Play-4-Cancer Classic

29 Dec

The second annual Play-4-Cancer Classic at Massillon Jackson High School was a major success on Saturday, as eight of Ohio’s top programs came together to play for a great cause. Small school Cleveland programs Warrensville Heights, Villa Angela-St. Joe’s and Central Catholic were joined by Division I powers Pickerington Central, Massillon Jackson, Dublin Coffman as well as defending Division II state champion Columbus Bishop Watterson and Division III state semi-finalist Leavittsburg LaBrae.

Evan Bailey

Evan Bailey

The on-court theme at the event was skill over speed, as Dublin Coffman, Bishop Watterson and Massillon Jackson all overcame physical disadvantages to come up with big wins at Chas Wolfe’s event.

With college coaches from West Virginia, Ohio State, Penn State and Dayton among those in attendance, here are some of the top performers that stood out in Massillon on Saturday……

  • Evan Bailey – ’14 SG/SF Massillon Jackson: The 6’5 senior, and College of Charleston signee, had a lot of pressure on him on Saturday in the night-cap, as he was tasked with leading his hometown team against a Pickerington Central team led by Bailey’s AAU teammate, Jae’sean Tate. Bailey came up huge in the second half for Jackson in an emphatic win, tallying 23 of his team high 30 points after halftime. While the Jackson guards did a great job of advancing the ball up the court and putting Bailey in good spots, the senior showed skilled finishing ability around the rim with floaters, layups and pull-up jumpers that few players are capable of. Bailey is playing more physically than he ever has before, and showed a lot of the offensive versatility that had mid-major college coaches excited about the high scoring wing.
  • Jae’sean Tate – ’14 SF Pickerington Central: As you’ve read on this site several times before, Tate was the best player in the gym on Saturday. The 6’5 freight train bullied his way to the rim time after time for a game high 33 points in a Pickerington Central loss. Frustrated with the way that his team played in the first half, Tate took the game over in the third and early fourth quarter with bucket after bucket, many coming on coast to coast drives after defensive rebounds. As per usual, the Ohio State signees strength and athleticism, combined with his non-stop motor, were too much for Jackson to handle, as Tate shared game MVP honors with Bailey.
  • Peyton Aldridge – ’14 SF/PF LaBrae: The 6’7 Davidson signee did not have as much to work with in his supporting role players as the rest of the stars that played on Saturday, but Aldridge’s performance was as impressive as anyone’s as he tallied 21 points, 13 rebounds and several assists and blocks. Aldridge used his skill and patience around the basket to get Cleveland Central Catholic defenders in the air with a series of spins, step-throughs and shot fakes, as he tried his best to keep his LaBrae team in the game. Like Tate, Aldridge is a high-energy player, and his effort led to several offensive rebounds and scores around the rim as well.
  • Matt Hughes – ’14 PF Columbus Bishop Watterson: Behind the grit and skill of Hughes, Watterson was able to knock off Cleveland VASJ, in what could be considered a minor upset. Hughes scored 13 points for Watterson, showing versatility as a crafty scorer around the basket, but also as a player that can step out on the wing and pass the ball in the Watterson offense. A tough post player who only stands about 6’4, Hughes makes up for his lack of physical abilities with his basketball IQ and skill-set, making him an ideal fit for any Division III college looking for a pure winner inside.
  • Matt Lehman – ’14 SF Columbus Bishop Watterson: Like Hughes, the 6’4 Lehman also played a winning style of basketball, as the senior led his team with 20 points in the win. Lehman showed the ability to consistently knock down the three-point shot, as TDP counted five made three-pointers for the small forward. With good strength and size on the perimeter, Lehman has one college ready skill in his three-point shooting ability, and is probably the most talented player on a Watterson team that easily could repeat as Division II state champions.
  • Antwon Lillard – ’15 SG Cleveland Central Catholic: The 6’5 junior wing continues to improve his skill-set, and combined with his size, athleticism and effort level he’s on his way to becoming one of the better 2015’s in a strong Ohio class. Lillard tallied 18 points for CCC in their blowout win over LaBrae, setting the tone with his aggressive and fast-paced drives to the rim. A streaky shooter with great length, Lillard has shown that he now has the handle to attack the rim in transition or the half-court, and he has the physical abilities to finish the play as well. A hard-working player who will produce as a rebounder, defender and always seems to come up with loose-balls, more and more Division I colleges are taking notice of the sometimes under-heralded starter on a very talented Cleveland Central Catholic squad.
  • Derek Pardon – ’15 C Cleveland VASJ: The 6’9 junior did not get the result that he wanted on Saturday, as his VASJ team fell to Watterson, but the post player did see his stock continue to rise as he produced another strong outing. Pardon totaled 12 points and double-figure rebounds for the Vikings in the loss, scoring far more often than not on touches around the basket. Pardon is still developing offensively, but he has good hands and a skill-set with his hook-shot, and likes to play physically as well. Pardon is continuing to attract interest from some of the top schools in the country, as he’s another one of Cleveland’s talented 2015 big men along with Carlton Bragg, Esa Ahmad and Montell McCrae.
  • Simon Texidor – ’15 SG Cleveland VASJ: For VASJ to take home their second straight State Title, this one in Division III instead of last year’s D-IV title, they’ll need their junior starting shooting guard to continue to knock down shots like he did yesterday. Texidor drilled four three-pointers for VASJ, showing a quick release and confidence in his shot. As he continued to knock down jumpers, Texidor didn’t force things, calmly looking for open opportunities and feeding it inside to Pardon or Bragg when covered. As more teams commit all of their defenders to the paint to slow down VASJ’s two headed junior post monster, look for Texidor to continue to rack up high scoring totals in Cleveland.
  • Yavari Hall – ’16 SG Cleveland Warrensville Heights: The talented sophomore was the third leading scorer on the day, finishing with 29 points in a close loss to Dublin Coffman. With his team trailing in the second half, Hall went on a scoring rampage as he got bucket after bucket from different areas on the court. Capable of scoring at the rim, off the dribble or with the three-point shot, Hall is a long and athletic scoring wing that stands a little taller than 6’2. With strong Division I interest already at the college level, look for him to continue to be one of the most talked about scorers and perimeter players in a loaded group of 2016 stars in Ohio.
  • Luke Vargo – ’16 SF Dublin Coffman: The 6’6 forward looked like a totally different player than when we saw him at the Clark Kellogg Tipoff Classic, as the sophomore played up to his potential on Saturday in producing a team high 21 points in the win. A skilled, smart and versatile offensive threat, Vargo got a lot of his points on Saturday with his perimeter jumper, comfortably knocking in three-point shots in the Coffman offense. Also capable of playing off of the dribble and in the post, Vargo is not only one of the more versatile players in Ohio in 2016, but also one of the most intriguing because of his basketball IQ.
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