’18 State Tourney Recap

25 Mar
Sincere Carry

Sincere Carry

The four newest Ohio State Champions were crowned at the Schottenstein Center on Saturday, as another high school basketball season came to a close. Fans were treated to a thrilling 2OT contest in the D4 title game, with Marion Local defeating Cleveland Cornerstone Christian, followed by a come from behind victory for Cincinnati Deer Park over Columbus Africentric in the D3 championship. The final two games, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s win over Trotwood Madison in D2 and the D1 game in which Cincinnati Moeller handily defeated Solon were not as close, but there will still plenty of top performances to discuss. Here’s a look at the best of the best from Thursday through Saturday in Columbus… 

Jeremiah Davenport – ’18 SF Cincinnati Moeller: Davenport capped his legacy at Moeller with a State Championship as the youngest of the three brothers has officially ended his career with Moe. A 6’5 senior wing signed with Wright State, Davenport finished off a dominant tournament run with 22 points in the title win over Solon, finishing above the rim with several transition dunks and showcasing an ability to play inside or outside. An energetic and athletic wing with a lot of passion, expect Davenport to make an impact on both sides of the floor at the college level. 

Jaxson Hayes – ’18 PF Cincinnati Moeller: The Crusader’s man in the middle also deserves mention for his play, as the freaky athletic 6’10 senior center controlled the paint on Moeller’s wins over Lorain and Solon, finishing with a team high 16 points in the semifinals and 14 points in the finals. A Texas signee, Hayes improved considerably as the season unfolded, and no one in Ohio shows as much interior upside as the lanky 6’10 post, who can block shots, rebound in and out of area and is tremendous in the open court with running the floor and finishing alley-oops for highlight dunks.

Sincere Carry – ’18 PG Solon: Leading his team to a 28-2 record and a runner-up in the D1 State Final, there is no question that Carry was this weekend’s MVP, as the 6’0 senior point guard totaled 29 points and 11 assists in a come from behind win over Pickerington Central and 27 points in the finale against Moeller. A competitive, strong and tenacious lead guard who can shoot with range, attack off the dribble and who is an excellent distributor, Carry is one of 2018’s top point guards. With a knack for making his teammates better and his leadership abilities, look for Carry to be a playmaker early in his career at D2 powerhouse West Liberty (WV).

Adrian Nelson – ’18 SF Pickerington Central: The 6’6 combo forward from the Columbus area put on a show in the first half of what eventually became a semifinal loss for his Tigers, as Nelson logged 21 points in the first frame. A super athlete who has expanded his game to being able to knock down jumpers with confidence, Nelson is a threat to rip and run on every rebound, plays with terrific energy and has as much long-term upside as just about anyone in Ohio’s senior class. Signed to play with Detroit Mercy next year, Nelson is the latest D1 product from Pickerington Central who we believe will have a standout college career with his athleticism, versatility and emerging skill-set.

Michael Bothwell – ’18 SG Cleveland Cornerstone Christian: While CCA’s quest for a second straight championship fell just short in a double-overtime heartbreaker, there’s no shortage of compliments that can be attributed to Bothwell. The 6’3 combo guard who is signed to play at Furman was spectacular in both outings, finishing with 22 points in the semifinals and 23 points in the finals on an array of pull-up threes and crafty finishes. An elusive ballhandler with a slippery game and a dangerous jump-shot, Bothwell can flat out score the ball and should be able to do so at the college level right away.

Damani McEntire – ’18 SG Cincinnati Deer Park: One of Ohio’s most tenacious defenders, many fans weren’t familiar with McEntire before this weekend, as he moved into Cincinnati over the summer from his native Indianapolis; however, by weekend’s end everyone knew his name as the super athletic 6’2 senior guard hounded ballhandlers and forced turnovers, propelling Deer Park to their first ever championship. With a D1 offer from Texas Southern and other D1 interest, look for McEntire to sign with a D1 school within the next few weeks.

Tre Baumgardner – ’18 PG Columbus Africentric: Like Carry and Bothwell, Baumgardner’s team fell a little short in the title game, but not due to his play, as the fiery 6’0 scoring point guard led his Nubians team on a magical tournament run, single-handedly defeating Columbus Harvest Prep in the semifinals and scoring 17 points in the loss to Deer Park. A sharpshooter with unlimited range and a lot of confidence, Baumgardner plays a scoring role for Africentric, but is a capable pure point guard as well. While he might be playing his college ball a ways away from at D2 Minnesota State, this will not be the last time you hear from this high scoring guard.

Lunden McDay – ’19 SF Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s: One of the state’s most under-mentioned juniors, McDay is a not a kid who plays a flashy game or shows a lot of emotion; but man can he play. The 6’3 wing is an elite defender with deceptive athleticism and plenty of length, as well as a do-it-all offensive talent who can shoot when open from the perimeter but is best at attacking off the dribble and using crafty finishes to draw defenders. McDay is a kid who simply makes the right play and has no major holes in his game, part of the reason why we expect him to receive multiple D1 offers by the end of the summer.

Nathan Bruns – ’19 SF Marion Local: The unquestioned breakout player of the weekend, Bruns put his name on the map in a big way, leading his team to a come from behind win in a thrilling double-overtime game against Cleveland CCA. Bruns, a 6’5 wing with length and fluidity, hit the game tying three to end regulation and force the extra time, and then carried his team down the stretch, demanding the ball on the wing or in the high post. A lanky wing who can shoot, handle and pass, Bruns can score in different ways, and despite not being an elite athlete, knows how to play the game on both ends. Look for Bruns to accumulate significant D1 and D2 interest after this weekend’s play.

Amari Davis – ’19 SG Trotwood Madison: Davis capped a tremendous tournament run, in which we watched him dominate two regional games, with back-to-back twenty point games in Columbus, as his Trotwood team was bounced by Akron STVSM for the second time in as many years. A 6’2 bouncy athlete, Davis is a high-wire act who can dunk on you driving to his left at any time, while also being his team’s best perimeter defender and playmaker. Most of his game revolves around his athleticism and passion, but Davis has been a winner on all level and has he fine-tunes his skill-set expect his offer list, which already includes many mid-major D1 programs, to continue to grow.

Javohn Garcia – ’19 PG/SG Pickerington Central: We knew Garcia was a good junior guard; however, we didn’t know how good he was until Friday evening when, in a heartbreaking loss to Solon, Garcia finished with 20 points while also leading his team in assists and steals. A long 6’3 combo guard with some burst to his step, Garcia can make defenders look silly with his ballhandling, while getting into the lane to create for himself or others. A versatile all-around threat, Garcia is a streaky shooter; but, if he can hone that jumper during the AAU season, his offer list, which already has D1’s on it, will lengthen.

Devon Grant – ’19 PG Lorain: Another up and coming 2019 guard, Grant led his young Lorain team to a semifinal appearance and posted 17 points against a good Moeller defense, showing the ability to hit perimeter jumpers and get to the paint off the dribble. While he isn’t the biggest or most athletic guard, Grant is a skilled ballhandler who can score with his floater and can create a jumper for himself almost at will. Already with an offer from Bowling Green, Grant’s name has been mentioned by several college coaches of late.

Mark Wise – ’20 SG Cincy Deer Park: The only sophomore to make this list, Wise was dominant for Deer Park in their semifinal win over Cleveland Lutheran East, in which he scored 16 points (13 of them in the first eight minutes) and added 7 points and 8 assists in Deer Park’s championship win over Columbus Africentric. A strong combo guard who can score off the dribble and who uses his aggressive mindset to put pressure on the defense, Wise has already earned an offer from Kent State and has many of the Golden Flashes’ league rivals looking at him early as well.

Other Top Performers: Isaiah Payton (’18 PG Cincy Moeller), Deuce McBride (’19 PG/SG Cincy Moeller), Mike Bekelja (’19 Solon), Seth Wilson (’21 PG/SG Akron STVSM), Myles Belyeu (’18 SF Trotwood-Madison), Justin Stephens (’19 C Trotwood-Madison), Dorian Holloway (’19 SF Columbus Africentric), Steve Gentry Jr (’20 PG Cincy Deer Park), Joe Hocker (’19 C Cincy Deer Park), Jalen Rose (’18 SF Cincy Deer Park), Tyler Mescher (’18 C Marion Local), CJ Anthony (’20 PG Columbus Harvest Prep), Cade Stover (’19 SF Lexington), Drew Johnson (’18 SG Pandora Gilboa), Taevon Pierre-Louis (’19 SF Lorain)

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