Author: Bret Favachio

New Richmond outlasts Clermont Northeastern, 66-61

NEW RICHMOND, Ohio — Entering Tuesday, the Southern Buckeye Conference featured just two programs that have yet to see defeat inside of the conference. But that all changed when those same two programs met toe-to-toe on the hardwood last night.

The Lions were off and running out of the gate thanks to the widespread contributions from a few of their starters. New Richmond got six points a piece from three different guys — sophomore Justin Ackerman, junior Will Hess, and freshman Evan Ipsaro. Production from the three helped combat an eight point frame from Clermont Northeastern junior Skyler Schmidt, the second highest scorer in the conference, and the Lions led 22-11 after one.

It was more of the same in the second quarter for both teams. Schmidt pushed his total out to 15 points with the second half still to go. However, for New Richmond, Ackerman relived his performance from the initial period as he dropped in another six points to push his total up to 12 at the break. The Lions also got a boost from junior forward John Ipsaro with 7 points in the quarter and he helped extend their led on the Rockets by a count of 41-24.

With a 17 point deficit staring them in the face, Clermont Northeastern got a massive lift from their two top scorers on the year. Sophomore guard Bryce Reece, who was held to just three points in the first half, got going with 6 points in the third. Schmidt continued to give the Lions fits, especially on the glass, and his 11 point period helped cut the New Richmond lead to just 7 with 8 minutes remaining.

With their backs against the wall now, Schmidt aimed to put the Rockets on his back and he nearly pulled it off. The junior standout filled it up again in the fourth with a 12 point frame. He had 23 points in the second half alone. However, thanks to some clutch free throws down the stretch from the young Evan Ipsaro, New Richmond withstood the Clermont Northeastern rally and was able to walk away victorious in this one, 66-61.

The win for the Lions moves them to 9-3 overall on the season and 5-0 in the conference. New Richmond will be back in action on Friday against Western Brown on the road.

The Rockets, despite the loss, have little reason to hang their heads. It was just the second loss of the season for them and they still stand a top the national division. However, the battle between them and Blanchester is shaping up to be a good one as we head down the stretch. Next up for Clermont Northeastern is a home game against Georgetown.

For the Lions, sophomore forward Justin Ackerman led the way with an impressive 18 point, 13 rebound night. Freshman Evan Ipsaro also eclipsed double figures with 14 points in the contest.

For the Rockets, Skyler Schmidt was nothing other than sensational. He finished with 38 points and 23 rebounds. It was the single most impressive performance that I’ve seen in person so far this year. Sophomore Bryce Reece also pitched in for Clermont Northeastern with 11 points.

Deer Park hits the road and takes down Gamble Montessori, 74-52

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Deer Park entered Tuesday night riding a four-game winning streak and have only wound up on the losing end just once this year. On the other end, Gamble Montessori had an opportunity to protect their home floor and throw a wrench into the hot start by the Wildcats.

Back and forth we went in the first quarter as the Gators were able to find success from a few of their key contributors; Dre Kindell (8 points), Michael McCants (6 points), and DJ English (4 points) all pitched in early for Head Coach Roberto Allen. However, Deer Park also got an impressive lift from junior guard Tre Munson, who drilled three three-pointers in the frame. As the second quarter arrived, the contest was all knotted up at 14.

That’s when Wildcats senior guard Steve Gentry Jr., the fourth highest scorer in the Cincinnati Hills League, got going. The explosive lead guard had much success in the period by attacking the interior of the Gamble Montessori defense. Gentry’s aggressiveness led to some tough buckets in the paint and a few trips to the charity stripe. The 11 point period from the 6-foot, 155-pounder pushed Deer Park to an advantage at the break, as they led the Gators by a count of 33-26.

After the conclusion of halftime, the Wildcats were able to withstand an impressive period by Gamble Montessori’s Xavier Smith. The teams leading scorer on the season finally got going after a slow start by delivering a seven point period. However, Deer Park had their way on the offensive end in the third as they scored 26 points in the frame. Munson and Gentry continued their success while Gi Jones and DeShaun McEntire added 6 points a piece. The production among the four helped the Wildcats stretch their lead and gave them some breathing room heading into the fourth.

With a 20 point lead and just 8 minutes of action remaining, Deer Park was able to slam the door shut thanks to another solid period by the aforementioned Jones. The Wildcats moved to 10-1 on the season and were able to extend their winning streak to five-games after downing the Gators, 74-52.

