Mustang Madness: Session 5

By Jordan Kendall, Monday, Jan 8, 2018 6:31 PM  

Session 5 was the final session of The Grind Session's Mustang Madness. It originally featured one girls game and three boys games before the game of the day, Adair County (KY) vs. Bowling Green (KY), was cancelled due to travel concerns with bad weather on the way. That game featured Adair County's five-star freshman point guard Zion Harmon, as well as talented sophomore forward Dre Boyd, playing against their former school, whom they also won a state championship with last season. Nonetheless, all other games continued at regular starting times with Murray (KY) and Graves County (KY) kicking off the action in the girls game. It was followed by a game between Mayfield (KY) and John Hardin (KY), followed by University Heights (KY) and Murray (KY). Here's how those games played out: Mayfield (KY) 71 vs. John Hardin (KY) 64 John Hardin's senior Saint Louis commit Mickey Pearson was the story coming into the game. Pearson is considered one of the top players in the state, and didn't disappoint, but a slow start scoring the ball allowed Mayfield to capture an early lead. The first quarter belong to Desean Jones and the Mayfield Cardinals, as he hit three three-pointers on his way to 11 points in the quarter and allowed his team to take a 19-12 lead. They continued their success from behind the arc in the second quarter as Husten Lancaster knocked down three three-pointers of his own in the quarter, one of those coming right before the buzzer, to give Mayfield a 35-20 lead at the half. Pearson and John Hardin came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, as they were able to pull within three points of Mayfield at the end of the third quarter. John Hardin continued to chip away at Mayfield's lead in the fourth and eventually tied it up, but could never take the lead as accurate free-throw shooting down the stretch helped Mayfield roll to a 71-64 victory. Mayfield was led by Jones, who finished the game with 24 points and 4 rebounds, and also got a solid contribution from junior wing Carson Guthrie, who added 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists. Pearson led John Hardin with 33 points and 12 rebounds. University Heights (KY) 68 vs. Murray (KY) 57 All the hype for this game surrounded University Heights' four-star junior guard Dekeyvan "KyKy" Tandy, who is currently being recruited by multiple high-major schools. Tandy and University Heights jumped on the Murray Tigers early and never let off the gas as they eased their way to a 68-57 win. University Heights held an 11-point lead after the first quarter behind 8 points from Tandy, and took a ten-point lead into the half, completely controlling the game. The young Murray squad, led by first year head coach Dior Curtis, couldn't get things going in the second half either and University Heights grew their lead to 21 points by the end of the quarter. Heading into the fourth quarter, Tandy had already tallied 24 points and 7 rebounds,  and added six more points in the quarter on some high-flying dunks in transition. University Heights was able to come away with the victory, as Tandy finished the game with 30 points and 8 rebounds, while Malik Lovan added 11 points and 7 rebounds. Murray was led by Tommy Waldrop and Colton Wilson, who chipped in 11 points a piece for the Tigers.

