The second day of Phenom’s Tip-Off Classic concluded with a matchup between Northwood Temple and Wesleyan Christian. The Eagles quickly jumped out to an early lead behind the play of 6’1 ’22 Jaquantae Harris and 6’7 ’21 Julian Williams. However, Wesleyan immediately turned the tides during the second quarter. 6’5 ’21 Isaiah Ray led the charge in all facets of the game for WCA but they also found quality contributions from 6’2 ’24 James Swindell and 6’3 ’21 Kade Darr, entering halftime with a 31-27 lead over Northwood Temple. The third quarter shifted back in favor of Northwood Temple after nearly doubling their entire first-half total, taking back control of a 42-53 advantage. That being said, WCA turned things around, mounted a strong comeback, and ultimately secured a 70-67 victory over Northwood Temple.
6’1 ’22 Jaquantae Harris (Northwood Temple)
It’s easy to see the appeal with Harris, who is capable of overwhelming opponents on both ends of the floor. He’s a strong, rugged, athletic point guard prospect with toughness, phenomenal defensive prowess and an incredible penetration sense. Harris attacks the basket, sets up others, and finishes above and through contact very well. He’s also a great rebounder for his position and makes consistently smart decisions in transition.
6’7 ’21 Julian Williams (Northwood Temple)
The uptick in recruitment for Williams makes sense, given his steady production on both ends of the floor. He possesses touch, fluidity, and a reliable scoring arsenal out of the post. Williams runs the floor well, operates effectively within the flow of the team, and rebounds the ball nicely. He’s a quality finisher from the block and understands how to contain his assignment defensively.
6’5 ’21 Isaiah Ray (Wesleyan Christian)
To call the leadership and overall showing from Ray anything other than exceptional would be disrespectful. He did everything possible, from rebounding to controlling the offensive action, and made consistently intelligent decisions with the ball in his hands. Ray shot the ball well, especially from midrange, and finished very well around the basket. He also defended multiple positions and established the tone very well. Ray has all the makings of a quality contributor at the next level, and it was evident in his showing today.
6’3 ’21 Kade Darr (Welseyan Christian)
Although Ray is the clear leader in terms of establishing the tone, Darr is arguably the x-factor for the success of this group. He’s an obvious shooting threat, but his ability to operate as a steady, reliable presence within the flow of the action is arguably what makes him so valuable. Darr moved the ball, made the extra pass, and defended his position well. Not only did he knock down important perimeter jumpers at an extremely high clip throughout the entirety of the game, but his ability to knock down clutch free-throws is what ultimately iced the game. He could be a very useful college-level player at the right program.