For Deer Park, Steve Gentry Jr. led the way with 19 points. Tre Munson and Gi Jones also reached double figures. Munson finished with 17 points on the night and Jones added 13 points of his own.

Despite a tough second half with foul trouble, Dre Kindell led Gamble Montessori with 11 points. It was the opposite story for junior guard Xavier Smith, who concluded the contest with 10 points despite struggling to find a rhythm in the first half of play.

Next up for Deer Park is conference action as they will host Madeira on Friday — a team they beat by 40 points in their first meeting. For the Gators, they will try to get back on track against Hillcrest on Friday in a road contest.

Stars of the Night: Saturday’s Top Scorers

CINCINNATI, Ohio — It was an action packed day of basketball on Saturday as many area teams had to lace up for battle on the hardwood. Let’s take a look at some of the best scoring performances that came about on Saturday as we get set to conclude week six of the high school basketball season.

Camron McKenzie, Hughes – Despite the Big Red coming up short in the finals of the Palm Beach Central High School New Year Holiday Tournament against Palm Beach Central (FL), the junior guard delivered a 32 point performance for Hughes in their 77-74 loss. It’s McKenzie’s second consecutive outing reaching the 30 point mark.

Mason Mack, Cincinnati Country Day – The Indians took on Georgetown last night and they got a tremendous outing from junior forward Mason Mack. He dropped 28 points while shooting 11-13 from the field and nailing 6-7 free throws. The night for Mack is his highest scoring night on the year. He also added 11 rebounds in the 74-56 victory over the G-Men.

Larry Kocisko, McNicholas – The Rockets had a big non-conference game last night against Taft and it was junior forward Larry Kocisko who showed up in a big way. The 6-foot-4, 170-pounder delivered his second 20 point scoring night of the year as he scored a season-high 24 points (8-16 FG) and dropped in the game-winner as time expired to move McNick to 8-2 on the season.

Kionte Thomas, Hughes – Another member of the talented Hughes backcourt had himself a nice night reaching 24 points in the Big Red’s loss to Palm Beach Central (FL) The senior guard scored 13 points more than what he averages for the season.

Zyon Tull, Western Brown – The Broncos squared off against Anderson last night and it was junior forward Zyon Tull leading the way for Western Brown with 22 points. Tull had it going from distance as he dropped in 4 of his 6 triple tries. The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder shot 8-15 in the win against the Redskins while reaching his season-high for points.

Jackson Ames, West Clermont – Miami (OH) signee Jackson Ames was too much to handle for Indian Hill last night as the senior center dropped 21 points on 70% shooting. Ames also added 8 rebounds and knocked down 7-8 from the charity stripe as the Wolves took down the Braves, 64-53.

Ian Shaffer, Western Brown – We talked about the performance from Tull for the Broncos above. However, senior guard Ian Shaffer also played a big role in the Western Brown win over Anderson. Shaffer dropped 21 points — his third time reaching that mark — while shooting 8-14 from the floor.

Alex Williams, Moeller – The Crusaders made way to Centerville on Saturday to battle it out with the Elks. In the 57-46 victory, Alex Williams paved the way a 19 point showing. Williams only missed three of his ten shots and was perfect from distance. The sure fire Division One prospect was 3-of-3 from long range. So far this year, Williams has only had one game where he was not in double figures in the scoring column.

Cole Fisher, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy – The current leaders of the Scarlet division in the Miami Valley Conference hit the road yesterday to take on Newport. Cole Fisher, who is averaging just over 15 points per night, gave the Eagles a nice lift with 18 points. The senior guard shot 50% for the night while knocking in 4-8 three point attempts. CHCA went on to win the game by a final count of 62-44.

Taft gets big conference road win by taking down Woodward, 77-63.

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Last night, the city was able to see two of the best in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference go to war as Taft headed to Dennis Bettis Court to take on the Woodward Bulldogs. Coming into the game, both teams had one conference loss to their name and had hopes of keeping the pace with Hughes a top the red division.

In the first quarter, Taft did a really good job trying to force the ball out of Woodward sophomore Paul McMillan IV‘s hands by doubling him and were able to get some transition buckets by forcing turnovers. The Senators got a nice early lift from both senior guard Roemello Carleon and junior forward AJ Lowe — who had six points and five points respectively — and led after one, 17-11.