Mustang Madness: Sessions 3 and 4

By Jordan Kendall, Sunday, Jan 7, 2018 5:21 PM  

Sessions three and four of The Grind Session's Mustang Madness at McCracken County High School were both played on Saturday with session three kicking off in the morning and session four kicking off in the evening. Session three featured one girls game between host school McCracken County (KY) and Henderson County (KY). It was followed by two Grind Session games featuring Oldsmar Christian (FL) and Bella Vista Prep (AZ), as well as Trinity International (NV) and Tennessee Prep (TN). The final game of session three was played between Mayfield (KY) and John Hardin (KY). Session four featured one more game than session three with five games being played, featuring three Grind Session games and two other games involving teams not apart of The Grind Session. Game one was a matchup between Columbus (MS) and The Rock (FL), who is a member of The Grind Session's 32-team core, but was not considered a Grind Session game since their opponent was not a member of the league. Games two and three were played by Hillcrest Prep (AZ) and Aspire Academy (KY), followed by Prolific Prep (CA) and Orangeville Prep (CAN); both were Grind Session league games. The fourth game of the session was played between McCracken County (KY) and Apollo (KY), with the fifth and final game featuring a matchup of two Grind Session teams in Bella Vista Prep (AZ) and Victory Rock Prep (FL). Session 3 Bella Vista Prep (AZ) 83 vs. Oldsmar Christian (FL) 59 For the first eight minutes of the first half, Oldsmar Christian clung to a lead over Bella Vista Prep, but it would eventually be diminished behind the scoring of junior shooting guard Terry Armstrong. Once Bella Vista gained a 17-15 lead midway through the first half, they never looked back and would extend that lead to eight points before the half. Armstrong turned up his scoring another notch in the second half and scored eight straight points late in the game, which would help him reach a final tally of 35 for the game. PJ Dozier Jr. also chipped in 13 points of his own for Bella Vista. Oldsmar Christian received scoring contributions from Akeil Shakoor who dropped 15 points and Ricardo Clouden who scored 14 points. Tennessee Prep (TN) 110 vs. Trinity International (NV) 103 Tennessee Prep was in control most of this game, but a late comeback effort led by Trinity International's Deon Stroud made for a great ending to the game. In the first half, Tennessee Prep jumped out to an early lead, as junior point guard Antavion Collum scored the first six points for his team. That lead eventually grew to thirteen points as they led Trinity International 63-50 at the half. Tennessee Prep continued their hot start to the game in the second half behind the sharspshooting of junior guard Brandon Nicholas, but Trinity International refused to go away. A late run by Trinity International, led by Stroud, eventually fell short as one time fifteen point deficit was too much to overcome. Tennessee Prep was led by Collum who finished with 31 points and 7 rebounds, while Nicholas chipped in 30 points (5 threes) and 7 rebounds of his own. Tyrese Patterson also played well for Tennessee Prep as he finished with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Stroud was the story of the game for Trinity International as he put up 41 points and 7 rebounds, while sophomore point guard Daishen Nix added 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists. Hopkinsville (KY) 62 vs. Marshall County (KY) 54 Hopkinsville controlled this game from the tip and jumped out to an early 15-4 lead after hitting their first three three-point attempts. By the end of the first quarter they had extended their lead to 20-9. Marshall County eventually fought back and pulled within three of Hopkinsville in the third quarter after a Bryce Flatt three-pointer, but everytime Marshall County made a run, Hopkinsville had an answer. Hopkinsville went on to win 62-54 behind an 18-point scoring effort from freshman guard Alijah Watts. Senior guard Jalen Johnson also chipped in 10 for Hopkinsville. Marshall County senior forward Matt French scored 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the loss.   Session 4 The Rock (FL) 60 vs. Columbus (MS) 52 Behind the play of 2019 shooting guard Jaden Campbell, The Rock was able to work their way to an eight-point victory over Mississippi State commit Robert Woodard and Columbus. The Rock held a five-point lead at halftime and the game remained tight throughout. Trey McCrary helped fuel The Rock's victory with 11 points, while Campbell added 12. Denijay Harris stepped up for Columbus, as Woodard had a quiet night for his team, leading all scorers with 21 points in the game. Hillcrest Prep (AZ) 77 vs. Aspire Academy (KY) 72 Despite Hillcrest Prep holding a nine-point lead at the half, the game was much closer than the score indicated. Both teams went back and forth for most of the first half, but a late run from Hillcrest Prep allowed them to enter halftime with a 39-30 lead. In the second half, Hillcrest Prep looked to grow their lead, but Aspire Academy responded to every run they made with a run of their own. Trailing by 10 late in the second half, Aspire Academy made one last push to try and take the lead or force overtime, but the lack of depth on their bench caught up to them, as they just ran out of gas near the finish line. Hillcrest Prep was led by their leading scorer and five-star sophomore guard Kyree Walker who finished with 23 points and 5 rebounds. They also received a big spark from the hot hand of Mohammed Jafari, as he added 17 points, knocking down three three-pointers in the game. Nygal Russell had a great game for Aspire Academy with 24 points (6 threes) and 4 assists, while five-star junior center Charles Bassey added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Prolific Prep (CA) 73 vs. Orangeville Prep (CAN) 70 Orangeville Prep dug themselves into an early hole as they trailed Prolific Prep by fifteen points at halftime, but an impressive run by Michigan commit Ignas Brazdiekis and Prolific Prep made this one of the more exciting games of the session. Playing shorthanded, as senior starting forwards Jordan Brown and Amadou Sow were unable to play for Prolific Prep, they turned to big man Onyinyechi Eyisi and guard Nimari Burnett for most of their offense. In the second half, Brazdiekis went off for 24 points, scoring from behind the arc, hitting mid-range jumpers, and attacking the basket off the drive. The first half deficit was too much for Orangeville Prep to overcome though, as they fell just short of the complete comeback and dropped the game 73-70. Eyisi finished the game with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Nimari Burnett added 16. Brazdiekis finished the game with 41 points and 11 rebounds for Orangeville Prep. Apollo (KY) 58 vs. McCracken County (KY) 54 Apollo led almost the entire game in this one, but they were never able to put McCracken County away until the final buzzer sounded. At the half, Apollo held a 30-29 lead behind an 11-point scoring effort from Angel Saldana. Jackson Sivills and Cameron Cartwright kept McCracken County in the game in the second half, as both players shot the three-pointer well, but it wouldn't be enough to knock off Apollo. Sivills led all scorers with 22 points, while Cartwright chipped in 17 points himself. Apollo was led by Nathan Boyle and Hayden Shelton who scored 14 points a piece. Bella Vista Prep (AZ) 59 vs. Victory Rock Prep (FL) 49 In their second game of the day, Bella Vista Prep showed no signs of fatigue and went on to claim a ten-point victory over Victory Rock Prep. Bella Vista's guard combo of Julian Dozier Jr. and Terry Armstrong put on a show in the final game of the session, connecting on multiple high-flying alley-oop dunks. The game was tight in the first half, but a Giir Ring three-pointer just before the buzzer gave Bella Vista a three-point lead entering the break. Bella Vista would grow their lead to 10 points midway through the second half, but were never able to extend it further than that. Armstrong played great all weekend and finished his final game with 23 points and 5 rebounds, while Dozier Jr. also added 11 points and 6 assists. Madut Akec led the way for Victory Rock Prep, as he did all he could to keep his team in the game with a 15-point effort.

