Phenom Hoops walked into the gym at Clayton High School eager to catch 6’7 Cincinnati commit Gary Clark play and curious to see what kind of improvement 6’7 senior forward Fred Iruafemi made over the summer. After watching the game we came away not only impressed with what the two of them did, but also appreciated the work a couple of sophomores put in. Clayton won the game 68-62.
The first half started off a little slow for Gary Clark, seeming to defer to his team mates and taking a supporting role for them. 5’10 sophomore point guard Tre Armstead really stepped up for his Clayton Commets. Armstead led his team back from a 21-16 first quarter deficit to tie it up at 32 at the half. Armstead was able to get into lane regularly going 5 of 6 from the stripe and finishing with 9 points and 2 assists. Clark at 8 points and 4 rebounds.
Middle Creek Head Coach David Kushner, still figuring out his team opted to do a line change every 2-3 minutes. Consequentially, Middle Creek had 9 kids score in the first half led by 6’3 sophomore wing Isaiah Riley who had 6. They are full of shooters, and none of them seem to be afraid to put it up. One of the things that allowed this to happen was their post players abilities to face and switch the point of attack. 6’7 senior forward Fred Iruafemi, showed a nice ability to pass the ball to the open man and away from the double team. 6’4 senior guard John Perron and 5’10 junior point guard Bryson Cousins each had 5 points.
The second half was a different story for Clark, he came out a man possessed. A play sequence to describe what I mean was with about 4 minutes left in the game, Fred Iruafemi caught a ball on the block and just dunked hard, on a Clayton player for an “And 1″. The crowd stood up, hooting and hollering. Iruafemi missed the free throw and Clark go the board, he dribbled the length of the court, spun in the lane and absolutely brought the house down with a thundering dunk. Not to take anything away from Iruafemi’s humiliation, but Clark was not going to be upstaged on his home floor.
Clark had 18 points and 10 rebounds in the second half, doing a lot of what he wanted both on the blocks and in the open court. 6’4 junior forward Xavier Williams was able to come in and provide some good minutes on the interior altering shots and getting his hands on a lot of ball. 6’3 junior guard Kris Bobo came in for a great 2 minute stretch, his only playing time of the game, which saw him get 5 points and a rebound.
More of the same for Middle Creek and their very balanced attack, they got some good shots but they just did not fall. I did not keep turnover stats for the game, but Middle Creek did a great job creating them as their guards have active hands, but they show great anticipation off the ball. 6’3 sophomore wing Isaiah Riley finished with 13 points and 4 boards, 6’7 senior forward Fred Iruafemi finished with 11 points 11 boards and 4 blocks, and 5’10 junior point guard Bryson Cousins had 10 points and 3 assists.
For Clayton, Gary Clark finished with 26 points 13 rebounds 4 assists and 3 blocks. 5’10 sophomore point guard Tre Armstead had 15 points (9 of 10 from the FT line) and 4 assists.
Fred Iruafemi – Wiry long with an improving skill set. Showed an ability to face and even put on the floor for a dribble. Rebounded the ball high and secured it well. Has a nice upside with added strength and confidence.
Isaiah Riley – the sophomore was a consistent factor attacking the basket for Middle Creek. A lot damage done in transition and attacking off put backs, did make a 3. Looks young, so may have some more growth in him, a true wing player with length.
Tre Armstead – Armstead was consistently in the lane for Clayton. Does a good job keeping control and avoiding heavy contact. Quick hands and feet on defense, point guard skills are improving. 9 of 10 from FT line.
Chris Dixon – Dixon is a 6’2 senior at Clayton, numbers did not show what his skill set has. Long and explosive with a good handle as a lead guard. Was a controlling factor in handling the press and showed the explosion to pin two blocks on the backboard.