Taylor Brown and Sky Forrest (Cordova) Defending Avant Blueitt (White Station)
With the hawk outside and I’m not talking about Atlanta’s NBA team, fans filled White Station Middle in a battle of my #1 and #2 teams in the city to see for now, who’s the best? White Station, led by Trey Davis, Braxton Winford and Calvin Temple or Cordova’s extremely talented and big team but young. Well for most part, it went as though I thought it would, both teams came out intense from the jump and White Station threw the first blow of the game, jumping up 12-3 early before White Station quickly countered with a 10-0 run of their own and were immediately back in the ball game. 7th grader Ryan Dortch hit a 3 and 6’2 Braxton Winford who was big early but was saddled with his 2nd foul in the second quarter with 2:54 remaining as the Spartans found themselves down 1, 26-25 at the half. 8th grade G/F CJ Garner got an and 1 to go as Station went up 2 but it was two treys, one by Calvin Temple who I thought played well and another by Sky Forrest who had a team 22 points to end the 3rd that really got the crowd excited about what the 4th would be like.
Joe Cooper who had 17 points and 6 helpers found Forrest for a basket to make 46-41 with 4:30 left. The thing that I thought couldn’t happen for them happened though with 4:30 left in the game when Winford fouled out and another thing started to happen too for White Station, key turnovers. 3 in a row led a run that made it 51-43 but White Station wasn’t done fighting just yet. Another and 1 by Garner and a steal by Trey Davis cut it to 56-52 but every time it seemed as though White Station might inch closer late, there was another 2 points added by Cordova’s DJ Jeffries who had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Cooper found Forrest to end it for another 2 points plus the free one as Cordova got a key win, their second one of the season, 68-59.
I thought Sky Forrest played really well for Cordova, he didn’t what was needed, he defended and made scoring plays. After Temple’s 3 in the 3rd, he came right behind him in what I thought was a momentum swing for Cordova going into the 4th quarters. White Station turned it over a few times in the 4th as well and as most know, you can’t turn it over against a good team, especially one with the talent of Cordova as they will make you pay for your mistakes. White Station had opportunities I thought but when Winford went down, I knew it would be tougher to pull out the win against Cordova but White Station is still 6-1 and a very good team. Great game by two teams who could see each other down the stretch run of the season.
Sky Forrest 6'1 (Cordova Middle) Game High 22 Points.
Cordova Has The #1 In The City
Braxton Winford And The Spartans Are #2 In 901PrepScoop's Top 5
1 VS 2
In this early season match up, this is the most highly anticipated game of the young season thus far. 1 vs 2 in my middle school top 5, guard play vs guard play, former Tiger versus former Tiger (Coach Mcclain and Coach Newsome). Cordova’s young but experienced youth features 4 7th grader starters versus 5 8th grade starters for White Station. Cordova made it to the state sectionals last year, White Station was a game away last year setting up for what we will see tomorrow, the city’s two best teams, for the chance to say, who has the best team in the city, albeit, early.
What are the keys for both teams if they must win? For Cordova, keep Trey Davis from getting going early, scoring the ball, don’t let Calvin Temple get going from 3 and keep an athletic, strong Braxton Winford off the boards and scoring inside. All those things though, easier said than done though over 24 minutes of basketball. Point guard Joe Cooper must be careful of picking up fouls early where he will be forced to sit for any length of time. Davis will be the best pg that he has played against thus far and also must be careful of getting into a one on one battle with him. DJ Jeffries who can play 2 or 3 spots for Cordova will have opportunities along with Shemar Brown to attack Winford and they must do that to force them to have to go small or young by bringing in Rodney Mason (White Station) a talented but young 6th grader. If Cordova plays some zone, they must block out Winford when the ball is shot to keep him off the offensive glass but also close out when 3 pointers are shot. Sky Forrest, a 6’1 guard who can knock shots and must do so in this game but another player who could have a good game if not taken notice of, Taylor Brown, a 5’11 forward who will be relied upon for defense and rebounding. If Cooper is on his game, Cordova will be hard to beat and his teammates along with himself have been in big games time and time again. If he’s hampered by early foul trouble, they are much more vulnerable to a good White Station team who will be very amped up at their home gym.
For White Station, off Cordova’s press, they must score easy points and do not turn the ball over, I repeat, do not turn the ball over. Cordova thrives off turnovers and if not careful, before White Station will be able to break a sweat, they will be down 6-10 points off the press. Much like Davis, Cooper will be the best pg that he has faced, Trey must make opportunities for his teammates to score. He must defend well, he must make his teammates better and be the point guard instead of “points’ guard. He can do, he an extremely talented player who I could be a nice pg on the next level and beyond. He’s a top 5 guard in middle, this is the game to show and possibly show that he’s the best pg in middle school.