Mustang Madness: Session 2

By Jordan Kendall, Saturday, Jan 6, 2018 2:59 PM  

The Grind Session's Mustang Madness at McCracken County High School kicked off session two of play on Friday, featuring four Grind Session games, as well as a game between Poplar Bluff (MO) and Curie (IL). Games one through three were all Grind Session games as the session kicked off with a matchup between The Rock (FL) and Bella Vista Prep (AZ), followed by Aspire Academy (KY) and Trinity International (NV), then Victory Rock Prep (FL) and Prolific Prep (CA). Game four was the only game of the session that didn't feature Grind Session teams as Poplar Bluff (MO) took on Curie (IL), followed by the final game featuring Orangeville Prep (CAN) and Hillcrest Prep (AZ). Here's a rundown of how those games went: Bella Vista Prep (AZ) 74 vs. The Rock (FL) 57 Bella Vista Prep controlled this game from the tip, but The Rock gave them everything they had and hung around for a while before finally giving into the much larger Bella Vista offense. Top-50 junior shooting guard Terry Armstrong came out firing on all cylinders as he scored 8 points early in the first half and led all scorers at halftime with 16. It was the Julian Dozier Jr. show for Bella Vista Prep in the second half as he scored 11 of his 16 points in the period. Senior guard Bryan Greenlee put forth a fierce competitive effort for The Rock and did all he could to keep his team in the game, but his 19-point effort would fall short of the victory. Aspire Academy (KY) 67 vs. Trinity International (NV) 59 Aspire Academy and Trinity International were neck and neck in the first half of the game, as the teams entered halftime tied at 27 points a piece. Five-star junior center Charles Bassey was up to his usual ways as he had 11 points and 4 rebounds at halftime. Sophomore point guard Daishen Nix did everything he could to keep his Trinity international team in the game in the second half, ending up with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, but it wasn't enough to withstand the dominance of Bassey and Aspire Academy. Bassey finished the game with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while senior point guard Caleb Fields added 12 points and 5 assists in only his second game with the team. De'Sean Allen-Eikens also scored 12 points for Aspire Academy. Victory Rock Prep (FL) 77 vs. Prolific Prep (CA) 48 Victory Rock Prep was able to take advantage of a shorthanded Prolific Prep squad, as the team was missing two of their starters in senior five-star forward Jordan Brown and senior California-Santa Barbara commit Amadou Sow. Prolific Prep found themselves trailing by twenty points at the half as they couldn't get shots to fall, being outscored 36-16. Victory Rock Prep continued to assert their dominance over Prolific Prep in the second half behind the attacking play of senior forward Jonathan Dos Anjos, who finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Senior forward Madut Akec also added 14 points in the win, while senior forward Jackson Makoi chipped in 12 points of his own. Nimari Burnett's outside shooting was a bright spot for Prolific Prep as he hit three three-pointers on his way to a 14-point effort. Curie (IL) 66 vs. Poplar Bluff (MO) 44 With Poplar Bluff's four-star forward Marcedus Leech injured and not able to play, the balanced offense of Chicago Curie became too much for the team to handle. Curie jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, hitting their first three three-pointers, but the pesky Poplar Bluff offense hung around until halftime as Curie only led by 10 points at the break. Curie's offense outscored Poplar Bluff's 30-18 in the second half behind the sharpshooting of senior Chattanooga commit Maurice Commander. He finished with 15 points on five three-pointers, while Marquise Walker also contributed a 12 point effort. Poplar Bluff's offensive load was carried by Dominique Hardimon who finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Orangeville Prep (CAN) 90 vs. Hillcrest Prep (AZ) 66 Orangeville Prep jumped out to an early lead against Hillcrest Prep behind the play of senior Michigan commit Ignas Brazdiekis. At the half they held a thirteen-point lead over Hillcrest Prep and Brazdiekis was getting it done on both ends of the floor as he entered the break with 14 points and 7 rebounds. In the second half, senior guard Keshaun Saunders helped to extend Orangeville Prep's lead with six second half three-pointers on his way to a game high 33 points. Brazdiekis was named MVP of the game after a 30 point and 13 rebound effort. Senior center KJ Hymes carried the bulk of the scoring load for Hillcrest Prep with 23 points, as well as grabbing 9 rebounds. Sophomore guard Kyree Walker also added 17 points.

Mustang Madness: Session 1

By Jordan Kendall, Friday, Jan 5, 2018 7:16 AM  

Mustang Madness kicked off session 1 with two games on Thursday night featuring matchups between Christian County (KY) and host school McCracken County (KY), as well as Tennessee Prep (TN) and Oldsmar Christian (FL). McCracken County picked up the upset victory in game one and Tennessee Prep rolled to victory in game two, which was also the first Grind Session game of Mustang Madness. Here's a recap of both games: McCracken County (KY) 61 vs. Christian County (KY) 44 In an upset win over Christian County, the McCracken County Mustangs got out to a fast start, hitting their first three three-point shots, and never looked back. After trailing by ten points at halftime, the Colonels of Christian County were able to work McCracken County's lead down to seven points, but the Mustangs seemed to have an answer for every run Christian County made. Behind the three-point shooting of senior Cameron Cartwright and sophomore Jackson Sivills, McCracken County extended their twelve-point lead at the end of the third quarter out to seventeen-points as they went on to win 61-44. Cartwright finished with 21 points for the Mustangs, while Sivills added 17. Christian County was led by senior forward Detorrion Ware, who finished with 12 points. Tennessee Prep (TN) 94 vs. Oldsmar Christian (FL) 68 Oldsmar Christian started the game with an early lead over Tennessee Prep as they pulled ahead 14-5 midway through the first half. Tennessee Prep responded with a 30-11 run over the final eight minutes of the half and took a 35-25 lead into the break. Momentum stayed in Tennessee Prep's favor in the second half as they exploded for 59 points behind the hot shooting of Junior shooting guard Brandon Nicholas and went on to win 94-68. Nicholas finished the game with 32 points while hitting nine three-pointers. Junior point guard Antavion Collum, who picked up an offer from Georgetown this week, scored 21 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists in the victory. Oldsmar Christian was led by junior shooting guard Braxton Bartlett, who finished with 23 points five of eight shooting from behind the arc. Tyrese Williams also added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Mustang Madness Preview

