Region 24 JUCO Semis Notebook
We are in the heart of state tournament week in Illinois, but with an open day on the schedule PHI took a trip to take in the Region 24 Semis in John A Logan vs Olney Central and Vincennes vs…
We are in the heart of state tournament week in Illinois, but with an open day on the schedule PHI took a trip to take in the Region 24 Semis in John A Logan vs Olney Central and Vincennes vs SWIC. We also got a bonus game before in DII JUCO action of Rend Lake vs Illinois Central College! We break it down here in our Region 24 JUCO Semifinals Notebook!
Logan Turns Up Notch on Defense and In Transition Leading to Win
The first semifinal of the night saw John A Logan knock off Olney Central 74-63. Logan is one of the top JUCO teams in the country this year and has not lost since November. They advanced to the title game with this victory. What we like about this Logan group is their depth and balance. Mizzou commit Curt Lewis is the headliner. Power wing that got loose in transition for a couple buckets and hit a corner three. Scored 9 points, but because of their share the wealth mentality their top player didn’t need to go off. Early on it was Quimari Peterson from Gary, IN who shined. The sophomore point guard is an energy scoring guard that can create jumpers off the bounce, passes well in the half court, and is an active defender as he had 12 points. The former Illinois prep trio on the perimeter each had their moments. Isaiah Stafford (Bolingbrook) is a smooth scoring two guard that has a lethal mid-range game and acrobatic finishes at the cup finishing with 11 points. James Dent is a sophomore who played his prep ball at Springfield Southeast netted 11 points on some feathery jumpers and a poster dunk. Played nice defense on the perimeter. Marian Catholic grad Elijah Jones is a long and rangy defender that does the little things finishing around the cup, defending, and being a connector. Notched 7 points. Former Springfield Lanphier big man KJ Debrick has slimmed down since we saw him earlier in the season as he scored on a rim run, short jumper, and pick/roll finish. Displayed more mobility than we had previously seen in an 8 point outing. Justin Cross ignited Logan in the second half with a pair of defensive stops where he used his length to get his team going in transition. Crashed the offensive glass and finished a lob off the glass for 4 points.
Inside/Outside Combo Makes Impression for Olney Central
Freshman guard Delshawn Simms was dynamic scoring in the early going. The small freshman guard was so quick getting to the rim off the bounce and hit an array of threes on his way to 18 points. Came away very impressed with their 6’10” sophomore five man Benjamin Faatz. The German center looked the part of a D2 big man with how well he played. Good frame, rebounded well in his area, and had an array of finishing moves down low. Spins, pick/roll, finished dump offs, and stretched on a baseline J for 13 points,
Vincennes Wins Close Contest to Advance to Finals
In the last game of the night Vincennes and SWIC had a back and forth contest. In the end Vincennes took home the win 66-59. Their MVP in this game was former Bolingbrook prep standout Michael Osei-Bonsu. Undersized five man plays with such a high-motor and is relentless with his physicality on the interior. Carves out space and backs his man to under the basket for scores. High level rebounder that boxes out and is a crafty defender. The freshman had 19 points. Despite only scoring three points we continue to be intrigued with what 6’9” five man Shilo Jackson can be at the D1 level. Projectable sophomore post that high points rebounds in traffic. Snatches them with two hands and is a switchable defender. Down the stretch freshman versatile forward Kris King made some big plays playing inside and outside. Good frame and won off the bounce when his team needed it and can score in the post too as he had 8 points. Their top scorer Caleb Johnson is a 6’5” sophomore with broad shoulders and has two way potential. He had one play where he stole the ball and displayed burst in the open floor for a finish. Showed the potential he has scoring 10 points.
Sleeper Sophomores for SWIC
Several sophomores caught our attention for SWIC. Liked what we saw from 6’5” power forward Noah Courtney. Physically built post that rebounds very well in traffic with his strong hands. Plays taller than his height with long arms and finished well around the hoop. Even hit a wing three en route to 11 points. Early in the game Kymahni Bent got the crowd on their feet with a massive lefty slam along with a flurry of a pair of quick threes to get SWIC off and going. Plus athlete with size at 6’4” had 10 points. Former Belleville East guard Ethyn Brown brings toughness getting in the lane for pull ups and can stretch to three on occasion. Went for 7 points. Late in the contest there was a flurry from SWIC’s top scorer this season point guard Jaquias Franklin as the slick ball handler hit a couple threes and a floater finishing with 12 points.
Rend Lake Wins Bonus Game of Day in Front of Home Crowd
When I found out that Rend Lake and Illinois Central College would play before the semi’s of course I was going to come early to check out the DII JUCO programs play. Rend Lake won the game 79-67 in front of a nice crowd for a 3 PM weekday game. They were led by an all-star cast of former southern Illinois stars. Jackson Creel and Carson Prost are former Mt. Vernon Rams who led the way. Both have added strength since their prep days especially Creel. He shot it at a high clip from distance and rebounded well for his position while scoring 19 points. Prost netted 15 points scoring from all three levels. Two other southern Illinois prep standouts that we covered that shined for Rend Lake were former Woodlawn standout Blake McKay who ran the show at the point with his change of pace, passing, and mixed in scores for 9 points. Former Norris City Omaha Enfield four man Joe Melton has added strength. He was a force swatting shots at a high rate in the game we saw while scoring 9 points. All five of these prospects should be priority D3 and NAIA recruits for programs who need someone to step in as an upperclassmen next season.
Illinois Central Collee Trio of Sophomores Deserve Looks
There were three ICC sophomores that we feel deserve looks by small colleges. First is former Peoria Notre Dame post Matt Williams. Before going down with an injury he was effective as a 6’7” five man that had crafty moves around hoop including hook shots and spins. Rebounded well in his area as he had 10 points. Point guard Courtland Soll is a well built 6’2” sophomore that got to the rim and drained stop and pop mid-range shots for 15 points. A projectable wing to investigate for small colleges is Kyle Belgrave. The 6’6” small forward is a lanky wing that had 9 points while showing two-way potential.