By MARCUS HELTON, JAMAILL HINES & KYLE MCFADDEN
SALISBURY, MD - Olympic (NC) and Poly (Md.) came into Thursday night’s meeting at the Governor’s Challenge off of two very different outcomes, as Olympic had suffered a tough overtime loss to Virginia Academy Wednesday night while Poly cruised to a startlingly one-sided win over Riverdale Baptist.
On Thursday it was the Trojans who set the tone, however, as their timely buckets - coupled with a poor shooting night from the Engineers - led to a 45-41 Olympic victory.
RELATED: DAY 1 NOTEBOOK
RELATED: DAY 2 NOTEBOOK
“[The keys were] Defense and moving the ball, executing on plays,” Olympic 2018 guard Jalen Harris said. “We had too many turnovers [Wednesday], and we didn’t have too much energy coming into the game with the long bus ride.”
The Engineers couldn’t overcome a rough shooting performance that saw them go 12-of-43 from the field and 5-of-21 from 3-point range. Long Beach State commit Demetrius Mims posted 19 points and 10 rebounds for Poly, but no other player scored in double figures.
The 6-foot-4 Harris finished with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and came up with several buckets to help stymie Poly runs. (MH)
MUHAMMAD SHINES FOR CARROLL
After going winless a year ago, the Archbishop Carroll Lions saw plenty of change in the offseason, welcoming a new coaching staff and several new players.
The staff has imparted a defense-first mentality that has helped the Lions make a sizeable step forward this year, but on the floor, few players have made as big of a difference as 2021 wing Aminu Mohammed.
Mohammed’s talent was on full display Thursday, as he finished with 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds in a win over South Lakes (Va.)
“Coming down here, the players are just happy to play,” he said. “We think the team we played was a good team and they’ve got some good players; [but] we just outplayed them. We’re a younger team and we’re coming up.”
The game got close late, but Carroll never trailed as Mohammed led the way for Carroll with his athleticism, length and relentless motor on both ends of the floor. Mohammed topped the game in scoring and rebounding with a line of 26 (9-15 FGA, 8-14 FTA), 14 rebounds (5 offensive) 3 steals and 2 blocks. Only a freshman, Mohammed is a coaches’ dream because of his motor, defensive versatility and two-way potential. It’s only a matter of time before Division I offers come his way. (MH & KM)
FREEMAN, TROJANS STAY UNBEATEN
When his jump shot wasn’t going down early in his team’s game against IDEA Charter (DC), Kent County 2020 guard JayShaun Freeman decided to attack the basket.
The aggressive approach worked, and he kept it the rest of the way, notching 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Trojans to a 61-51 win in Thursday’s opener.
“My shot wasn’t really falling today, so I figured I’d get to the rim a lot more,” Freeman said. “On the glass, I jsut boxed out jumped and grabbed it. I did what I had to do to get my buckets, but it was a good team win today.”
The Trojans lost a key piece to last year’s team with the graduation of star guard Manny Camper, who is now a freshman at Siena. The 6-foot Freeman and his teammates have filled the gap successfully so far, improving to 7-0.
“We had a good team last year and went all the way to the state semifinals and came up short,” Freeman said. “This year I think I’ve improved my game a lot, for sure. I feel like I can do everything out on the floor - pass, rebound, score - and I feel like we’ve got a better overall team this year.” (MH)
WICOMICO IMPROVES TO 8-0
As the defacto Governor's Challenge hosts - their coach created the event and their school is located right across the street from the main site - the Wicomico Indians are used to playing in front of a supportive crowd.
That was the case again Thursday, as a vocal contingent of WiHi fans cheered on their teams' 60-46 win over West Mecklenburg (NC).
"It feels good," 2018 guard Lequan Pettit said. "To put our name out there and then we get a 'W' on top of that, so it feels really good."
Pettit stuffed the stat sheet for the Indians, posting 20 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists (to just two turnovers) and 6 steals as his team stayed unbeaten on the year. Jayson aAndy added 10 points.
"We had to play hard," Pettit said. "Its a new opponent, so we came out hard and we succeeded. ... It's not too different [playing an unfamiliar teams] but we had to do what we had to do. We take care of business, we're 8-0 and I'm proud of that." (MH)
HYLAND PADS THE STAT SHEET
It wasn’t a win, but 2019 guard Nah’Shon Hyland from St. Georges (Del.) stuffed the stat sheet on Thursday night in the 62-59 loss to Gilman (Md.). The junior 6-4 guard scored 27 points on 7-for-16 shooting from deep (8-for-20), to go along with nine rebounds, five steals and three blocks; all game highs. He also dished a team-best five assists.
“My shot was falling from the 3-point line,” Hyland said. “But it didn’t push us to the win.”
Hyland holds offers from Delaware, Monmouth, San Diego, St. Joe’s and Temple, and has drawn interest from VCU. The Delaware native didn’t hesitant to take charge when it mattered most, and, by his demeanor, turns it up a notch on the big stage.
When asked to describe his strengths, Hyland said, “My IQ, I can make when it’s clutch moments, bring the toughness and smartness, competitiveness.”
Hyland also mentioned he’s honed in on improving his vertical and explosiveness. (KM)
MORE DAY 3 STANDOUTS
Emmanuel Aghayere (South Lakes 2018 Forward)
Aghayere was an absolute load in the paint as he dominated the glass and finished around the rim for a total of 15 points (6-14 FGA, 3-4 FTA) and 13 rebounds (10 offensive) while adding 2 blocks and 2 steals in just 16 minutes due to foul trouble. His combination of height, girth, and aggressiveness was too much for any of the Carroll players to handle and likely would have done more damage if he did not foul out. Aghayere is headed to Division II Shephard University in West Virginia next year. (JH)
Grant Bower (South Lakes 2019 Guard)
With his smooth shooting stroke, Bower powered the perimeter offense for South Lakes by scoring 15 points on 5-8 3PA (5-9 FGA). All five of his makes were catch and shoot threes that hit nothing but the net, including draining his first three attempts that forced coaches and players to identify him as a shooter. Bower had an opportunity to tie the game with under 20 seconds, but missed short on the three-point attempt. (JH)
Demetrius Mims Jr. (Baltimore Poly 2018 Guard)
Although the Long Beach St. commit struggled to find his jumper, he impressed and produced with his combination of quick twitch athleticism, explosion, length and attack mindset. Mims totaled 19 points (5-14 FGA, 1-6 3PA) with 10 rebounds, including a two hand oop slam in the half court and a near tomahawk dunk in the lane that he was fouled on. He lived at the line due to his aggressiveness and athleticism, leading to converting 8-12 free throws. (JH)