By Jordan Kendall, Tuesday, Jan 2, 2018 6:03 PM  

The Grind Session kicks off their 2018 schedule in Paducah, Kentucky at McCracken County High School with Mustang Madness. This is the third year McCracken County has hosted Mustang Madness and year after year The Grind Session brings top talent to basketball-crazed fans from Kentucky. This year's field includes ten teams from the 32-team core of The Grind Session, as well as a mix of other boys and girls high school teams from surrounding areas. It will be broken down into five sessions over four days, starting with session 1 on Thursday, January 4th, and ending with session 5 on Sunday, January 7th. Mustang Madness has hosted past stars such Malik Newman, DeAndre Ayton, Billy Preston, Trevon Duval, and Gary Trent Jr., just to name a few. In what is always a loaded field, the event is sure to give fans an early look at their favorite basketball players of the future. Here's a preview of the teams participating in Mustang Madness and some of the guys to keep an eye on: Christian County (KY) Matchup(s): McCracken County (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 forward Detorrion Ware, 2019 forward Fred Tandy Christian County is off to a 9-3 start on the season behind the terrific play of senior forward Detorrion Ware. Coming off a 1-2 outing at the Poplar Bluff Showdown in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, the Colonels of Christian County will be looking to turn things around against host school, McCracken County. Ware is averaging 33.3 points per game for his team and recently turned in a 49-point performance while at the Poplar Bluff Showdown. McCracken County (KY) Matchup(s): Christian County (KY), Apollo (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 forward Nathan Stonecipher McCracken County is 10-3 on the season and coming off a 1-2 showing at the Jeff and Julie Beyke Classic. They'll face off against Christian County (KY) and Apollo (KY) where they'll rely on the scoring ability of senior forward Nathan Stonecipher. They're the host school of Mustang Madness. Oldsmar Christian (FL) Matchup(s): Tennessee Prep (TN), Bella Vista (AZ) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 guard Cameron Lee, 2018 forward Tyrese Williams, 2018 point guard Akeil Shakoor, 2019 guard Braxton Bartlett, 2018 guard Richard Clouden Oldsmar Christian recently participated in The Grind Session's Amusement Park Classic in Orlando, Florida. While there they picked up two wins over Inspire Prep (FL) and Adair County (KY) and received big performances from seniors Cameron Lee, Tyrese Williams, and Akeil Shakoor. Williams and junior guard Braxton Bartlett are the teams leading scorers as they both average 16 points per game. They currently have an 8-4 record and will look to improve on that with Grind Session games against Tennessee Prep (TN) and Bella Vista (AZ). Tennessee Prep (TN) Matchup(s): Oldsmar Christian (FL), Trinity International (NV) Player(s) To Watch: 2019 point guard Antavion Collum, 2019 guard Traizon Byrd Tennessee Prep enters Mustang Madness with a 1-2 record on The Grind Session and 5-5 record overall. They've been led this season behind the play of 6'8" point guard Antavion Collum, a transfer from Memphis East (TN), who is nearly averaging a triple-double with 27.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game. They're currently on a three-game winning streak and look to extend that streak with Grind Session games against Oldsmar Christian (FL) and Trinity International (NV). Bella Vista (AZ) Matchup(s): The Rock (FL), Oldsmar Christian (FL), Victory Rock Prep (FL) Player(s) To Watch: 2019 guard Terry Armstrong, 2019 point guard Julian Dozier Jr. Bella Vista has played the least amount of games of any team participating in Mustang Madness as they enter play with a 3-3 record. They are currently 0-1 in The Grind Session with that loss coming against Prolific Prep. With such a small sample size, it's hard to tell what to expect from Bella Vista at Mustang Madness, but any matchup featuring Grind Session teams is sure to be exciting. The Rock (FL) Matchup(s): Bella Vista (AZ), Columbus (MS) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 shooting guard Antrell Charlton, 2019 point guard Bryan Greenlee The Rock currently holds an 11-5 record after dropping two games at the Amusement Park Showcase. One of those games came against Sunrise Christian (KS) of The Grind Session, which gives them a 1-1 record in the league. Their offensive attack is led by senior guard Antrell Charlton and junior point guard Bryan Greenlee. Aspire Academy (KY) Matchup(s): Trinity International (NV), Hillcrest Prep (AZ) Player(s) To Watch: 2019 center Charles Bassey, 2019 wing De'Sean Allen-Eikens Aspire Academy has been on a roll as of late winning seven of their last eight games and is currently sitting at 15-4 on the season. After two wins at The West Kentucky Hoops Classic in Princeton, Kentucky, one of which came against Grind Session opponent Cy-Fair Learning Center (TX), they currently holds a 6-3 record on The Grind Session. Bitten by the injury bug lately, Aspire will likely be playing with a short bench, but the addition of 2018 point guard Caleb Fields will play a big part in keeping players fresh and ready to impact the game. Trinity International (NV) Matchup(s): Aspire Academy (KY), Tennessee Prep (TN) Player(s) To Watch: 2020 point guard Daishen Nix, 2019 shooting guard Deon Stroud, 2018 center Tolu Jacobs-Yaffa Behind the play of sophomore point guard Daishen Nix, the high flying ability of junior guard Deon Stroud, and the length of senior center Tolu Jacobs-Yaffa, Trinity International has a solid lineup that can compete with the best. Combine that with the coaching of head coach Greg Lockridge and they're a tough matchup every time they take the floor. They'll matchup with Aspire Academy (KY) and Tennessee Prep (TN) in two Grind Session games at Mustang Madness. Prolific Prep (CA) Matchup(s): Victory Rock (FL), Orangeville Prep (CAN) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 forward Jordan Brown, 2018 guard Sekou Toure, 2018 forward Amadou Sow, 2018 forward Jeenathan Williams Head coach Billy McKnight and his Prolific Prep team are off to a 15-4 start, as well as a 5-1 start on The Grind Session. They recently went 1-2 at the Chic-Fil-A Classic in Flora, South Carolina, but received two tough tests in their losses to Findlay Prep (NV) and Oak Hill Academy (VA). They're led by five-star senior forward Jordan Brown and senior guard Sekou Toure. Senior forward Amadou Sow has played well inside for Prolific Prep this season and senior wing Jeenathan Williams has turned things up a notch as of late. Victory Rock (FL) Matchup(s): Prolific Prep (CA), Bella Vista (AZ) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 forward Madut Akec, 2018 forward Michael Durr, 2019 point guard Kolton Mitchell Victory Rock Prep currently boasts a 9-5 record heading into Mustang Madness and is 4-2 on The Grind Session. Two of those Grind Session wins came recently at the Amusment Park Classic where they defeated Mountain Mission (VA) and Hillcrest Prep (AZ). You can expect Madut Akec to carry the scoring load for his team as they take on two Grind Session opponents in Prolific Prep (CA) and Bella Vista (AZ). Curie (IL) Matchup(s): Poplar Bluff (MO) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 point guard Maurice Commander, 2019 shooting guard DaJuan Gordon, 2018 forward/center Tyree Martin, 2018 forward/center Treavon Martin Curie enters Mustang Madness with an 8-2 record after losing to Simeon (IL) in the championship of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament. 