It was more of the same in the second period, as Carleon put together another solid frame and finished with 12 points at the break, Taft was able to hold McMillan IV to just five points in the first half so it was important that they were able to extend their lead before he was inevitably able to put his fingerprints on the game. Along with Carleon, freshman Rayvon Griffith also pitched in with four points and the green and gold had the advantage at the conclusion of the first half, 36-25.

The third quarter was when McMillan IV was able to see his best quarter of the night at that time. The Bulldogs sophomore dropped 8 points and pushed his total to 13 before entering the final period. Senior center Davion Mace also added four points of his own. However, Taft got contributions from a host of players including senior guard Muhammed Metz (4 points) so Woodward was only able to cut into their deficit by two points and headed to the 4th down 49-40.

With the game still up in the air, McMillan IV got going with 17 points in the final frame and did a good job getting to the charity stripe. However, in the end, it was senior forward Nekhi Smith, Griffith, and the aforementioned Carleon who slammed the door close for the Senators.

For the victors of Taft, Roemello Carleon led the team with 19 points. Nekhi Smith (15 points) and Rayvon Griffith (10 points) both finished over double figures. LeRoy Walker Jr. and AJ Lowe also added 9 points of their own.

For Woodward, Paul McMillan IV led all scorers with 30 points (13-15 FT). Davion Mace was the only other Bulldog over double figures in the scoring column as he finished with 10 points. Freshman Kanye Moreland was just outside of the group with 8 points.

Looking ahead, Taft is back in action tonight as they will take on McNicholas in the home of the Rockets. Woodward will see their next action on Tuesday as they square off against Summit Country Day at home.

Game Preview: Taft Senators (4-3, 1-1) vs Woodward Bulldogs (4-4, 2-1)

CINCINNATI, Ohio — The new year has arrived and the weekend slate of games looks very promising. This particular contest between two of the best in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference may very well take the cake for the best game tonight as the Taft Senators will make their way to Dennis Bettis court to square off against the Woodward Bulldogs.

Who: Taft Senators (4-3, 1-1) vs Woodward Bulldogs (4-4, 2-1)

When: Tonight at 7:30 PM

Where: Woodward High School

Coming into the night, both schools have just one loss inside the conference. Tonight’s game will be a big one as the Senators and Bulldogs aim to stay on the heels of Hughes, the current leaders of the red division in the conference.

Woodward, led by sophomore guard Paul McMillan IV, is fresh off of a trip to the sunshine state where they fell short in two out of the three games they played. However, the good news for the Bulldogs is that they were able to leave the trip on a good note as they beat Inlet Grove (FL), 80-75. McMillan, the teams leading scorer, delivered on performances of 45 points, 39 points, and 32 points in Florida and will now aim to push his Bulldogs past Taft. Along with McMillan, Woodward equips a talented cast of backcourt mates including junior guards Montev Ware (14.8 PPG) and Aaron Davis (9.0 PPG), as well as freshman Kanye Moreland (7.5 PPG).

As for the Senators, they are also led by an underclassman — Freshman sensation Rayvon Griffith. The 6’5 forward is off to a good start on the campaign averaging about 17 points and 6 rebounds per night for Taft. Along with Griffith, the Senators also have four seniors that play major roles for Head Coach Mark Mitchell. Guard LeRoy Walker Jr., formerly of Winton Woods, has made the biggest impact scoring the ball among the four with just under 15 points per night. Forward Nekhi Smith and guard Roemello Carleon also average over double figures in the scoring column for Taft. Lastly, guard Muhammad Metz is one to always keep your eyes on as he can make you pay from three-point range.

Numbers To Know

80

In games that Woodward has won this season, they have scored at least 80 points. In all four of those contests, Paul McMillan IV has hit the thirty point mark. If McMillan IV can accomplish that feat and the depth of the Bulldogs does their job, the blue and white could crack that mark once again.

3

Taft enters Friday with a three-game winning streak after their slow start to the season. The Senators took down Holmes (KY), Western Hills, and Columbus Whitehall and will now look to improve their streak against Woodward.

Paul McMillan IV scores 34 as Woodward takes down Aiken, 81-73

CINCINNATI, Ohio — A highly anticipated battle between two of the very best in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference lived up to billing with Purdue Head Coach Matt Painter in the building. Aiken came into the night looking to remain unbeaten on the season. While Woodward was looking to follow up on a two-game win streak after falling short in their first two matchups on the year.

