The first two days of Peach State 2023 are in the books, and teams are getting ready to head into bracket play, but before we get there, let’s look back a little over the first two days of action.
Team Teague Johnson 49
Carolina Tigers 45
In a game that went back and forth throughout, it was the last four minutes that had a lot of people in the gym making their way to court 3; plus, it was the nosiest court at the time, and people wanted to see what was going on with the two teams competing. With four minutes remaining in the game, the score was tied at 38. With back-to-back possessions that resulted in two trey balls, Team Teague found themselves up 44-40 with 3:20 left in the contest. After a trip to the line, a lay-up, and a putback, the teams found themselves with 1:58 remaining and Team Teague holding a 48-45 lead. With a couple of empty possessions by both teams, Team Teague held a 49-45 lead with 22-seconds remaining, and Carolina Tigers could not muster up a miracle as Team Teague escaped with a 49-45 victory, in which they saw Lavell Love go crazy on the offensive end of the floor.
Best Individual Performance
Lavell Marquise Love (6’0/G|F/’28/Team Teague Johnson) 4
There was not a performance on the first two days better than what Lavell put on in what just so happened to be the ‘Best Game’ above. He is an absolutely dynamic scorer off the bounce. Then he showed his ability to knock down the trey ball while fans said all he wanted to do was drive to the cup. There is a reason why the fans made their comments because Lavell was explosive off the bounce and had a burst that no defender was able to defend. With his bag as deep as any I saw the first two days, he posed a maximum threat in the half-court offense. His stock skyrocketed with his level of play in the first two days.
Class of 2028
Keegan Keeton (5’9/CG/’28/MC Warriors)
Keegan left such s huge impression in the gym on day one that people were still talking about his performance on day two. I have not seen anyone shoot the ball from behind the arc in the first two days of action better than Keegan. His confidence and his range have expanded. He is a sniper from deep, and when he is not hesitating but letting it fly, he is one of the best in the country in his grade.
Artrell Burt (6’1/SG/’28/Palo Alto Flight) 14
Artrell was one of the most dynamic scorers I saw, as he came out very aggressively early. He put on a clinic for all wanting to know how to score the rock. He is a swingman who can attack inside and out and was equally as good at draining threes as he was at scoring off the bounce with floaters and runners. He has a soft touch from all over the floor and uses both hands when he is in the paint. His range and ability to make shots put him in the category of the best scorers at Peach State. He’s a good ball handler who can get to his spots, and with his size, he gets good separation and lift on his perimeter jumpers. He is a relentless competitor that put his team on his back and led them to a come-from-behind victory over Memphis Wareagles.
Nicholas Anderson (5’9/CG/’28/Memphis Wareagles) 10
Nicholas lived in the paint the entire game I watched him play, and there was absolutely no one that could stay in front of him. Whether in transition or in the half-court, he was hunting the paint. His pressure on the basket was relentless, and he was a strong finisher at the rim. You would think the opponents could devise a plan to keep him out of the paint; unfortunately, the in-game adjustment did not work. If he wasn’t finishing his drives to the cup, he was creating easy opportunities for his teammates off his drive and kicks.
Enoch Cromartie (5’8/PG/’28/The Court) 1
Enoch can thrive with or without the ball and is a floor general with a good feel for his squad. He has good court vision and awareness and can make the necessary passes to put his team in positions to produce. He controlled the tempo of the game, and as long as the ball was in his hands and he had the freedom to orchestrate, his squad saw positive results. If there are any questions about his game, it is his turnover issue. He was a little turnover prone, but when those times happened, it resulted from Enoch trying to do too much. Cleaning up that area will increase his production across the stat sheet and improve his game and his team as a whole.
Ayden Ashe (5’10/SG/’27/Clayway Elite) 1
Ayden is a listed shooting guard, but the rock was in his hands the majority of the time. He is surrounded by a couple studs, making it easy for Ayden. At the same time, with his playmaking abilities, you can say that Ayden makes life easy for his teammates. While he is crafty, plays under control, and is a heady floor general, he is also one of the most competitive players I watched. I enjoyed his gritty play and how he went after opponents on both ends of the floor. In the game I watched, he was able to go and get a bucket anytime he wanted. He makes plays that contribute to winning even though his play may not show up on the stat sheet. He is on a nice trajectory, and he is the perfect fit for the lead guard spot for his team.
Jayden Nellemsbey (6’3/SG/’27/All Ohio Cleveland) 14
Jayden was fully in his bag the first two days. He is a skilled wing player with good positional size. He produces both inside and out and is a tough cover in both areas of the floor. With his size, he found it easy to get a lot of opportunities in the interior, and he capitalized on playing against a few players who did not have the size to combat him. He was very aggressive off the bounce when initiating his attack from the perimeter, while he was just as aggressive attacking out of his face-ups off the low block. Jayden was simply at his best when he was looking to put the ball in the hole. Outside of his scoring prowess, he played tough, was a good rebounder, and was a willing defender.
Marcus Curry (6’3/CG/’27/Upwardstars CSRA) 32
Marcus is a player that got it done with the ball in his hands and when it wasn’t in his hands. He showed his versatility to initiate and orchestrate the offense and his ability to create his own shot off the bounce. He has good court vision and was able to make high-level passes. He shot the ball well from beyond the arc and was able to keep defenders on an island and guessing his next move. He is a ferocious playmaker who plays off two feet in the paint and shows himself to be a high-end decision-maker in tight spaces. He is a bonafide scorer who left me looking forward to his next four years at the high school level.