2018 Chattanooga commit Maurice Commander will run the point for Curie and he'll look to feed his twin tower big men Tyree and Treavon Martin as they take on Poplar Bluff (MO). Poplar Bluff (MO) Matchup(s): Curie (IL) Player(s) To Watch: 2019 small forward Marcedus Leech Poplar Bluff currently holds a 7-4 record entering Mustang Madness and is led by four-star small forward Marcedus Leech. They'll be matched up with Curie (IL) in a game that doesn't feature any Grind Session core teams, but still brings the same amount of star power. Between the two teams in this matchup, fans will get the chance to see multiple future Division 1 players. Hillcrest Prep (AZ) Matchup(s): Orangeville Prep (CAN), Aspire Academy (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2020 guard Kyree Walker, 2018 forward KJ Hymes, 2018 point guard Demarius Jacobs, 2020 guard Jeron Artest Hillcrest Prep is loaded with high-major talent, starting with five-star sophomore guard Kyree Walker. He and Hillcrest Prep have jumped out to a 17-4 overall record with a 2-1 record on The Grind Session. They'll be looking to avenge their latest loss, which came in the championship game of the John Wall Classic against University School (FL), with two games against Grind Session teams at Mustang Madness. Orangeville Prep (CAN) Matchup(s): Hillcrest Prep (AZ), Prolific Prep (CA) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 small forward Ignas Brazdeikis, 2020 small forward Matthew Alexander-Moncrief, 2018 shooting guard Keshaun Saunders Orangeville Prep is led by senior small forward and Michigan commit Ignas Brazdeikis and sophomore forward Matthew Alexander-Moncrief. Both are Top 50 players in their classes and provide the majority of the offense for their team. They've worked their way to a 20-4 start on the season and will look to improve on that with two Grind Session games against Hillcrest Prep (AZ) and Prolific Prep (CA) at Mustang Madness. Mayfield (KY) Matchup(s): John Hardin (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2019 guard Connor Guthrie, 2019 guard Carson Guthrie Mayfield is led by twin juniors Connor and Carson Guthrie. They've helped the Cardinals to an 8-4 record on the season with key wins over University Heights (KY) and Hopkinsville (KY). John Hardin (KY) Matchup(s): Mayfield (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 guard/forward Mickey Pearson John Hardin has jumped out to an 11-2 start to their season and recently went 3-1 in the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic. They're led by senior guard/forward Mickey Pearson who turned in a career night against Clay County (KY) at the Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic with 47 points and 15 rebounds. Columbus (MS) Matchup(s): The Rock (FL) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 power forward Robert Woodard, 2019 forward Denijay Harris Columbus heads into Mustang Madness with a 10-4 record on the season behind the strong play of Mississippi State commit Robert Woodard. Despite not being a Grind Session team, they've played an impressive schedule to this point in which they defeated Curie (IL) and took Memphis East (TN) to overtime where they eventually lost. Apollo (KY) Matchup(s): McCracken County (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 guard Nathan Boyle Apollo will look to turn their fortune around against McCracken County (KY) as they enter Mustang Madness on a five-game losing streak. They currently have a 4-8 record on the season, but senior guard Nathan Boyle will look to provide a scoring spark to lift them over the host school. Bowling Green (KY) Matchup(s): Adair County (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2018 forward Jarius Key After the departures of Zion Harmon and Dre Boyd, both of whom play for Bowling Green's opponent in Mustang Madness, Adair County, they'll turn to senior forward Jarius Key to make plays on both sides of the ball. Key was the MVP for his team against Hopkinsville (KY) at The Grind Session's Marshall County Hoopfest in December. Bowling Green is currently 8-5 on the season. Adair County (KY) Matchup(s): Bowling Green (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2021 point guard Zion Harmon, 2020 forward Dre Boyd With the additions of Bowling Green transfers Zion Harmon and Dre Boyd this game is a must-see at Mustang Madness. Harmon alone is worth the price of admission and is the top freshman point guard in the country. He and Boyd have added a lethal scoring duo for Adair County and have helped them to a 6-6 record on the season. They recently went 2-1 at the Rafferty's Caveland Classic where their only loss came in their final game against Jeffersontwon (KY). University Heights (KY) Matchup(s): Murray (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2019 guard KyKy Tandy One of the most exciting players to watch in the state of Kentucky is University Heights junior guard KyKy Tandy. He currently leads the scoring race in Kentucky with 35.3 points per game and typically carries the scoring load for his team. Tandy could easily go off for 40 or more points in their game against Murray (KY). He's helped lead University Heights to a 7-4 record on the season. Murray (KY) Matchup(s): University Heights (KY) Player(s) To Watch: 2020 guard Hunter Utley Murray lost the bulk of their scoring when the school's all-time leading scorer Preston English graduated last season, leaving them with an inexperienced team and a brand new coach in Dior Curtis. With a lot of youth in the lineup, Coach Curtis and the Tigers have fought their way to a 6-8 record on the season. Disclaimer: Team records were compiled from maxpreps.com and khsaa.org unless otherwise provided by the team.

