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.

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