In the first quarter, freshman Kanye Moreland got off to a hot start with a 7 point period. However, the play of senior guard Greg Stewart and junior guard Jakada Stone pushed the Falcons ahead as the two combined for 15 of the teams 19 points in the frame.

That’s when sophomore guard Paul McMillan IV turned it on for the Bulldogs. In the second quarter alone, McMillan dropped 15 points and pushed his total up to 19 in the first half. McMillan was able to get into the interior of the Aiken defense to either get to the charity stripe or successfully finish using his go to floater in the lane. The big quarter from the sophomore sensation put Woodward ahead at the break, 38-36.

The Falcons trio of Stewart, Stone, and sophomore guard Robbie Cass did all of the scoring for the purple and gold in the third period. In doing so, Aiken was able to tie things up at 55 despite the Bulldogs getting a well-timed 6 points from junior guard Montev Ware in the period.

With the game up for grabs, we saw just what everyone would expect. Two of the very best guards in the city going toe-to-toe. Paul McMillan IV and Jakada Stone put on a show all night and the two had ten points a piece down the stretch. However, it was the other Bulldogs — junior guard Aaron Davis and the aforementioned Montev Ware — who pitched in at just the right time for Woodward. Once the game was in control, McMillan put the game on ice at the free throw line and the Bulldogs were able to walk away victorious by a final count of 81-73.

Paul McMillan IV led all scorers with 34 points on the night. While Montev Ware added 16 points of his own. Kanye Moreland and Aaron Davis also helped the Bulldogs with 8 points a piece.

For Aiken, it was Jakada Stone leading the charge with an impressive 29 point night. Greg Stewart finished with 23 points and Robbie Cass had 11 points for the Falcons.

Game Preview: La Salle Lancers (4-0) vs Lakota West Firebirds (3-1)

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Tuesday has arrived which means a full slate of games will be played on the hardwood later today. One game that stands out among the best is a contest between two Division 1 programs that have gotten off to a good start early on. 275 Hoops will be in attendance for what expects to be an exciting battle. Let’s dive into the two programs and breakdown how they stack up against each other.

Who: La Salle Lancers (4-0, 0-0) vs Lakota West Firebirds (3-1, 3-0).

When: Tonight at 7:30 PM

Where: Lakota West High School

Fresh off of a victory against Kentucky powerhouse Covington Catholic, La Salle will look to remain unbeaten against Lakota West. The Lancers have already taken down Dayton Belmont, Dayton Meadowdale, Purcell Marian, and the aforementioned Colonels thanks in part to a trio of upperclassmen that are averaging over double figures in the scoring column — highly efficient junior guard Justin Lovette (15.7), senior guard Jaylen Lemons (11.7), and senior forward Derek Eddings (10.0).

However, Lakota West also equips a backcourt duo that can score with the very best. Senior guard Julian Mackey, who is shooting over 58 percent so far, is currently the top scorer in the Greater Miami Conference with an average of 25.5 points per night. Not to be forgotten, Carter Combs is averaging 14.0 points of his own for the Firebirds. The two fall inside the Top 10 in scoring in the GMC — a conference that features some of the best players in the city and some future NCAA Division 1 players. Sophomore forward Alex Afari is also getting it done on the boards for Lakota West as he collects over seven rebounds per contest.

Numbers To Know:

43.25

This is the amount of points that the opposition is averaging against La Salle throughout the first four games of the season. The Lancers prove to get it done on the defensive end and will not give you anything easy but will they be able to continue that success today against the high-scoring Firebirds?

42.3

When Lakota West is at their best, it’s when Carter Combs and Julian Mackey are putting the ball in the basket. In their three wins this season, the two are averaging 42.3 points combined. In the lone loss against Turpin to open the season, the two finished with just 31 points.

0

Something has to give. Coming into this contest, the Lancers have a 0 in the loss column. But there is also a 0 in the loss column for Lakota West on their home floor this year with wins coming against Middletown and Princeton. Even though it is early, someone is gonna suffer either their first home loss or their first loss overall.

Ohio Valley Hoops Classic Recap: Nate Johnson, Max Land, Kionte Thomas shine

MASON, Ohio — The annual Ohio Valley Hoops Classic kicked off today and the event featured some top programs and prospects that the midwest has to offer. Let’s take a brief look at how the contests featuring Cincinnati teams played out.