Amusement Park Classic: Session 3

By Jordan Kendall, Whistle 2 Whistle Sports, Thursday, Dec 21, 2017 5:39 AM  

The Grind Session's Amusement Park Classic concluded on Wednesday, December 20th with its third and final session of the week. Three games featured teams from The Grind Session's 32-team core, while the only other game of the session featured teams not in the core. It wrapped up a great week of basketball played by some of the most talented high school players and teams the world has to offer. Here's a recap of Session 3: Victory Rock Prep (FL) 81 vs. Hillcrest Prep (AZ) 72 Things got chippy in the first matchup of session three as multiple technicals were assessed in the first half, including Hillcrest Prep head coach Howard Thomas Jr. being ejected. Once things calmed down and play resumed both teams played a hard fought game, but Victory Rock Prep was able to withstand a late run from Hillcrest Prep to win the game. At one point leading 59-43 in the second half, Victory Rock Prep was led by the play of senior forward Madut Akec who contributed 20 points and 4 rebounds. Jonathan Dos Anjos, another senior forward for Victory Rock Prep, added 12 points and 8 rebounds, while junior point guard Kolton Mitchell chipped in 12 points of his own. Class of 2020 Arizona State commit Kyree Walker paced Hillcrest Prep's effort with 18 points and senior point guard Demarius Jacobs finished with 13 points. Hillcrest Prep also got 14 points and 8 rebounds out of junior forward Dischon Thomas. Marshall County (KY) 66 vs. Inspire Prep (FL) 55 Despite being the only game of the session that didn't feature teams part of The Grind Session's 32-team core, Marshall County and Inspire Prep turned in an outstanding game and were the only teams to force overtime throughout the three-day event. It was a tight game throughout, as Marshall County held a one-point lead at halftime, and neither team was able to pull away before Marshall County's Bryce Flatt hit a three-pointer to force overtime. The extra period would swing in the favor of the Marshals, as they would build an 11-point lead to secure the victory. Flatt finished the game with 23 points, and senior forward Matt French notched a double-double with his 17 point and 11 rebound performance. Inspire Prep's senior forward Raymond Dieng was their best player all week and he continued that streak by leading his team with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Khalyl Simmons and William Faulk also contributed 12 points a piece. West Oaks (FL) 60 vs. Aspire Academy (KY) 57 In another tight contest, West Oaks was able to hold off Aspire Academy and pick up the win in game three. The Wizards of Aspire Academy were never able to erase their three-point halftime defecit, falling short of the victory by the same margin. At one point trailing by ten points, Aspire Academy's late run wasn't enough after missing a last-second three-point shot that would have forced overtime.  West Oaks senior point guard PJ Pearson led the way for his team, as he stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. Tyrell Jones's hot shooting from behind the arc was another major factor in the win for West Oaks, as he hit 5 three-pointers on his way to 19 points. Aspire Academy's star junior Charles Bassey did it all for his team, finishing with 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Oldsmar Christian (FL) 87 vs. Adair County (KY) 61 Adair County led 22-14 after the first quarter, but it was all Oldsmar Christian from there as they pulled away for the 87-61 victory. Oldsmar Christian's Tyrese Williams was the big performer for his team as he finished with 20 points, including a highlight reel worthy alley-oop off the backboard from point guard Akiel Shakoor. Adair County's freshman point guard was electric as usual and displayed a variety of skills. Despite a rough shooting night, Harmon was able to tally a double-double with 22 points and 10 assists.

