Game 2 down in Lincolnton (NC) brought the Diamond Doves into town to take on the hometown team, the Blue Checks.† Two teams that had plenty of talent on display once again that you will see at the next level, got after it early and often.† The Blue Checks were able to grab the early lead behind the outside shot-making early, but 2024 Ketraleus Aldridge kept his team within striking distance early and eventually, others started to join in, helping them earn an early 18-16 lead over the Blue Checks.† Shots though continued to fall outside for the Blue Checks, led by 2024 Kansas commit Rakease Passmore, along with 2024 Paul Jones and others. It was a tight game all throughout the first half, with the Blue Check regaining the lead heading into halftime 34-30.

In the third quarter though, Blue Checks seemed to hit another level in their attack. They were able to knock down shots, get a variety of players involved, and elevate their defensive intensity.  It is what turned a 4-point halftime lead into a 20+ point lead late in the third.  Blue Checks continued to attack and get out in transition, which allowed them to hold a 66-43 lead after three. 

They were able to get others into the game and maintain that double-digit lead throughout the fourth quarter, eventually taking home the 101-79 victory.

Final: Blue Checks 101 Ė Diamond Doves 79

Stats:

BC: Paul Jones 21pts, Rakease Passmore 17pst, Emmanuel Okitondo 16pts
Doves: Jeremiah Johnson 25pts, Ketraleus Aldridge 17pts

Standouts:

2024 Rakease Passmore (Blue): Passmore came out strong and aggressive, looking to create off the dribble but also knock down shots from multiple levels.  He really mixed it up well from a variety of levels, getting around defenders and attack but also getting to his spots to knock down shots from mid-range and three.  Effective and consistent in tonightís win for his team.

2024 Paul Jones (Blue): Jones is really growing on me this season from what Iíve seen. He comes off the bench and brings production to the table with his energy on the defensive end, really creating a tough matchup with his on-ball defense but also getting to his spots and being a threat from the perimeter.

2024 Ketraleus Aldridge (Doves): Aldridge came out strong early and attacked, finding ways to create, make strong moves and create, find open teammates off the dribble, and get inside the defense.  He didnít settle and filled up the stat sheet with multiple assists, got on the glass as a guard, and scored efficiently. Really liked his assertive nature in creating and being that playmaker.

2024 Jeremiah Johnson (Doves): Johnson got going more in the second half, as the 6í4 guard was able to get out in transition, break down and get out in transition, and find ways to get to the rim.  He had a strong second half in helping lead his team. He was at his best when getting to the basket and looking to score, but also made plays for others and rebounded effectively.