Wilmington vs Licking Heights – Friday, 12:30 PM

Kicking things off for the OVHC was Wilmington taking on Licking Heights from the Columbus area. Senior guard Cam Coomer, the Hurricane’s top leading scorer a year ago, was the high point man in the contest with 21 points. Unfortunately for the Hurricane, the disparity in the second period was just too much to overcome as they outscored the Hornets in every other quarter and ended up falling short despite a last ditch effort, 68-61.

Winton Woods vs Roger Bacon – Friday, 2:15 PM

The first contest involving two area teams on Friday came when the Warriors and the Spartans went toe-to-toe in a game that took more than regulation to complete. Roger Bacon had their way with Winton Woods all game until the fourth quarter came about. The Warriors pressured the ball all the way up the floor and got some timely takeaways and defensive stops when they needed it most. They rode the hot hand of senior forward Aaron Ward (21 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), who put together the best performance of the contest, and were able to make up a 14 point deficit to send it to the extra period. However, it was the Spartans that got it done in the overtime period. The Roger Bacon trio of senior center Mason Cromer, senior forward Josiah McGee, and junior guard Marjoni Tate helped pave the way to the Spartans 62-57 victory.

Lakota East vs Taft – Friday, 4:00 PM

In a contest between two of the very best that Cincinnati has to offer, it was the Senators that initially got off to a good start in this one. However, once the second quarter arrived, it quickly turned into the Nate Johnson show for the better part of the game as the junior guard for Lakota East completely took over. The aggressive and attacking Johnson finished the contest with 28 points and shot almost 77% from the floor. The Thunderhawks also got solid contributions from sophomore guard Kobe Peck (12 points) and senior forward Alex Mangold (15 points, 11 rebounds). Despite a late run from Taft and senior forward Nekhi Smith, who finished with 18 points of his own, Lakota East was able to hang on and walk away victorious, 75-65.

Moeller vs Lutheran East – Friday, 5:45 PM

Coming into their regular season opener, on Friday, Moeller was looking to extend their 53-game winning streak against Lutheran East, who made the trek down from Cleveland. Despite a slow start for the Crusaders that resulted in just a two point advantage after the first quarter, it was their performance in the next two periods that pushed them out of reach from the Falcons. Moeller junior center Logan Duncomb (18 points, 13 rebounds) and senior guard Max Land (25 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) proved to be too much to handle in this one as the Crusaders rolled, 79-58.

Mason vs Carmel (IN) – Friday, 7:30 PM

After waiting for the completion of four contests on Friday, it was finally time for the Comets to protect their own home floor against the Greyhounds. Mason senior forward Jack Cooper gave Carmen (IN) all they could handle with a line that featured 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. The seesaw affair resulted in Mason being on the losing end of a tight contest as the opposition came in and defeated the Comets, 61-54. It was the Greyhounds ability to get to the charity stripe that was a deciding factor in this one.

CHCA vs Fairland – Saturday, 11:15 AM

On Saturday, the OVHC got things started with Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy facing off against Fairland. The first half featured a tight one between the two programs. But in the end, Clayton Thomas‘ ability to knock down timely triples loomed large as the Dragons outpaced senior forward Billy Southerland (19 points) and the Eagles, 59-50.

Turpin vs Canal Winchester – Saturday, 1:00 PM

This was a contest that I feel was under appreciated at the event this weekend. It was a battle between the junior backcourt of Dominic Cantrella and Jackson Holt against the Indians duo of Cole Metzler and Bilal Sow. Both of the respective duos combined for 32 points in the game but it was the Spartans night thanks in part to some big buckets late by the aforementioned Cantrella to secure the victory, 57-51.

Hughes vs London – Saturday, 4:30 PM

One thing I personally was looking forward to on Saturday was getting a glimpse what Hughes had to offer against London and their star Trey Woodyard. It’s safe to say that the Big Red opened plenty of eyes in this one. Hughes was able to get the contributions from junior guard Camron Mckenzie and senior forward Anthony Felder, who spent last year at Shroder. But it was the clinic put on by senior guard Kionte Thomas that will be remembered in this one. Thomas torched the Red Raiders for 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists and would lead the Big Red to an impressive win, 67-53.

