Author: Bret Favachio

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.

Results

Team1234T
Wilmington Hurricane187181861
Licking Heights Hornets1622131768

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.

Results

Team1234OTT
Winton Woods Warriors12131318157
Roger Bacon Spartans1718165662

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.

Results

Team1234T
Lakota East Thunderhawks1126211775
Taft Senators199122565

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.

Results

Team1234T
Moeller Crusaders1325192279
Lutheran East Falcons111462758

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.

Results

Team1234T
Moeller Crusaders1325192279
Lutheran East Falcons111462758

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.

Results

Team1234T
CHCA Eagles815111650
Fairland Dragons1312122259

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.

Results

Team1234T
Turpin Spartans1111161957
Canal Winchester Indians716121651

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.

Results

Team1234T
Hughes Big Red1912201667
London Red Raiders713102353

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.

Results

Team1234T
Woodward Bulldogs712112353
Jeffersonville (IN) Red Devils199171257

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.

Deer Park Shootout: Top Performers

CINCINNATI, Ohio — The latest stop for 275 Hoops came on Saturday when we headed to Deer Park High School to check out a loaded event put on by Head Coach Steve Gentry and the Wildcats. Let’s take a look at the kids that stood out as some of the best performers in the building.

Mark Wise (6’3 CG/Deer Park/2020): It was more of the same this weekend for the Wildcats all-time leading scorer. Wise, a rising senior, put on a show with his ability to find high percentage looks in close and used his frame to absorb contact when inside. He showed off his unselfishness as a player by setting up the other Deer Park talent on the court. It’s really simple, Wise is a Division 1 talent on the hardwood and that’s not hard to see but it’s the little things about him that stood out on Saturday. Wise is the type of guy that wants to see his teammates make plays and when they do, he cheers on his guys unlike anyone I have seen. Perhaps the biggest thing that I personally took from the entire event is seeing how badly Wise wanted to be victorious in their final scrimmage against St. Xavier. He gave everything he had until the clock hit triple zeros. When I went to chat with him after the final whistle, he was visibly upset with the outcome and it showed me just how much he cares about winning — a quality trait. College coaches that want a ball player, leader, great teammate, and winner on their team should look no further than Wise.

Nekhi Smith (6’6 PF/Taft/2020): It was our first time getting a look at Smith in person and the first thing that stood out was that he has a college ready body right now. He looks like he could be a starting small forward at the Division 1 level and you can just just tell it would be hard to stay in front of him if having the task to defend him — and he was. Smith got to the rim at will by out-muscling defenders or blowing by them off of the dribble and he made the most of his opportunities in the paint including a few monster throw downs and some nice finishes through contact. Smith will let it fly from the perimeter and does not lack the confidence when doing so. Against Badin, the rising senior that shot 36% from distance last season, had a stretch in which he knocked down three triples in a row from the corner. For now, Smith holds a low major offer to his name but I would expect that to change — especially with his final season with the Senators on deck.

Steve Gentry Jr. (5’11 PG/Deer Park/2020): Gentry was a tough guard all night for the opposition. His composure, quickness and ability to handle the ball allowed him to beat pressure and get into the interior of the defense seemingly whenever he wanted to. When he got there, Gentry converted some successful drives whether that meant having to elevate over defenders for layups or using his floater. His aggressiveness was rewarded as the Wildcat point guard got to the line with consistency. One of the best passers in the Cincinnati Hills League, averaging over five per night, also dropped of some nice dimes to open teammates when help arrived. On another note, Gentry can get it done on the defensive end as well as his active hands turned into several steals and deflections for Deer Park.

Greg Stewart (6’4 WG/Aiken/2020): The only game we were able to take in for Aiken this weekend was against Deer Park. However, Stewart looked really good when driving inside against the Wildcats. Through two viewings of the upcoming senior for the Falcons, he’s been one of best at getting to and finishing at the bucket. The lefty is very athletic and he just glides through the air. He offers some finesse with a euro-step that he likes to use at times but don’t get it twisted, he will put you on a poster if the opportunity arises. Stewart is mostly looked at as a slasher but he dialed in some three’s against the Wildcats as well. We are definitely excited to see how Stewart progresses as the season gets inches closer.

Kodee Holloway (6’1 CG/Finneytown/2021): A new name for us as we continue to discover the talent in the area. Holloway stood out to me when pushing the pace and getting out in transition. Despite delivering on two shots from beyond the arc, his contest against the Firebirds was littered with successful drives off of turnovers and/or missed shots. He’s an intriguing kid and definitely one to keep your eye on. After what we saw, last years 10.8 point average seems like a sure fire bet to see a bump for his junior campaign.

