Top Performers: Inaugural Prep Hoops Sun Bash
The inaugural Prep Hoops Sun Bash took place at Carrollwood Day School on Jan. 5-6.
Friday night three games were played while 10 matchups were held on Saturday.
Here is a team-by-team breakdown of the top performers from the weekend slate.
Pebblebrook was tough to slow down in this event. Senior forward Mervin James averaged 18 points for the weekend. Headed to Canisius College next fall, the 6’6″ athlete had 15 points in Friday night’s 63-60 win over Edgewater and 21 points in the 74-59 win over Lakewood Ranch the following night. Senior outside shooter Grant Howard dropped 15 and 18 points in the two games. Senior guard DJ Murray chipped in with a fine 16-point night on Saturday.
Holy Spirit Prep (Ga.)
Perhaps the most fundamental team of the tournament, the Cougars clipped South Miami 78-75 in a double overtime thriller on Friday and then beat Ocala Vanguard 71-50 on Saturday. Sophomore forward Anthony Edwards averaged 26.5 points per game including 34 on Friday and 19 on Saturday. Senior forward Kamani Johnson averaged 21.5 points per game with 24 and 19 points respectively. This is a rising program.
South Miami was the only team to play in both overtime games over the weekend. First, it lost to Holy Spirit Prep and double overtime and then Cobras came back to beat Lake Wales 69-62 in overtime. Junior guard Toru Dean Jr. played admirably with 20 and 21 points in the two games. Junior forward Markeis Danon paced him with 16 and 14 points. This is a young and gritty group.
Falling to Alonso 57-45 in the opening night on Friday, the host Patriots beat Durant 78-60 on Saturday. Junior guard Malcolm Whitlow was the talk of the tourney with a school-record 47-point outing against Durant. He also had 22 points on Friday to lead the charge. First-year head coach Teddy Owens is putting the moving parts together.
An all-around team, Lakewood Ranch didn’t get the result it wanted in the final game of the tournament, but the Mustangs didn’t go down without a fight. Sophomore forward Christian Shaneyfelt had a team-high 19 points which included a couple important 3’s. Sophomore guard Keon Buckley pitched in with 10 points.
The Highlanders looked the part against a gritty South Miami squad on Saturday. Freshman point guard Walter Clayton Jr. took the next step with 23 points while 6’6″ senior forward Brenton Williams compiled 10 points and 16 rebounds. Lake Wales is starting to find chemistry at the right time.
I know Vanguard wasn’t too happy with its 71-50 loss to Holy Spirit. The Knights earned an 18-point game from junior guard Dantwan Grimes. The 6’0″ guard paced the floor well for Vanguard, but overall it wasn’t enough for his group. The Knights will be a state contender in Class 7A regardless.
Trailing 30-19 at the half, Creekside rallied back to beat Plant 56-46 in a rowdy game. Senior guard J’Michael Plummer did his part to push the rock and overall he was really sound. Plummer scored 20 points. The Knights will be a team that should go far in Class 8A.
Senior guard Jaiden Lee was a machine for Palm Glades with 32 points in a 69-48 victory over Bayshore Christian. Lee went to the rack with ease and he quite frankly made it look easy with lay-ins and attacks to the rim. Pacing him was junior forward Ben Smith who used his pure length to 13 points. Palm Glades is a well-coached squad in class 4A.
Santa Fe Catholic
The Hawks are an athletic squad led by three sophomores Javon Bell, Ray Davis and Joe Stubbs. Stubbs is dealing with an ankle injury so Bell had to carry the load in a 65-44 loss to Alonso. Bell had 20 points while Davis pitched in with 15 points. Head coach Mike Blicher has his boys playing hard in Class 4A.
Junior forward Robert Hardy put the Legion on his back with 27 points in a 60-51 victory over Anclote. Hardy is a 6’6″ forward who can stretch the floor with his shooting and his attacks to the basket. Superior is a well coached up and coming program.
Senior guard Robert McAfee went off for a 34-point outing to tie Edwards’ game from Day 1. McAfee helped the Sharks take down Canterbury 81-55 in the 8 a.m. game. He is a really hard worker who can hit 3’s and get the ball in his teammate’s hands with good passing. McAfee deserves more college attention.
Sun Bash announcer Nate Jackson was calling Anclote sophomore forward Jakob Hester, “Big Country” and I think it was rather fitting. Hester put up 22 points leading the Sharks in the 60-51 loss to Superior Collegiate. This a team stacked with sophomores so there is something to build in Class 6A.
Playing without its leading scorer in senior forward Zion Channer, it was already a tough task against an undefeated Nature Coast group. Sophomore guard Rivers Lenholt grinded his way to a 28-point performance in the loss to the Sharks. He is a game-changing player and someone who can help a ton for the Class 3A Crusaders.
The Eagles saw senior Samford commit Robert Allen score 13 points and freshman forward Gabriel Ferguson add 11 points in the 63-60 loss to Pebblebrook in game No. 3 on the opening night. Edgewater is a tough-minded squad under head coach Jason Atherton.
The Panthers weren’t happy after losing late to Creekside, but Plant did plenty of good things on the floor. Senior forward recorded a team-best 12 points for the Class 8A contenders.
The Braves beat Newsome 56-47 on Saturday behind a 16-point night from senior guard Nick Jiles. He did his usual attacking in transition while also connecting from the mid-range. Head coach DeAndre Brown is a bright basketball mind that has this program in the right direction.
The Wolves struggled for a good portion of the game against Lake Gibson before pushing the tempo in the second half. Sophomore guard Jake Brazinski was the top performer for his side with 13 points.
Top scorer Jeremiah Wicks was lost for the season in the opening game due to a torn ACL. Senior forward De’Aundre Kitt has carried the burden since and the 2018 athlete proved that in the loss to Palm Glades with a 14-point game. He earned all of those points inside.
Perhaps the toughest player in the whole tournament was Sager Cavalier. The junior forward scored 19 points in the win over Santa Fe Catholic on Saturday. He held his own defensively on the previous day against Carrollwood Day. Junior guard Terrionce Blalock had 18 and 12 points over the two games.
In its lone game of the tournament, Durant lost to Carrollwood Day. Junior guard Jeffery White had a team-high 18 points while senior forward Ak’mee Burton paced him with 16 points of his own. Playing without junior forward Neil Giovenco made it hard for the smaller Cougars. They are a hard-working bunch in Class 8A.