Woodward vs Jeffersonville (IN) – Saturday, 6:15 PM

The capper for the Cincinnati area teams came in a contest that came down to the wire. Early on, it was all Jeffersonville (IN), as the Red Devils led by 12 after the first 8 minutes of action. Looking back, that was probably the difference in this one. The Bulldogs dug themselves in a hole thanks in part to the monsterous showing by senior forward Tre Coleman (Nevada commit) of Jeffersonville. All in all, I thought the ability for Woodward to handle adversity and claw their way back into the contest was impressive alone. Sophomore guard Paul McMillan IV led the Bulldogs with 20 points despite being on the short end of the 57-53 defeat.

Elite Open Gym Session One: Team Previews

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Tomorrow marks session one of the Triple Double Prospects/275 Hoops Elite Open Gym at Walnut Hills Junior High School. As you may have seen, the rosters are littered with some of the very best local talent. Let’s take a deeper dive into what each team will have to work with on Saturday.

Team Cincinnati

NamePositionSchoolClass
DeAirius BarkerGPrinceton2020
AJ BraunCBishop Fenwick2021
Gabe CuppsGCenterville2023
Rayvon GriffithFTaft2023
Evan MahaffeyFMoeller2022
Will McCrackenFMoeller2021
Greg StewartGAiken2020
Montev WareGWoodward2021

Team Cincinnati will roll out the second youngest group in the building on Saturday. The six upperclassmen is tied for the lowest among the eight teams. However, they do have two rising seniors at their disposal in DeAirius Barker and Greg Stewart. In addition to them, you will find two rising juniors in AJ Braun and Will McCracken that have Division 1 offers under their belt. Montev Ware had no problem filling up the scoring column when we saw him in June and July. Top that off with an immensely talented underclassmen core of Gabe Cupps, Rayvon Griffith, and Evan Mahaffey and it definitely looks like a team that could have a ton of success in transition with their athleticism and pure scoring ability.

Team Indiana

NamePositionSchoolClass
Will BurnsFWoodward2020
Robbie CassGAiken2021
Matt DahlingGSummit Country Day2021
Simon EdwardsFWithrow2020
Tom HouseFCenterville2022
Ivan MasonFWithrow2020
Tyler MontagueGVandalia Butler2021
Tre MunsonGDeer Park2021
Rich RolfFCenterville2022
Kionte ThomasGHughes2020

Team Indiana features a nice blend of players with four rising seniors, three juniors, and three sophomores in their arsenal. This squad has an intriguing few in the backcourt with Robbie Cass, Tre Munson, Kionte Thomas, and Matt Dahling — younger brother of Alex Dahling who is playing Division 2 basketball for Lincoln-Memorial University. Will Burns is a skillful big that will help in the interior. They will also have a top ten scorer in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference last season in Ivan Mason and his Tiger teammate Simon Edwards. Lastly, making their way down from the Dayton area will be a trio of Tom House, Tyler Montague, and Rich Rolf.

Team Kentucky

NamePositionSchoolClass
Aboubacar CisseFWestern Hills2022
Kahlil DavisGPrinceton2020
Willie HillFMeadowdale2021
Trey RobinsonFHamilton2020
Brayden SippleGBlanchester2021
Nekhi SmithFTaft2020
Jakada StoneGAiken2021
Kelvin TurnerGPrinceton2021
Demetrius WatkinsGWestern Hills2020

Team Kentucky will bring in a plethora of upperclassmen into the gym on Saturday led by Trey Robinson, Nekhi Smith, and Brayden Sipple — the Southern Buckeye Conference’s top scorer and a top five rebounder just a season ago. At the guard position, Team Kentucky has some weapons that can attack you in different ways with Kahlil Davis, Jakada Stone, Kelvin Turner, and Demetrius Watkins. Rounding out this crew is the lone underclassman in Aboubacar Cisse and another Dayton area talent in Willie Hill.

