Day two was full of some surprises Parkland came out and made a statement last night, they wanted all the smoke with the higher seeded Phoenix.
Winston Salem, North Carolina- Both these programs and their staffs are very familiar with one other, the intensity level truly had the feel of a rivalry game. Two teams in very different positions, Parkland (4-3), young and hungry, they were looking to stop a losing skid. WS Prep, ( 5-3), are defending state champs. They had to replace a lot of production from last year, but there is still plenty of talent on this years roster.
Keys to the game
- Parkland made things difficult for WS Prep’s Stars
Parkland was giving up a lot size on the front court, but they rebounded as a team and neutralized the bigs for WS Prep. This group held 6’7 Zach Austin to just one point on the night, Parkland really closed down on Austin in the paint and got him into foul trouble in the process.
In the back court sophomore Jordan Timmons and senior Esosa Igbingle worked hard to limit Prep star guard Chaz Gwynn. Gwynn was obviously frustrated, but still managed 16 pts on the night, before checking out late in the fourth.
“As far as the smaller group being able to neutralize Zach we basically wanted him to be a jump shooter and a ball handler. And if he got the ball in the post we wanted our guards to reach and make it difficult for him and then box out.” Coach Whit Holcomb Faye told Phenom Hoops.
- WS Prep never recovered from slow start
The Phoenix only scored 16 first half points, offensively they were forced into bad shots, and rarely got more than one shot opportunity in a single possession. The mustangs did a good job packing the paint and limiting the athletic slashers for prep, turning these guys into strictly jump shooters.
At times it felt like a lid was on the rim for WS Prep, even point blank looks at the cup rimmed out, turnovers also killed their offensive flow. The timing felt off from the start and rhythm was never quite established.
- Parkland’s backcourt controlled the tempo
Sophomore Camian Shell finished with a game high 22 points in this contest. He had as many points as Prep at the half, the floor general picked his spots precisely at the point of attack. Shell blew by defenders, he got in the lane and finished strong at the cup, Shell knocked down two big three pointers that initially blew the game open. Shell handled the full court press, he got everyone settled and into position.
Sophomore Omari Bolden chipped in another 17 pts for the stang gang. Bolden was constantly cutting and moving off ball, he found some easy looks slashing to the cup. Bolden finished through contact and earned several trips to the line. Bolden continues to build confidence in year two of his prep career.
Timmons (4pts) and junior Chase Rori (8pts), came up big on both ends. These two really showed versatility matching up with a talented WS Prep backcourt. When the defense brought traps towards Shell, these two were valuable floor spacers.
- It was a coming out party for TJ Mills
The Sophomore was arguably Preps best player on the night, he led the way with 17 points. What’s stood out most was his tenacity, he absolutely came to play, and Parkland couldn’t do much with him while Mills was in attack mode. Off the dribble Mills is tough to keep out the lane, he can go either way and possess a nice package of iso moves. Mills has a tight handle, he welcomes contact and Mills has some bounce.
Mills is another talented guard in a loaded 2021 class, he is definitely one to watch for. You won’t find many players with his fire on the floor, Mills wants all the smoke and isn’t backing down from anyone.
Parkland moves on to the championship vs Mt Tabor ( 9-1)
MT Tabor defeated Parkland 75-63 in a previous matchup a few weeks ago. Tabor is led by a battle tested veteran in Quest Aldridge. Like WS Prep, Tabor features a nice one – two punch, on the perimeter and down low. Aldridge is playing arguably the best ball of his life, 6’7 junior Jakob Moore will be a load in the middle to handle.
Aldridge vs Shell will be fun to watch- Both these lead guards should push one another. Aldridge is coming off a big performance in a thriller vs Reynolds, that saw the Spartans come out on top. Both these guys are the catalysts for their teams, true scoring playmakers.
Both guards will look to control the tempo and orchestrate their respective offenses. Aldridge is bigger and Shell is quicker, but there are some similarities in their games.
Parkland will have to make things difficult for Moore on the block- Similar to Austin Parkland will have to turn Moore into a jump shooter, although Moore is a bit more physical in the paint. Moore has big hands and a soft touch, he’s strong with the basketball and embraces contact on the cup. Parkland will have to keep him off the boards.
Mt Tabor is coming off an emotional win and that could be something to monitor, it took a lot to put away RJ Reynolds late last night. This group will have to keep pace with the lighting quick guards of Parkland.
The skinny- both these teams are very well coached, proud programs with dedicated fan bases. With the title for the crown on the line, I’m personally expecting a dog fight. Parkland’s staff is young like their roster, hungry and ready to wake the city up. We all know the history of MT Tabor, and legendary Coach Muse. They would love nothing more than to add another banner to the collection.