Julian Mackey (6’1 CG/Lakota West/2021): Much like Holloway, here is another kid that we weren’t aware of prior to Saturday. He got our attention in that same game that Holloway got our attention and it was immediate. Mackey is a right-handed rising junior that has no problem using his left hand. He can shoot it from distance and had it working in the mid-range area as he drained a couple of the pull-up variety against the Wildcats of Finneytown. Mackey also likes to equip his euro-step when he gets down by the trees. For my money, he was the most impressive player in the early slate of games.

Demetrius Watkins (6’0 CG/Western Hills/2020): For Coach Stokes, Watkins provided a ton of energy and effort on the defensive side of the ball. The Mustangs rising senior guard put pressure on opposing ball handlers in both the half court and when chasing them down the length of the floor. In doing so, he was able to force a few turnovers for the undefeated Mustangs on the day. Lastly, Watkins excelled in the open court on Saturday while using both hands and didn’t allow contact to phase him at the tin.

Honorable Mention: Jackson Ames (6’11 C/West Clermont/2020), Dekarion Branch (6’2 CG/Western Hill/2021), Mickel Clay (6’4 C/Finneytown/2020), Carter Combs (6’1 WG/Lakota West/2020), Curtis Harrison (6’6 PF/Seven Hills/2020), Tre Munson (6’1 CG/Deer Park/2021), Isaiah Myers (WG/Colerain/2022), Julien Norman (6’1 CG/Western Hills/2021) Tony Russell Jr. (5’10 CG/Western Hills/2022), Jakada Stone (6’0 PG/Aiken/2021), Kollin Tolbert (6’0 PG/Mount Healthy/2022), Kelvin Turner II (5’10 CG/Lakota West/2021), LeRoy Walker Jr. (6’2 WG/Taft/2020) Aaron Ward (6’6 PF/Winton Woods/2020).

Ohio State Team Camp: Day 1 Top Performers

Columbus, Ohio — 275 Hoops was in attendance for Day one of Ohio State’s team camp. A solid collection of teams were in action on Thursday and we had the opportunity to get a good look at some Queen City prospects that rose to the occasion in the Schottenstein Center. Let’s take a look at our top performers.

Rising Seniors

Davion Mace (6’7 C/Woodward/2020): The Bulldogs got their first taste of competition on Thursday when they battled Columbus Northland. Immediately Mace would make his presence known as he cleaned up on the defensive boards and his length made things difficult in close for the Vikings. Mace did a fine job at altering shots all game including a massive block in the first half. Mace, widely considered one of the best big men in the city, showed off his ability to finish strong at the rim in both showings with quite a few dunks — two being off of lobs against London and he also offered up a powerful putback dunk to clean up a teammates miss in their opening game of the day. The senior will be vital to the Bulldogs success in the upcoming season and our initial viewing of Mace did not disappoint.

Rising Juniors

CamRon Mckenzie (6’1 CG/Hughes/2021): Despite only being able to catch Hughes in action one time on Thursday, Mckenzie put on a performance similar to his outing at the Hughes Summer Shoot-Out last weekend. Mckenzie got downhill and was able to finish at the rim. He also had continued success in the mid-range area and dropped in a few three’s from the right corner — which seems to be his favorite spot on the perimeter. He will likely be one of the best scorers in the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference again and quite frankly, through the two events that we’ve covered so far, I can’t say that I’ve seen a better pure scorer in the area than Mckenzie.

Aaron Davis (5’11 PG/Woodward/2021): The defensive intensity and non-stop motor showcased in the initial contest against Columbus Northland was what drew our eyes to Davis. He had active hands all throughout the day which helped the Bulldogs get a few run outs and easy buckets. Davis also had his own fair share of success by pushing the pace and scoring in transition including a nifty up and under layup in their last game. Davis is one of those players that every winning team needs. Energy and effort can take you a long way in basketball and those are two things that were written all over his performance at Ohio State.

Rising Sophomores

Paul McMillan IV (6’1 PG/Woodward/2022): It simply didn’t take long to see just how special the star in the Woodward backcourt is. There was a handful of times that McMillan blew by his defender and left him in the rear view with his first step, allowing one of Ohio’s best players regardless of class, to finish at the rim. However, he also showed the ability to throw the lob to the aforementioned Mace at times when the help would arrive. McMillan can get wherever he wants on the floor and is a tough guard when isolated thanks to some nice crossover moves. Furthermore, he can get a bucket from anywhere on the floor. He even drilled a shot from the mid-court logo to beat the halftime buzzer in an eventual victory. An impressive day for the Bulldogs leader was capped off by a brief conversation with Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, who made his way down to the court after the victory over the Red Raiders — the Bulldogs final game of the night.