Team Louisville

NamePositionSchoolClass
Chanze AmersonGThurgood Marshall2021
Steve GentryGDeer Park2020
Mitchell GreerFMason2020
Greg JohnsonGPrinceton2021
Davion MaceCWoodward2020
Anthony McCombGThurgood Marshall2021
Camron McKenzieGHughes2021
LeRoy WalkerGTaft2021
Mark WiseGDeer Park2020

Team Louisville will present the only cast that does not feature either a rising sophomore or freshman. They are the most experienced bunch with five seniors and four juniors to work with. A trio of top Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference prospects in Davion Mace, Camron McKenzie, and LeRoy Walker stand out immediately. The familiarity of the Deer Park duo of Steve Gentry and Mark Wise should make things a little easier for this squad. The Greater Miami Conference is also well represented here with Mitchell Greer and Greg Johnson. 937 teammates Chanze Amerson and Anthony McComb will also make their way down to compete with this group.

Team Michigan

NamePositionSchoolClass
BJ BransfordGSt. Xavier2020
Maro EgodotayeCCarroll2021
Mike GrantFWalnut Hills2020
Jaylen LemonsGLa Salle2020
Kanye MorelandGWoodward2023
Zavian RicksGFairfield2020
Ben SoutherlandFCHCA2022
Nic SmithCWalnut Hills2020
Kollin TolbertGMount Healthy2022
Aaron WardFWinton Woods2020

Team Michigan will provide some veterans at the guard position with rising seniors BJ Bransford, Jaylen Lemons, and Zavian Ricks. With that being said, the young Kanye Moreland and Kollin Tolbert will have no problem showing that they belong as well. Manning the middle for this group will be Dayton area big man Maro Egodotaye, Ben Southerland, Aaron Ward, Mike Grant and Nic Smith. The latter two will be looking to put on a show to protect their home floor.

Team Ohio State

NamePositionSchoolClass
Jared BaldockGPurcell Marian2020
Kyle CardenasFTaft2020
Carter CombsGLakota West2020
Aaron DavisGWoodward2021
Kodee HollowayGFinneytown2021
Allen LattimoreGStivers2021
Julian MackeyGLakota West2021
Kobe PeckGLakota East2022
Isaiah RameyGCedarville2021
Owen SpencerCTurpin2020

Team Ohio State is loaded with backcourt prospects that can get it done. Coming from Lakota West, you will see the dynamic duo of Carter Combs and Julian Mackey. You can always expect Aaron Davis to get it done defensively and shine in transition opportunities. Jared Baldock, Kodee Holloway, and Kobe Peck round out the gifted collection of guards. Despite being a guard heavy squad, Kyle Cardenas and Owen Spencer — one of the best big men in the area — will look to hold things down on the interior. Allen Lattimore and Isaiah Ramey will join the group from the Dayton area.

Team Purdue

NamePositionSchoolClass
LeBraun BerryFAiken2022
Jacob ConnerGAlter2022
Dre KindellGReading2021
Sellers LittleGTrotwood Madison2021
Kristopher McClureFSt. Xavier2021
Carter MimsGTrotwood Madison2021
Alexander ParksGCovington Catholic2023
Zion ReynoldsGWestern Hills2021
Chandler StarksCCovington Catholic2023
Marjoni TateGRoger Bacon2021

Team Purdue will undoubtedly be the youngest team of the bunch despite having six rising juniors in the fold. Two immensely talented freshman that will run with this group are Alexander Parks and Chandler Starks. At the forward spot, you will see LeBraun Berry and Kristopher McClure. In the backcourt, you will see Dre Kindell, Marjoni Tate, and Zion Reynolds — a long, impressive scorer that shined this past month on the AAU circuit. From the Dayton area, Team Purdue will also welcome Jacob Conner, Sellers Little, and Carter Mims.

Team Xavier

NamePositionSchoolClass
Jackson AmesCWest Clermont2020
Kaleb CrawfordGPrinceton2020
Nate JohnsonGLakota East2021
Max LandGMoeller2020
Michael McCantsFGamble Montessori2020
Paul McMillan IVGWoodward2022
Shawn PhillipsCBelmont2022
Isaiah WalkerFWyoming2021

Team Xavier will come in with an immensely talented cast of characters that includes five players with Division 1 offers — Miami (OH) commit Jackson Ames, Nate Johnson, Max Land, Paul McMillan IV, and Shawn Phillips. At the forward spot, Team Xavier will have two top ten scores in their respective conferences in Michael McCants and Isaiah Walker. Add the attacking and aggressive Kaleb Crawford to that and you have a team that might be difficult to take down.

Lakota West Shootout: Top Performers

WEST CHESTER, Ohio — This past Friday and Saturday featured plenty of action for the 275 Hoops crew to take in on the hardwood at the home of the Firebirds. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts from the first two days at Lakota West High School, who put on a great event.

