By Lannie Timmons
The Friars Club Fall Basketball League has come and gone again, with more than 150 youth participating in the league.
We wanted to make sure that we let all the parents, coaches, and Friars Club staff know how much we appreciate their support, and we must mention Keith Braswell, Jeff Mason, and Rodney Riley, for these brothers have supported us every year…3 years now. Special shout outs to Jim Lallathin…St. Xavier, Coach Darnell Parker…Clark, Scott Kerr…Purcell Martian, Leon Ellison…Princeton, Shaun O’Connor…Withrow, Shannon Minor…North College Hill, Carl Kramer…Moeller, and former Princeton Coach Jamal Walker!
If you get a chance, go out and see some good and exciting high school basketball, and the main thing, come out and support the kids. Here's a list of kids you want to keep your eyes on.
Darius Basely, Princeton, 6’8 185 lbs. He has committed to Ohio State.
Chase Kendall, Moeller, 6’2” 165 lbs. An all-around player.
James “Trey” Mack, Finneytown, 6’1 150 lbs. Quick off the dribble.
Jaylen Mason, Winton Woods, 6’3 170 lbs. Jaylen he can guard from 1-4 on defense
Brandon Gilbert St. Xavier, 6’8 190 lbs. The “Greyhound.”
David Wassler, St. Xavier, 6’8 220 lbs. David has a good touch around the basket.
Chase Kendall, Moeller, 6’2 165 lbs. Chase will compete on both ends of the court.
D’Shawnti Hawkins, Clark, 5’8 145 lbs. “The Floor General.”
Dionte McBride, Woodward, 6’3 176 lbs. He can take you off the dribble and rebound with the big boys.
Michael Grant, Walnut Hills, 6’3 170 lbs. Competes at a high level.
Antwuan Brown, Reading, 6’2 165 lbs. Two-year varsity starter.
Mario Freeman, Princeton, 5’6 145 lbs. He guards baseline to baseline, Mario is right there at the top.
Greg Philia, Roger Bacon, 6’1 165 lbs. Roger Bacon’s future.
Antonio Holman, Little Miami, 5’11, 155lbs. He can shoot the three with anybody.
Rodney Wiley, Colerain 5’10 150 lbs. Shake and Bake with a jump shot.
Elijiah Pitts, LaSalle, 6’1, 160 lbs. Elijiah is like a “human engine”…lots of energy.
B.J. Ransford, St. Xavier, 5’11 160 lbs. B.J. Can do a little bit of everything.
Carrington Valentine, Moeller, 5’10 160lbs. Carrington comes with a lot of energy.
Jared Baldock, Finneytown, 5’8 140lbs. Mr. Baldock is one smooth customer with the ball.
Nathan Stieritz, Moeller, 6’4 180lbs. Boxing him off the offensive glass is a must.
Kahlil Davis, Princeton, 6’0” 158lbs. Mr. North South
Dairius Barker “Diezel,” North College Hill, 5’8” 140lbs. Scores in bunches.
Micah Thomas, Clark, 6’5” 177lbs. Most improved player.
Aaron Ward, Princeton, 6’6” 185lbs. Glass eater.
Jamal Walker, Princeton, 5’4” 145lbs. Real point guard. Clutch player.
Cole Cronas, Ross, 5’9” 155lbs. Cool Hand Luke.
Avery Wilson, St. Xavier, 5’5” 145lbs. Future of St. Xavier.
Justin Szczepanski, St. Xavier, 6’2” 160lbs. Shoot with the best of them.
Richard Kolb, St. Xavier, 5’5” 148lbs. Makes his teammates better.
Steven Gentry, Purcell Marian, 5’8” 157lbs. High basketball IQ.
Kionte’ Thomas, Hughes, 5’10” 155lbs. 3-point shooter.
TJ Grove, St. Bernard, 6’3” 170lbs. St. Bernard’s future big man.
Michael Mitchell, North College Hill, 6’0” 160ls. The left-hand bandit.
Miles Watley, Withrow, 5’10” 155lbs. Wall to wall. Competes all the time.
Shamar Tate, St. Bernard, 5’9” 155lbs. The most improved player on and off the court.
Hakeem Griggs, North College Hill, 5’7” 135lbs. Good feel for game-good jumper.
Tymere Tuck, Roger Bacon, 6’0” 150lbs. One of Roger Bacon’s top freshman.
Ty McCullen, Fairfield, 6’0” 155lbs. The silent assassin. In the right place at the right time.
By Mark Brown
Cincinnati Herald Contributor
For most, Cincinnati’s winter has season yielded rather mild and welcomed temperatures, giving-way to the typical frigid temps that often dominate this time of year.