Calvin Temple is new to the middle school scene in Memphis, well at least playing during the regular season here. I’ve heard it time and time, he’s the best shooter in 2018 in the city, well, let’s see it but to many misses could lead to long rebounds and transition points for Cordova. Avant Blueitt is a player who’s undervalued locally. He will be a vital part if they win because of his ability to defend and score as well. He could draw defending Cooper or another reserve guard for White Station, Cheran Taylor. Winford’s athleticism and strength are his how you say, strengths , both of those attributes will give Cordova trouble. He must be careful not to pick up cheap fouls either. If he’s a double double guy, like 15 and 15 type game and not let Cordova’s bigger line up control the glass, I think it gives White Station a slight edge inside. CJ Garner must also be able to keep Brown and Jeffries from going crazy inside. He’s tough but undersized however, he is strong enough to hold his own. Another key for White Station might be Kevon Woodley and point Ryan Dortch who both will be in he second unity. Winford cannot be in foul trouble at all other wise they have to bring in a talented big but young Rodney Mason, a 6th grader. This game could go either way, youthful experience vs older experience? Turnovers be the key for White Station? One way to see it all, tomorrow night, White Station Middle, 6:15.
Can Coach Mcclain Get The Upset?
16AAA, Still The Best District In The City
16AAA has been the city’s best district for the last few years without much debate with powerhouses Melrose, Central and White Station recently dominating the city and when the Lawson brothers moved to Hamilton, another team made itself formidable. That sentiment though hasn’t been echoed lately as some have said that the district this year would no longer be the best. Why? Well for starters, Melrose lost their entire team due to a coaching change and player transferal, Whitehaven was decimated by transfer and East lost now Memphis freshman Nick King and feature maybe the youngest team in the city but judging by last night’s performance, 16AAA still reign’s supreme. Last night was a chance to prove that maybe that wasn’t the case with a now pretty good Houston team and a chance to make a name for themselves by beating the 5th best team in the country according to ESPN.
6'7 Terrence Birdsong Adds Toughness & Scoring To Hamilton
White Station wasn’t having it though as they marched to an early lead in the 2nd quarter and got it up to almost 25-26 pt lead in the 3rd. Houston fought late but it was to late as they won it 82-66 behind 5 players in double figures with Chris Chiozza leading the way 18 points. They are deep at the guard spot with Nych Smith, a scoring pg capable of big scoring nights, Davell Roby, a St.Louis commit, Dillon Mitchell, who missed last year and 2 sport standout who maybe the best pg in the 2016 class. He will come off the bench, yes off the bench along with who some consider the best freshman in the city, Blake Williams. 6’7 Derrick Dandridge is another long forward who will give big minutes at the 4-5 spot and Curtis Phillips can play the guard spot or forward spot for Coach Patino and of course they have this guy named Leron Black, you may have heard of him. White Station has the best team in the city followed by another district foe, Hamilton who comes in at 2 in most people’s minds with the Lawson Brothers, KJ and Dedric, 6’7 Terrance Birdsong and Romero Hill. They will challenge White Station in regular season matchups and it could go either way when they play. I see possibly 4 matchups this season for both teams. Hamilton’s big and talented and very capable of making a state run with other contributors like Chrishaun Brown, 6’4 Tyren Collier and 6’3 Calvin Bunting. There isn’t a better duo in the state than the Lawson’s and last year was the start of what I think could be an even better season this year after both were #1 and #2 in rebounding and both in the top 10 in the city in scoring. Both are so versatile and will combine to average 40 plus points between both. Whitehaven lost their heart and soul in CJ Anderson, maybe not the best player on Whitehaven’s team last year with Marcanvis Hymon but maybe it’s most valuable player. He’s now at Arlington High along with another would be contributor, his brother, Aaron Anderson, a 6’6 10th grader who would have game them some more length to go with Hymon and Reggie Taylor (6’9) Hymon is going to have to be Mr.Everything for Whitehaven this year. The 6’7 Forward and Ole Miss commit must have a huge year where he’s in the top 5 in the city in rebounding and top 10 in scoring.
Central with second year coach Ricardo Patton got two of the Melrose defections, Chris Jefferson, a 6’8 Forward and Darius Thompson, a 6’2 Combo guard. Demarcus Johnson, a 2016 6’3 guard who prepped at Westwood last year and had a solid freshman season is also Warrior now. They will need scoring from guards Ernest Palmer Jr, Antonio Gillesppie and for Jamerson Washington must be a defensive stopper for them and guard the best guard on most nights from opposing teams. Newcomer to the district Overton will lean heavily on 6’6 Malik Smith inside and Jerry Hurt to provide scoring punch. East will extremely young this year and rely on Robert Washington, a 6’6 sophomore who can step out and shoot the 3 and give some shot blocking, Sebastian Barnes a senior guard and a host of freshmen including 6’4 Rodarius Washington, Robert’s brother and Tecorrian Smith, a 6’2 athletic 2guard.
Both White Station and Hamilton are two teams that could play well into March from the same district. That in itself, says a lot. Some thingchange, some things remain the same, 16AAA, is still the best in the area.