Amusement Park Classic: Session 2

By Jordan Kendall, Whistle 2 Whistle Sports, Wednesday, Dec 20, 2017 7:27 PM  

Session two of The Grind Session's Amusement Park Classic featured ten teams from the 32-team core, as well as four teams not apart of the core. Seven games were played throughout the day, starting with a match up of two teams from Florida; Oldsmar Christian and Inspire Prep. Games featuring teams that are a part of The Grind Session were played in two 16 minute halves, with a 30-second shot clock rule enforced. The games not featuring teams from The Grind Session were played in four eight-minute quarters, with no shot clock rule in place. Here's a run down of how the games in session two went: Oldsmar Christian (FL) 51 vs. Inspire Prep (FL) 49 In a game that was close throughout, Oldsmar Christian was able to pull away behind the clutch play of senior guard Akiel Shakoor. He was named the player of the game after a 14-point performance where he hit a couple threes and dished out the game winning basket to Tyrese Williams. Williams finished with 15 points of his own. Raymond Dieng was again a monster on the boards and scored or drew contact on the majority of his shots from the post. He finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Khalyl Simmons and William Faulk added 12 points a piece. Hillcrest Prep (AZ) 43 vs. Potter's House Christian (FL) 33 This game started out as a tight match up with Hillcrest Prep and Potter's House Christian both scoring 22 points in the first half, but Hillcrest Prep was able to score a lot of baskets in transition to pull away for the ten-point victory. Junior big man JB Mukeba had a solid night for Hillcrest Prep, adding 10 points to his team's final score. They also got contributions from star sophomore and Arizona State commit Kyree Walker who scored 6 points, as well as senior point guard Demarius Jacobs who finished with 9 points and was active on the defensive end as he came up with a few steals. Junior point guard Marsei Caston made a lot of plays for Potter's House Christian, but only finished with 9 points in the low-scoring affair. Aspire Academy (KY) 69 vs. Mountain Mission (VA) 37 Aspire worked their way to a lopsided victory behind the dominance of top ranked junior center Charles Bassey. Bassey scored most of his points off a handful of powerful dunks, but even stepped behind the arc to knock down a three-pointer on his way to a 17-point performance. Aspire also got contributions from senior guards Nygal Russell, who dropped 14 points, and Joel Ntambwe who added 9 to the score. Nebraska was in to see Mountain Mission's Flo Thamba, who has the Huskers in his final four schools. Thamba finished with 6 points, and teammate Danill Kasatkin dropped 11 points for the team. Sunrise Christian (KS) 74 vs. The Rock (FL) 35 Sunrise Christian started their rout of The Rock from the tip as they jumped out to an early 23-8 lead. By halftime they led 34-18 behind the strong play of five-star sophomore center N'Faly Dante. Dante was able to do whatever he pleased in the post, as The Rock had nobody that could match his size, and was able to finish with 22 points, nearly all of those coming off dunks. Antrell Charlton played with a high motor for The Rock, as he worked hard to tally 15 points in the loss. Bishop Snyder (FL) 75 vs. Adair County (KY) 73 Neither of these teams are members of The Grind Session's 32-team core, but the game was one of the most intriguing of the day. It featured phenom freshman point guard Zion Harmon for Adair County and top 50 sophomore Corey Walker for Bishop Snyder. Both teams battled until the final buzzer, but Bishop Snyder was able to grab the victory off a nice pass from Walker to senior forward Curtis Bailey for an easy lay up with two seconds left in the game. Walker stuffed the stat sheet, as he finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 blocks. Bailey finished with 13 points and 5 rebounds. Despite the losing effort, Zion Harmon was electric for Adair County, pouring in 35 points while dishing out 8 assists. DME Academy (FL) 53 vs. Marshall County (KY) 49 DME Academy and Marshall County played in a game that went down to the wire. Back and forth action made for an intense game in the fourth quarter, but DME was able to slip away from the Marshals on hot free throw shooting. DME Academy was paced by junior big man Vadim Clanet's 14 points and senior forward Marko Vukojic's 13 points. Marshall County was led by sophomore guard Tyler Powell's 20 points. Senior big man Matt French also chipped in 18 points. Prolific Prep (CA) 63 vs. West Oaks (FL) 58 West Oaks held a five-point lead at halftime, but the persistence of Prolific Prep paid off as their strong second half pushed them to victory. Without three of their starters in five-star senior Jordan Brown, sophomore point guard Nimari Burnett, and senior guard Jared Martin, Prolific Prep was looking for other players to step up and provide offense. They found that in senior forward Jeenathan Williams who stepped up big for his team and provided 22 points. West Oaks hung around off of hot shooting from senior guards Tyrieke Blakeney and PJ Pearson. Blakeney finished with 15 points and hit 3 three-pointers in the first half. Pearson chipped in 15 points of his own and dished out a handful assists from the point guard spot.

The Grind Session: Amusement Park Classic Session 1

By Jordan Kendall, Whistle 2 Whistle Sports, Tuesday, Dec 19, 2017 2:42 PM  

The Grind Session is making it's final stop of 2017 in Orlando, Florida for the Amusement Park Classic at the Orlando Sports Center. The event features many of the teams participating in The Grind Session, as well as a few other teams that aren't included in the 32-team core of The Grind Session. The Amusement Park Classic is broken down into three sessions over three days, with session 1 kicking off on the 18th of December.  Here's a run down on each matchup from Session 1: Inspire Prep (FL) 65 vs. The Rock (FL) 64 This game was a familiar matchup for these two teams, as they recently played in a game where The Rock won 82-70. Their match up in the Amusement Park Classic was a different story as Inspire Prep was able to squeak out a 65-64 victory on a second chance lay up from senior William Faulk. The Rock held a big lead early behind the play of freshman forward Lynn Kidd and a strong performance from junior point guard Bryan Greenlee. Inspire Prep was led behind the sharpshooting of 6'11" big man Emmanuel Ndatuje and a tenacious effort on the boards from senior forward, Raymond Dieng. Ndatuje scored 15 points, with 12 of those coming from behind the arc, while Dieng notched a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Marshall County (KY) 62 vs. Bishop Snyder (FL) 55 In the only game that didn't feature a team from the 32-team core of The Grind Session, Marshall County was able to pull away from Bishop Snyder in the second half to pick up the victory. Marshall County was led by a 23-point scoring effort from senior forward Aaron Reed and senior forward Matthew French who added 10 points for the Marshals. Bishop Snyder's Corey Walker did it all for Bishop Snyder as he was able to score 31 points, while hauling in 15 rebounds and dishing out 5 assists. Walker's effort couldn't match the team effort from Marshall County, as they lost 62-55. Hillcrest Prep (AZ) 81 vs. West Oaks (FL) 70 In an exciting, hard fought game Hillcrest Prep was able to squeak past West Oaks late to win the game. The game was much closer than the score reflects, and the aggressive play of both teams made for a chippy, yet fun to watch game. Sophomore phenom Kyree Walker paced Hillcrest Prep with a near triple-double, going for 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. Sophomore point guard, Jeron Artest, also turned in a strong performance for Hillcrest Prep as he added 19 points, including five three-point shots. Tyrell Jones was the big performer for West Oaks, as he scored 21 points in the loss. Aspire Academy (KY) 66 vs. Potter's House Christian (FL) 51 Aspire Academy, led behind top junior center, Charles Bassey, picked up the win against home-state team Potter's House Christian. Bassey was dominant throughout the game, turning in a double-double performance for Aspire, as he finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Joel Ntambwe also was impressive for Aspire, adding 11 points before leaving the game late with an ankle injury. Potter's House Christian guard, Marsei Caston was a bright spot for his team, as the talented guard poured in (add stats) Victory Rock Prep (FL) 67 vs. Mountain Mission (VA) 34 In a game that Victory Rock Prep had complete control of, a great team effort pushed them to a win over Mountain Mission. Junior point guard Kolton Mitchell led the way in a low scoring first half for Victory Rock scoring 6 of his 11 points and dishing out a couple assists. Madut Akec led the way in the second half for Victory Rock, where he scored 13 of his 17 total points. . Flo Thamba led the way for Mountain Mission with 12 points. Prolific Prep (CA) 72 vs. DME Sports Academy (FL) 46 In a lopsided victory for Prolific Prep, their scoring load came from seniors Amadou Sow and Sekou Toure. Both players shot the ball well for Prolific, as Toure poured in 25 points and Sow added 18. Senior forward Onyinyechi Eyisi also contributed 12 points and was solid on the glass. Junior guard Nate Adcox and junior forward Vadim Clanet chipped in 8 points a piece for DME Academy, both hitting two three-pointers in the loss.

