Posted On: 12/7/20 9:13 PM

I watched four game Monday night.  These players made an impact or caught my eye in some demonstrable way. 

The Teams

Lenoir City

#1 PG Scory Correa (2021) – Scory spent a lifetime at the free throw line.  His on-ball defense was exceptional facing Sweetwater.  In one hectic stretch, Correa forced two turnovers all within the matter of 20 seconds.  He ripped one free and scored the layup.  On the next possession, Correa stole the inbounds, lost it, and then stole it back leading to another score.  His court awareness was wonderful.

#15 G David Ross – A dual-sport athlete, David Ross can and will put up points in a hurry.  Though Lenoir City gives a stolid defensive look, Ross helps them accumulate points en masse.  Along with Correa, he will carry the scoring burden on most nights.  Ross also played soccer last spring.

Sweetwater

#23 Clawed for offensive rebounds.  

#2 Austin Long (2021) – Best athlete.  Good lower body balance.  Needs slightly  better handle to really carve up defenses.  He can finish with either hand.  The speed is a plus and he can run downhill like an elite running back if he gets the corner.  

#35 Decent inside-out player. He can put the ball on the deck and did so against a feeble close-out attempt.  

 

Alcoa

#1 Ronald “Tank” Jackson (2021) – Brutish.  Quick and strong.  Jackson soared up the floor each time Alcoa forced a turnover.  He has a knack for reacting immediately to steals, whether or not they are created by him.  Jackson did not have anyone in the Grainger lineup with similar power.  For a better evaluation of Jackson, we will have to double back later in the season.

#2 Jahvin Carter (2024) – Strong chest as a freshman.  Carter plays with great confidence.  he can hit his shot from 12-18’ from the basket.  He knocked down back-to-back three pointers very early in the second half.  Facing Grainger, Carter’s glaring weakness was defensive intensity.  Keep in mind this was Jahvin’s very first high school basketball game.  Missouri offered Jahvin mid-November.  It was his first D1 offer.

#5 Tai CatesTaiCates5'10" | PGAlcoa | 2023StateTN (2023) –
Facing a slower team in Grainger, Cates completely obliterated the defense at large and the defenders specifically.  To be blunt, no opposing guard belonged on the same floor as Cates.  His decision-making is typically touted as his greatest asset and it showed again.  Cates made astute choices quickly against Grainger.

Cates put on some needed muscle in the off-season.  As he continues to improve and mature physically he will be able to use this newfound strength in the lane against bigger bodies.

 

Grainger

#1 Jaxon Williams (2022) – Aggressive.  He has decent quicks, but in many situations Monday night Jaxon took difficult shots.  His willingness, or perhaps the necessity arose, to take very difficult shots was concerning.  Perhaps he felt the need to take those shots because many of the Grainger teammates were smothered by defenders.  
#10 Tristan Warfield (2021) –
#13 Brody Grubb (2021) – 
#21 Logan Foster (2021) –
#24 Emmauel Atkins (2022) –
Struggled to keep up with the flow of the game.
#33 Tyler Overbay (2022) – Late in the third quarter, Tyler found a little window of success. Tyler is not a quick first-step guy.  He is crafty and apparently quite clever with the ball.  He needs to be to get into the lane against players as quick as Alcoa boasts.  

Cloudland

#3 Caleb Sluder (2022) – Sluder is sure-handed although not especially athletic or bouncy.  In a game of high pace, Sluder was at least steady and reliable with the pill.

 

Johnson County

#11 Ethan Bower (2021) – Handsy on defense.  Gambles a touch though he was often successful.  Quick feet.  Quick mind. Bower

#21 Jackson Earnhardt (2021) – Great penetrator.  Skilled.  Speedy.

#34 Trevor Gentry (2021) – Fast in the open floor.  He can handle and this makes him dangerous when matched against the oppositions forward or power forward. Gentry finished with 17 points and a general demoralizing of the Cloudland travel party.

 

C.P.A.

#3 Braden ZappBradenZapp5'9" | PGCPA | 2021StateTN – Zapp used his exceptional quickness to play all over the floor.  Loose balls not-so-accidentally found his hands.  Zapp displayed once again a magical comprehension of his role.  He knows what he is good and great at and what he cannot do as well.  This is the sign of a veteran player.  He uses his strengths against your weaknesses and does not let you use your strengths against him.  You will rarely see Braden sunk into the lane trying to stop a penetrator.  You will always see him near the three-point line attempting an uncontested three-pointer off the kick out.  Zapp is a better finisher in traffic than he once was.  He has an effective floater.

#33 Evan ShifletEvanShiflet6'3" | SGC.P.A. | 2022StateTNThere are few better defenders statewide than Evan.  He puts his chest in your way and slides his feet with purpose.  Elite defender.  Invested.  This C.P.A. team might be the best defensive team in years and Evan is a big reason for the success on that end.  Shiflet can handle well enough to be a lead point guard.  Zapp’s ability makes Shiflet a lovely redundancy. 

Zion Christian

 

Most Postseason Potential
1. C.P.A.
2. Alcoa
3. Johnson County
4. Sweetwater
5. Lenoir City
6. Grainger
7. Cloudland
8. Zion Christian

Analysis: Johnson County features a wonderfully-balanced team.  They can make some damage in 1AA.  Without great players C.P.A. is always competitive in the postseason.  This year they have great high school players.  Expect a strong showing deep into the postseason.