Carter Combs (6’1 WG / Lakota West / 2020): Last season, Combs finished as one of the best scorers in the Greater Miami Conference and it isn’t hard to see why. Combs was getting it done especially off of misses as he just simply beat the defense back for easy buckets on many occasions. In the halfcourt, he has shown the ability to make you pay from distance but he also likes to put the ball on the deck after ball fakes and finish at the rim. In the contest against Deer Park, Combs showed out with a 25-point outing. He impacted games in every way and his passing ability was one thing that specifically stood out. He was willing to find his teammates in open spots and he did it often through the two days we watched.

Julian Mackey (6’1 CG / Lakota West / 2021): Another standout this past weekend was another piece of the Lakota West backcourt. Mackey, who was in Georgia last year, has came over to the area and quickly made a statement. He is taking on a role of being a primary ball-handler in the Firebirds offense and has lit it up from everywhere on the floor in both events that we watched him. Another impressive thing that Mackey displays is his effort level on the defensive end. He will make life as tough as he possibly can for any one he has the task of covering. From what we have seen, it’s hard not to expect a big year for the newest Firebird.

Kollin Tolbert (6’0 PG / Mount Healthy / 2022): We were aware of Tolbert prior to our launch day and we got our first look at him at a Deer Park shootout a couple of weekends ago in which he played well. However, he turned it up a notch at Lakota West. Tolbert is at his best when he is going downhill and getting to the cup. He shows off a nice spin move when driving and can finish with layups in traffic or drop in a floater if he needs. The rising sophomore is also effective in the mid-range area with a reliable 15-foot jumper. The Fighting Owls point guard even knocked in a few three-pointers in the games we watched. One thing that stood out to me about Tolbert was his willingness to help his teammates on the glass. In the games against Badin, Indian Hill, and Woodward, Tolbert grabbed six rebounds in all three contests.

Aaron Ward (6’6 PF / Winton Woods / 2020): As far as big men, no one looked better than Ward through the two days we were able to attend. Make no mistake, he’s the main scorer for Winton Woods and he did not disappoint. In the first game we watched against Lakota West, Ward casually dropped 23 points and was a tough cover when in close for the Firebirds. He followed that up with 20 points in an overtime win against Northwest — a game that he even showed off his ability to knock down shots from distance as he hit two from long-range. Ward, even at 6-foot-6, is one of the main ball-handlers for the Warriors and he has no problem with taking on that role. The rising senior is definitely one of the more entertaining players to watch in the area due to his ability to handle the ball and how he finishes at the rim. In the final game on Saturday, Ward put a cap on his performance with a posterizing dunk against Deer Park.

Montev Ware (5’10 CG / Woodward / 2021): The former Mustang of Western Hills has made his decision to play for Coach Redden and Woodward this upcoming season and he has wasted no time getting acclimated with his new teammates. Ware played well when we seen him at the Ohio State and NKU team camps earlier this month but his performance on Saturday was special. Against Mount Healthy, Ware gave the Fighting Owls 17 points in the first half that came from a variety of ways. The Bulldogs guard showed his ability to finish inside, knock down pull-up jumpers in the mid-range area, and he seems to thrive on three-pointers from the corner. Ware would finish the contest with a team-high 26-points and 4 rebounds.

Honorable Mentions

Iyashu Adams (6’1 CG / Mount Healthy / 2021), Brandon Baltimore (5’11 CG / Northwest / 2021 ), Will Burns (6’6 PF / Woodward / 2020), Will Cluxton (5’8 PG / Elder / 2020) Aaron Davis (6’0 CG / Woodward / 2021), Mateo Lopez ( 6’0 CG / Indian Hill / 2021), Kendal Phillips ( 5’8 PG / Winton Woods / 2020), Zach Switzer (6’5 PF / Badin / 2020), Ty Thornton (6’4 PF / Indian Hill / 2022).

Games watched

Winton Woods vs Lakota West. Badin vs Mt. Healthy. Winton Woods vs Northwest. Indian Hill vs Mt. Healthy. Lakota West vs Northwest. Woodward vs Mt. Healthy. Deer Park vs Lakota West. Woodward vs Winton Woods. Mt. Healthy vs Lakota West. Elder vs Badin. Deer Park vs Winton Woods.