An excellent spring and summer of the Prep Hoops Circuit reaches its’ conclusion this weekend with teams from all over the country making the trip to their respective sites for regional championship play. The Grind Region Finals tipped off Friday afternoon in Wichita, Kansas with opening round play followed by an exciting nightcap featuring both a 3-Point and Slam Dunk contest. Several teams from Missouri have plans of making noise and were on display today. Here is a recap of how they fared:
Victory Ministry Blue Falls Just Short of Upset Opening Round Win:
Victory Ministry Blue came into this afternoon as the 38 seed set to face Team F.O.E 17U who was seeded 27th. Team F.O.E proved to be a stingy, aggressive defensive group that could force turnovers and really fly down the floor and create in transition. Despite having a lead and a bit of breathing room throughout the game, F.O.E had a hard time putting Victory Ministry away. In fact, after trailing by double-figures in the closing minutes, Victory Ministry cut their deficit to 61-58 and had a good look that fell just short of tying the game at the buzzer.
Team F.O.E was led by athletic wing Justice Marmara, who had a pair of breakaway slams, and guard Donerio Davenport. They finished with a dozen a piece.
Victory Ministry Blue was paced by physical point guard Terrell Kabala who finished with a game high 23 points. He showed off his full arsenal in the contest, knocking down 3 three-pointers and slashing his way to the rim finishing with contact. He’s a tenacious defender and a force on the glass both offensively and defensively. A highly coveted football recruit, Kabala is starting to reel in the hardwood offers as well. His back-court mate Drew Wheeler pitched in 16. He is a dead-eye three point shooter that also has some craft to his handle and can get to the cup. Other prospects for Victory Ministry Blue who showed flashes of promise included hot shooting Joplin guard Tommy Hafer, high-motored dimer Marus Huntley, and spark-plug stretch forward Isaac Meeks.
Missouri Flight Blue Opens Up With Impressive Statement Victory:
Missouri Flight Blue came into their opening round match-up with Arkansas Heat Elite as a heavy favorite and as the 9 seed are a dark-horse candidate to make a run towards the Final Four. They hit the ground running right from the tip and cruised to an emphatic 80-29 victory. which allowed them to use their full roster for quality minutes and display the kind of depth and balance that makes them a dangerous team moving forward.
Electric guard Maurice Grayer led the way with 15 points and left his mark all over the game. He’s a very quick, athletic combo-guard that can distribute, slash and finish at the rim, shoot the jumper, and fly in transition. He was very aggressive on the glass and had an impressive chase-down block, showing high energy and high motor throughout. Daniel Abreu is the glue to the group and continues to elevate his stock. He has added strength and size since I’ve seen him last and is showing a lot of confidence with his outside shot. Add in his instinctive nose for the ball and smooth operating around the rim and he is nearly an impossible guard for opponents. He finished with a dozen in limited action.
Missouri Flight is loaded with quality depth. Dontae Taylor is one of the better dimers on the circuit and has shown the ability this summer to play off the ball effectively as well. He is an excellent defender and a high IQ player who moves and reads very well on and off the ball in the half-court. David Oplotnik does the dirty work. He has an impressive wingspan and a nose for the ball that makes him a force on the offensive glass. He seemed to clean up every miss in this afternoons game. Tyler Campbell made a huge impact without scoring a single point. He’s a hard-nosed, fundamentally sound point guard that handles the rock with poise and does a great job of setting up his teammates and feeding assists. Lowry and McIntyre add a pair of dangerous outside threats and the combo of Simmerman and Thouverot give Flight a pair of active and solid 6’8 forwards to protect the rim and control the glass. Keep an eye on this squad as the weekend progresses.
All Missouri Attack Upsets Boykins Basketball Academy to Advance to Round of 32:
In 16U action, All Missouri Attack (39) used an aggressive approach on both ends of the floor to overwhelm and knock off a talented Boykins Basketball Academy (26) by a final score of 71-51. Despite being undersized at most positions, All Missouri Attack lived up to the name on their jerseys and were in attack mode from tip to final horn. They forced numerous turnovers, ran the floor hard, and all five players on the floor looked to score aggressively on every touch.
All Missouri Attack was led by Bradyn Porter, who finished with 25 points and five made three-pointers. He was automatic from beyond the arc, and when BBA closed hard on the shot he showed the ability to put it on the floor and get to the rack. Bode Abraham set the tone right away, burying a three on the opening possession then immediately stealing the inbounds for a quick lay-up. He finished with 11 points. Eli Cook pitched in double figures himself. The slashing guard showed off some flashy moves including a no-look euro-step finish in transition that may have been the play of the game. Liam O’Reilly and Brady Ward are two more capable scorers for All Missouri Attack that give them a balanced a dangerous squad. If they are able to force turnovers at a similar rate and continue to hit threes at a similar clip, they could pull off an even larger upset tomorrow.