Mosley in the second half, and he did. Bloomington opened the second half in a box-and-1, which took Mosley's aggressiveness offensively away, even when the Raiders went back to man-to-man. Johnson was attached to Mosley's hip and took him out of the game.

It wasn't until Johnson fouled out that Mosley scored his first second half basket near the 2-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Mosley was 1-for-3 from the field in the second half, all coming in the fourth quarter, but did go 6-for-7 from the free throw line.

5. Best guy off the bench

Khalel Danage (Richwoods 2020, G, 6-foot-3) 

Danage was impressive at the underclass levels the last two years and probably could've been on varsity earlier. He is skilled offensively and adds another element on the perimeter as a sixth man. He showcased all of his skills in this contest and was a big part of the upset.

Danage can operate with the ball in his hands but is a good two-guard that can move without the ball slashing through the lane and as a spot-up shooter. He also stepped into an open 3-pointer. He was comfortable attacking against Payton, which speaks to his confidence.

Defensively, Danage reads offenses well and puts himself in good position to get deflections defensively and has the athleticism and wingspan to block shots.

6. Best intangibles

Chris Payton

The game comes easy to Payton and it shows. He communicates with teammates on the court and explains things during a dead ball when a play goes wrong. Admittedly, he didn't showcase the same motor he had last season. If he did, that would lift his game to another level combined with the talent and smoothness he plays with, which would make him a serious Mr. Basketball candidate.

7. Best under-the-radar performance

Caleb Donaldson (Bloomington 2019, G, 6-foot-5)

Donaldson is the glue that holds Bloomington together at times. He can elevate his game to aid the Raiders on both ends of the court. He scored a quiet 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting while going 3-for-5 in the second half. He played well off the ball and defensively despite having a great statistical output.

8. Best underclassman

Isaiah Donnell (Richwoods, 2021, G, 6-foot-2)

[caption id="attachment_560598" align="alignright" width="300"] Isaiah Donnell[/caption]

It's frustrating that Donnell doesn't look to score more as a compliment to his forwards the past season-and-a-half. Tuesday he showcased why he should look for his shot. He was 6-for-9 from the floor but when Mosley disappeared offensively in the second half, he was 5-for-7, scoring 15 of his 17 points in the second half.

Donnell looks to drive and will go to his left (off-hand) on the drive. He is quick and long enough to get into the paint and play through contact. He knocked down all four foul shots, too. Bloomington dared him to shoot from the perimeter, where he was 1-for-2 and did enough to make the Raiders respect his ability. Though that's an area he needs to improve upon.

As a point guard, Donnell sees the floor well and shows he's a cerebral player. Defensively he has good quickness to stay in front of his man but does get beat. He pulled down four rebounds and had two steals.

9. Best moment of the game

Earlier we had the play of the game but here is the best moment of the game. Sitting at the scorer's table provides highlights that don't occur in the game, and Tuesday provided a great opportunity for an opposing coach to give life advice someone playing against him.

Raiders coach Michael Mosley had a conversation with his cousin, Cortez Mosley, during a dead ball in the second quarter. It had nothing to do with basketball but to clean up his language, which is often flying on the court. The Mosley cousins shared a smile before play resumed.

10. Best environment

It wasn't a traditional environment for a high-level basketball game. Parents were into it, but there were no traditional student sections. The esteemed Dave Kindred once told me, "you'll see something at every game that you have never seen before. Write about that." So here we are.

[caption id="attachment_639385" align="alignright" width="300"] Richwoods rolled out a disco ball during pregame introductions.[/caption]

During pregame introductions, Richwoods rolled out a disco ball and shined a flashlight on it as the Knights were introduced. I haven't seen this at a Richwoods game before, but it was unique and interesting and created a cool element before the game.

Lines of the night

Bloomington

Chris Payton - 22 points (7-14/0-1/8-10), 8 rebounds, 6 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal
Nate Duckworth - 18 points (4-6/1-3/8-10), 1 assist, 1 rebound
Caleb Donaldson - 13 points (5-9/0-2/3-5), 2 rebounds, 1 assist

Richwoods

Cortez Mosley - 27 points (8-13/1-1/10-12), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
Khalel Danage - 19 points (6-11/2-3/5-8), 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks
Isaiah Donnell - 17 points (6-9/1-2/4-4), 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist