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More first round action from Donofrio
Friday, 27 March 2009

John Johnson
By Bill Martin
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On Wednesday evening I headed back over to Conshohocken to watch two more contests in the first round of the Donofrio Classic.

I arrived just in time for the second half of the first game between Hunting Park II and Lancaster-Lebanon.  The score was very close at that time with Hunting Park II holding the lead by the score of 47-43. 

This second half was played at a very fast pace with both teams getting up the court quickly and firing up shots.  Hunting Park at one point pulled out to a 16 point lead, thanks to a scoring barrage by John Johnson, but Lancaster-Lebanon hit a number of shots from behind the arc to cut into the lead.  They kept chipping away but could not overcome the deficit.  Hunting Park II ended up winning the game by the score of 104-97.

The second game of the evening was a battle between Bucks County and Filly Sol.  There were a ton of lead changes in this game and it came down to the final minute.  In the end Bucks County came out on top, winning by the score of 98-95.

The following are player evaluations from the game and a half of basketball I watched on Wednesday.

Hunting Park II

Markus Kennedy (2010, 6-9 PF)
This was a strong performance by Markus as he scored 19 points and pulled down 9 boards.  When he went strong to the hoop he had a lot of success, but was blocked twice trying to fade away on his jump shot.  His best play of the night came when he caught a pass on the baseline, gave a quick pump fake and drove to the hoop, where he proceeded to dunk on two defenders.  Markus was also able to score off a hook shot in the post and on put backs after grabbing offensive rebounds.  He also made a fantastic outlet pass that resulted in an easy layup for one of his teammates.

John Johnson (2011, 6-1 PG/SG)
John just went off in this game scoring 41 points and hit 8 shots from beyond the arc.  When the game got close in the second half John just decided to take over and scored 11 straight points for his team.  He hit 3 consecutive 3 pointers that were well defended, and followed that up by hitting a 1 handed shot after spinning in the lane to get by his man.  John hit yet another 3 later in the half.  His set shot is somewhat unorthodox and he does not elevate that much when shooting, but you can't argue with results.  Besides his great shooting John was also able to get to the hoop whenever he wanted.  He has a brilliant spin move and excels at finishing in traffic.  After he built up the lead for his team John went to the bench to rest for the games final couple minutes.

Zaahir Smith (2009, 6-1 PG)
Zaahir first caught my attention by hitting a deep jumper, but what was really impressive about his game was his explosive burst going to the hoop.  There were many times where Zaahir just blew right by his man.  After getting by his man he was able to convert on a couple layups.  At times however, Zaahir looked somewhat out of control.  He may move too fast for his own good as he did have some trouble finishing in traffic and turned the ball over a few times when driving. 

Bucks County

Will Barrett (2009, 6-8 SF/PF) committed to Princeton
Will got off to a tough start in this one.  On a fast break he went up for a dunk but got hung on the rim.  After this he got a steal drove up the length of the court but was stripped going up for the layup and was blocked on a possession soon after this.  As the game went on Will definitely started to play better.  He hit a layup out on the break and knocked down a mid range jumper.  His perimeter shots began to fall too, as he hit a shot from behind the arc and hit a pull up jumper from just inside the arc.  Will had another chance at a break away dunk later in the game but this time he flushed it with two hands.  Will has the skills to play out on the wing and the height to play inside, but when playing inside he needs to take the ball up stronger.  He was blocked or stripped quite a few times around the hoop.

Dalton Pepper (2009 6-6 SG/SF) committed to West Virginia
This was a spectacular game for Dalton as he just seemed to do it all and willed his team to victory.  His outside shot was on and he was able to score driving to the hoop.  He also had a couple transition buckets, including a pair of dunks.  Dalton also passed the ball extremely well and was strong on the boards.  He finished the game with 36 points.

Jeff Holton (2009, 6-7 PF) committed to American
Jeff scored tough buckets around the hoop and was also able to step out and knock down three pointers.  Jeff hit the last bucket of the game with a tough layup to put Bucks County up 3 points 98-95.  Jeff was integral to the win and he ended up with 21 points for the game.

Filly Sol

CJ Aiken (2010, 6-9 PF/C)
With all the height and talent on the floor, CJ did not stand out as much as he did during the high school season, but his presence was definitely felt in this game.  CJ rebounded the ball fairly well and was able to score off put backs.  One of which he grabbed and then went up for a dunk, but received contact so he ended up laying it in with two hands.  CJ did have one beautiful baseline drive that he finished off by hitting a reverse layup.  He was also able to hit on a short jumper while slightly fading away from the hoop.  CJ took a variety of other mid range and outside shots but his shot was not falling.  I would have definitely liked to see him stay closer to the hoop or take it in stronger.  For his height he faded away from the hoop too often.  Defensively CJ did block 3 or 4 shots.

Al Blount (2010, 5-8 PG)
Al hit 3 very difficult layups in traffic.  On all 3 he got into the lane and adjusted his release to avoid shot blockers.  On one of these he was fouled but missed the ensuing free throw.  While Al finished well around the hoop, he did not show much from the perimeter.  He missed both the shots from behind the arc that I recall him taking.

Greg Robbins (2009, 6-4 SG/SF) committed to Richmond
Greg got off to a slow start but did eventually get it going.  Once he found his jumper he did make some impressive shots.  He was able to hit from 3 point range and from closer to the hoop when he was closely defended.  From mid range he hit a turn around bank shot and a step back shot off the bounce.  Greg was able to score around the hoop as well.  He had a beautiful reverse layup and another tough bucket in traffic.  After bumping his man back to clear room for a shot he was able to hit a short jumper off the glass.  Greg had 18 points in this contest.

Aquil Younger (2011, 6-1 PG)
Where Aquil really excelled in this game was getting to the hoop and finishing.  He was able to beat the defense to the hoop on multiple occasions for easy baskets.  Even in traffic he was able to adjust his release around defenders to hit his layups.  Aquil also had a great running floater in the lane.  He did not however show much from the perimeter.  I can only recall him shooting one 3 pointer, which he missed.  Late in the game he drove to the hoop along the baseline but just barely missed a reverse.  He did however grab his own rebound and scored on the put back and was fouled.  This put his team up 1 point 95-94, but he missed the free throw, which could have changed the outcome of the game.  Aquil finished the game with 19 points, 7 assists and 5 steals.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 April 2009 )
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