Rising Freshman

Rayvon Griffith (6’4 WF/Hughes/2023): Hughes got off to a slow start in the first handful of minutes against Canal Winchester. But it was Griffith who ignited the team, knocking down a three from the left corner and a dunk courtesy of a behind-the-back feed from Mckenzie on a fastbreak. He had 10 of the teams first 24 points and ultimately the Big Red would cruise leading by 17 at the end of the first half. The Indians would fight back in the second half and managed to cut the deficit to just 1. However, Griffith had a stretch late in the contest where he hit a pull-up three and sealed the contest with a steal in the open court that he would throw down to stretch the lead to 6. Through 3 games that we’ve seen from Griffith, we’ve seen his athleticism, pull-up jumper, and ability to knock down the corner three in both settings. Despite being the new guy for the Big Red, he will definitely be a big part of their offensive success. It was him and Mckenzie who poured it on in the win against Canal Winchester.

Kanye Moreland (5’10 CG/Woodward/2023): We were aware of Moreland prior to Thursday but we weren’t sure how much he would be used for Woodward. After an admirable performance that included his ability to drive to the rim, knock down contested shots, and help control the rock when McMillan was off floor tells me that he could very well play a big role for Coach Redden and the Bulldogs. The eye-opening display put on by Moreland was topped off when he put together a pair of filthy moves against London. One was a smooth baseline reverse layup. The other came when he pushed the ball up the floor after a made shot from the opposition and pulled a filthy euro-step out of his bag that sent the defender to the floor. What I saw yesterday makes me think that Moreland has a chance to be exceptional on the hardwood and it won’t take long for others to know about this kid.

Other Notable Performances

Kaleb Crawford (6’2 PG/Princeton), Bowen Hardman (6’3 WG/Princeton/2022), Montev Ware (5’10 PG/Woodward/2021).

Summer Shoot-Out: Top Performers

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Launch Day for 275 Hoops will be remembered as nothing other than a success. The crew was down at Hughes High School and immediately hit the ground running. Head coach Bryan Wyant of the Big Red held his ninth-annual Summer Shoot-Out that featured nine teams and showcased a talented cast of hoopers from the Queen City and he gave us the opportunity to take in the action. Let’s dive in to some players that stood out Saturday:


Rising Seniors

Greg Stewart (6’3 SF/Aiken/2020): The highlight of the entire day was when the senior took flight and threw it down over a Toledo Start defender that drew quite a reaction from those watching. Stewart showed a constant ability to get to the rim for Aiken and delivered more often than not when he did so. I overheard others stating that Stewart definitely improved his game since the conclusion of last season. From what we saw, we are anticipating that Stewart will put a nice cap on his high school career with the Falcons and he will likely play a more extensive role for the Purple and Gold with last year’s leading scorer D’Arris Dean graduating.

Mark Wise (6’4 SG/Deer Park/2020): The senior guard for the Wildcats has the prowess to get to the rim and battle down in the box. For Wise, Saturday was more of the same for him as the city is already well aware of his expertise at putting the ball in the hoop seeing that he sits atop Deer Park’s All-Time scoring list but he showed off his unselfishness and willingness to get others around him involved and did a good job on the glass this weekend. From a leadership standpoint, Wise stood out by being vocal on the defensive end and uplifting his teammates when needed. Wise seemed to have the most college ready body in the gym yesterday.

Rising Juniors

CamRon Mckenzie (6’1 SG/Hughes/2021): I’m not sure there was a better pure scorer in the gym than Mckenzie. He does it in a variety of ways. He can get it done on the perimeter and he got to the rim with success, much like he did against Thurgood Marshall in the final contest of the event where he delivered an impressive spin move and floater in the lane. He additionally has the strength to finish through contact. Expect a bigger responsibility to be placed on Mckenzie with Paul McMillan IV off to Woodward and another big year for the junior who averaged 15.7 for the Big Red last season.

Kaden Warner (5’10 PG/Gamble Montessori/2021): The very first game that we saw at the event was the Gators squaring off against Colerain. Warner immediately flashed with his aggressiveness on the offensive end and his artistry when handling the ball. For my money, Warner had the best vision and even added some flair on his passes when it came to finding teammates. There may be some that have concerns with the size of the junior but nonetheless, he got it done and was big-time this weekend. Perhaps my personal favorite trait that the junior guard showed was his effort and hustle. There was several times that I saw Warner diving on the floor for loose balls. That is a tone-setter for the guys around you

Rising Freshmen

Rayvon Griffith (6’4 SF/Hughes/2023): Just like we’ve all already become accustomed to, the newest addition to Hughes has elite athleticism. He had a nice throw down in transition and elevated over a Columbus South defender that would have been his very first poster dunk had he finished it off. Athleticism aside, the freshman phenom also can be productive outside of the paint and often goes to a pull-up jumper when the time calls for it. The soon-to-be freshman was a key piece in all three of the games that he played on Saturday despite only having three open gym’s with his new team under his belt. Once they work out all of the kinks and the familiarity comes, this will be another stud for Coach Wyant and the Big Red.

275 Hoops wants to thank everyone involved on Saturday for making our launch day a success. We were able to meet some of the coaches, fans, and players throughout the city of Cincinnati and we look forward to building a relationship with everyone and providing you guys with the best content this city has ever seen.