After rescheduling due to Hurricane Florence's arrival during the weekend of 9/14 – 9/16, the Meadowbrook High School Fall League got back into action this past Saturday. Two new faces appeared this week; the league added Life Christian Academy and Petersburg High School. With the gym once again filled with talent, I arrived early on Saturday morning with great anticipation in what the day's games had to offer. As usual, I had my notebook with me to jot down several things.

Final Scores

Highland Springs – 74

Midlothian – 46

 

Dinwiddie – 74

Amelia HS – 38

 

Carmel School

Dinwiddie – Game ended early with 9:30 remaining and Carmel School up 62-51.

 

Meadowbrook

Petersburg – Game ended early with 7:40 remaining and Meadowbrook up 41-22.

 

Matoaca – 70

Huguenot – 45

 

Life Christian Academy – 47

Benedictine – 30

 

Armstrong – 68

Amelia Academy – 55

 

Thomas Jefferson – 59

Fork Union – 53

 

Team Takeaways

  • Highland Springs and Thomas Jefferson both showed a similar style in putting lineups on the floor that created havoc on the defensive end. Both teams made the decision to go into a full-court press for most of the game; a different tactic compared to Week 1. The results benefitted in players collecting numerous steals, especially in the first half of both games. This worked for Highland Springs and Thomas Jefferson mainly because both programs have rosters of athletes who can play this hard-nosed defense throughout the game. It sure worked in an exceptional manner and the two teams most likely had a lot of confidence when leaving the gym on Saturday.

 

  • Dinwiddie displayed great improvement within their half-court game on Saturday. The Generals' high-low action in the paint stood out considerably, executed better than any other team. Dinwiddie didn't have a lot of height on the floor but their interior guys used strength to an advantage in finishing around the rim. Overall, everybody played more patiently. When the team locks in defensively and puts the pressure on, they become a more dangerous threat. A great portion of their offense came from getting quick stops.

 

  • For the second week in a row, Matoaca stood out as the best rebounding team. With tough guys like Jalen Hargrove ’19 and Tyrese Tingle ’19, the Warriors did an exceptional job of boxing out and securing the ball with both hands. Not allowing second opportunities for Huguenot proved as a key reason why Matoaca earned the win. Boxing out has become a fairly overlooked component in regards to its importance. Nonetheless, the Matoaca coaching staff has done an excellent job in holding their players accountable on the rebounding end.

 

  • Life Christian Academy came into Saturday as a new face in the league, turning heads as soon as they stepped in the gym. Before even watching them play, LCA definitely passed the ‘eye test.' A handful of tall and athletic guys make up their roster, as the group looked like a mini college team once they took the court for warm-ups. During the course of their game, the Eagles went on spurts of dominance. Their defense as a unit impressed me the most; long wingspans and good lateral quickness within their lineups played a big reason for this. In all, LCA can be one exciting team to watch this winter if they continue to build chemistry. They have all of the tools to make it work.

 

Standouts of the Day

  • Kenari Jones '20 Carmel School: After a noticeably slow start, the Wildcats' combo guard exploded for a sensational performance in Game 3. I can't make this up; Jones scored 27 points IN A ROW without any misses. He caused an eruption in the gym and pretty much singlehandedly brought Carmel back from a deficit to take the lead in the second half. It honestly was one of the more impressive showings I've seen from a high school player in a while. During his offensive outbreak, however, Jones did not just keep taking shot after shot. His ability to find others under the rim and play stifling defense stood as equally impressive. He just absolutely took complete control of the entire game. My MVP for Week 2 goes to Jones, without question.
  • Jaheim Hinton '19 Dinwiddie: The senior forward played solid in Week 1 but showed a much more aggressive approach as soon as Game 2 tipped off. Hinton constantly grabbed rebounds to push the ball up the court and find open teammates. At times, his play represented that of a ‘point forward'. His court vision helped Dinwiddie go on a run that they would not relinquish; this facet of his game stood out to me the most, as I did not notice it during Week 1. In addition, his defense and finishing both showed improvement. Hinton brings a lot to the table as a versatile forward, which will function as a key to the Generals' future success.
  • Alphonzo Mason '19 Meadowbrook: The senior leader made his complete offensive package known early in Game 4 by scoring eight of the first ten points for the Monarchs. Mason showed a change in Week 2 by how he worked to make plays more aggressively. In Week 1, he let the game come more naturally and did not have to do much since Meadowbrook took an early lead. During Saturday, however, he recognized advantages and knew to take opportunities when they emerged. His three-level scoring makes him a prospect to keep an eye on. When he gets going, he really gets going.
  • Jalen Hargrove '19 Matoaca: Nobody had a better motor than Hargrove throughout Saturday. The bouncy forward played as an absolute workhorse for the Warriors in his production on the glass and inside the paint. Hargrove's ability to play both inside and out makes him a big threat but it's his energy that separates him from the rest of the pack. He refused to take any plays off and showed a clear focus from beginning to end against Huguenot. Personally, my favorite moment of watching Hargrove play on Saturday involved him surprising the crowd with a nice poster dunk in transition near the end of the game. It was the icing on the cake for the senior's impressive 20+ point performance.
  • Jamal Grant '19 Amelia Academy: Similar to Mason, Grant had a good Week 1 performance but took on a bigger scoring role for his team in Game 7 on Saturday. The Patriots' guard plays with a chip on his shoulder, using his strength and explosion to great advantage. Once Grant decided to get the ball and just go, Armstrong had some difficulty containing him. His shooting appeared better as well; he looked more comfortable seeking pull-up jumpers and some three-pointers. His overall shot efficiency isn't quite there yet but I'm confident he'll continue to make progress.
  • Marcellus Avery '20 Life Christian Academy: Standing tall and expressing a huge amount of confidence, Avery had the most talent in the gym on Saturday. I haven't seen him play since the AAU live period and had great anticipation to see what he would bring to the league once LCA decided to enter. The 6'8' wing showed everything he's capable of throughout his first outing: athleticism, defense, shooting, and scoring at the rim. His footwork and three-point shot showed advancement, specifically. One thing to like about Avery is how he plays with such enthusiasm and sometimes looks to put on a show when appropriate. Everybody in the crowd could notice that when he threw down a 360 dunk not long into the first half and punched home a windmill dunk to seal the deal in the second half. His game isn't perfect yet but the ‘it' factor is undeniable.

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for more Fall League updates!