However, to the contrary, and ire, of the Xavier women's basketball team, January temperatures in the Big East Conference, resulted in nothing but a cold/frozen landscape for the Musketeer women...leaving them with a struggling program where expectations, and reality, are close to intersecting -- and the end result may not be a favorable collision….for a program that showed much promise at the beginning of the 2016-2017 campaign.
After winning 9 of the first 13 games the month of January garnered nothing but challenges for the Musketeers—who lost 7 of their first 9 Big East Conference games.
Currently at 11-12 (overall) 3-8 in the Big East conference, Xavier is on a slippery slope toward conference irrelevancy—as they are currently in the 8th spot of the ten-team conference. And as any conference aficionado can attest to conference wins, or losses (in their case), are typically the measuring stick of a program's success, or the stinging narrative of their failure.
While Xavier has desperately tried to stem the tide of a compromised season the reality of their mounting losses has begun to overshadow any early season success—success that might help them avoid an eerie resemblance to last year’s end-of-season collapse—where they lost their final seven games.
Evidence to their conference struggle became apparent after a tough weekend—with an overtime loss to Georgetown (69-64) followed by a 72-47 drubbing by Villanova—their fifth loss in a row. After the Georgetown loss head coach Brian Neal had few thoughts on how to stem the tide back in the Musketeers favor. “I don’t have any answers,” said a frustrated Neal, now in his fourth season at Xavier. “I don’t know how many fouls we had on offense where we are just bumping into people. We had twenty-two fouls, bailing them out of tough situations. You just can’t give a team twenty-two more shots. We’re fouling, putting them at the free-throw line…and we can’t get a rebound, and we are turning it (the ball) over.”
As to the team being in some form of funk…with the losses, Neal felt otherwise. “I don’t think we’re in a funk,” he said. “We just made a lot of mistakes…unforced mistakes. You just can’t do that.” On this night a search for the positive was difficult to find. “We executed our offense at times, and shot a decent percentage,” said Neal, searching for something good. “I thought we were competitive. But playing hard and being competitive….you have to make the right decisions. We just didn’t make decisions.”
After a mild reprieve in February, with a 53-43 win at Butler, the Musketeers frigid hardwood gets no less slippery as they prepare for home games versus Big East leader DePaul (Feb. 10) , followed by Marquette (Feb 12). From there it’s back on the road @ Villanova (Feb. 17) and @ Georgetown (Feb 19). Xavier will close-out their regular season at home versus Creighton (Feb. 24) and Providence (Feb. 26).
By Lannis Timmons
What a night for high school basketball…Taft vs Hughes with all the marbles on the line!
Playing in front of a sold-out crowd, Taft came out swinging, jumping out to an 8-3 lead, but by the 4:00 Hughes had tied the score 8-8, but by the end of the quarter, Taft grabbed a 20-17 behind the hot shooting of Demarco Bradley Jr. as the sophomore guard scored 9 points, and Malek Green was blocking shots as well as scoring around the basket.
As the second quarter started, Adrian “AJ” Smith and Giovanni Santiago carried the scoring load for the Big Red as each player scored 6 points. Santiago, did a great job of running the show as well as getting to the basket and pulling up, making midrange jump shots. As both teams went back and forth, Hughes walked in the locker room with a 31-30 lead.
During the second quarter, Taft got some positive energy from Justin Newman as he got to the basket and did a good job defending it.
In the second half, Dwayne Rosado started doing what he does, and that’s making three’s. Dwayne made four three’s in the quarter, as Smith and Santiago were helping Rosado keep Hughes in the driver’s seat by scoring five points each. Even though Corey Long scored only nine points, he still managed to grab ten rebounds.
In Taft’s defense, they were playing without Chris ‘Sean Stringer (Grown Man), who is Taft’s second leading scorer and their go to guy around the paint. Taft struggled to get the ball in the post, and when they did, Hughes was right there doubling down and rotating in the paint, forcing Taft’s bigger post players out on the perimeter where it made their job a little easier.
Hughes had built a eight point lead 43-35, but Bradley and Newman kept the Senators close as both of them scored six points as they cut the lead down to two 43-41. But Rosado scored one of his three pointers to end the quarter with the Big Reds leading 46-41.
Hughes used the fourth quarter to break open a close game with the Three Amigos…Smith, Rosado, and Giovanni, combined for 20 points. The three of them scored timely baskets when Taft was trying to make a run at them, Smith finished with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Rosado put up 21 points and 3 rebounds. and Giovanni Santiago had 15 points 6 rebounds, and his 9 assists made it hard for the Senators to climb back in it.
With the tournament draw right around the corner, I look for both Taft and Hughes to have a decent tournament run.
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