High School Basketball World Championship FINAL: Hillcrest Prep (70) vs. The Rock (61)

By Jessie Brewer, Monday, Mar 13, 2017 3:37 AM  

PHOENIX, AZ. The long-awaited championship game featured #2 The Rock Lions taking on the home standing #4 Hillcrest Prep Bruins. The Rock got on the board first and led for much of the first half, but midway through Hillcrest’s offensive began to flow. Playing lock down defense and with their shots falling, the Bruins went up by a quick 12 to end the half 35-23. All throughout the second half The Rock made runs to attempt a comeback, but Hillcrest capitalized on their errors. The Rock continued to hang around, even cutting their deficit to single digits, but their run happened too late in the game. The hometown favorites Hillcrest Prep were able to win 70-61, with DeAndre Ayton taking home game MVP. All of the players that Hillcrest needed to show up did just that. The #1 ranked senior DeAndre Ayton performed how he was expected to, earning player of the game. He was just one rebound shy of a double-double at the half. Coach Kyle Weaver said, “He didn’t take a play off,” in regards to Ayton’s play, and that could not be truer. The Arizona signee, playing in front of many fans, went on to earn the double-double with 29pts and 22rbs, along with 1ast. The story in the first half was the sensational sophomore Josh Green. Green scored extremely well, outside and inside, and was a threat defensively. The Australian had 15pts, 5rbs, and 4ast. Unsigned senior Alfred Hollins and junior Alperen Kurnaz, who was fantastic in yesterday’s game, had great showings today as well. Hollins was great defensively and also knocked down some big shots to finish with 15pts, 1rbs, and 1ast. Kurnaz, who has improved tremendously over the course of the season, had 3pts, 1rbs, 1ast, and 1stl. The Rock, who was 2-0 against Hillcrest coming into this game, had trouble getting shots to fall. They got off to a good start with Antrell Charlton nailing a three from the corner 3 seconds into the game, followed by a dish from Jamari Wheeler to Darius Days for a 5-0 run. However, as the half wore on, Hillcrest’s offense and defense became too much for the Lions. Days and Wheeler were instrumental in their team’s comeback effort, but it was too late in the game to overcome their deficit. Days had 20pts, 8rbs, 2stl, 1ast, and 1blk. Wheeler finished with 17pts, 8rbs, 6ast, and 4stl. Bryan Greenlee was also big on the day with 13pts, 4rbs, 1ast, and 1stl. SCORING: HP: Ayton 29, Green 15, Hollins 15, Burno 4, Kurnaz 3, Sullivan 3, Cotton 1 TR: Days 20, Wheeler 17, Greenlee 13, Charlton 6, Woods 4, Smith 1         All the action can be seen live online at TanagerSports.TV For the complete event schedule, visit TheGrindSession.com For the entire Grind Session circuit schedule, visit TheGrindSession.com Follow us on Twitter @thegrindsession and on Instagram @therealgrindsession

High School Basketball World Championship SEMIFINAL 2: The Rock (49) vs. Sunrise Christian (35)

By Jessie Brewer, Sunday, Mar 12, 2017 2:48 AM  

PHOENIX, AZ. The second semifinal game pitted #3 Sunrise Christian against #2 The Rock in a rematch from a month ago where Sunrise won 66-53. This game started similarly to the first, very tight. Sunrise Christian, who was playing their second game of the day due to last night’s quarterfinal being rescheduled because of a broken backboard, got on the board first. The game would stay tied at 6 for a while, but The Rock was eventually able to claim the lead and run with it a bit. They were up 23-14 at the half. The Rock Lions would gain a 10 point lead and maintain it through much of the half. Sunrise made a few pushes, but it was The Rock who would win 49-35. Game MVP went to Darius Days, who was dominant on both ends of the floor. The highly sought after junior had 15pts on a 50% shooting night to go with 10rbs and 2stl. Simeon Kirkland was solid in the second half, helping The Rock seal their spot in the championship. Going 4-of-7 from the field, the senior had 9pts and 3rbs. Half-brothers Jamari Wheeler and Antrell Charlton were also solid contributors in this one. Wheeler, a Duquesne signee, had 8pts, 5ast, 2rbs, and 2stl; Charlton had 11pts and 7rbs. Sunrise’s scoring was spread among 9 players, but was not enough to get the job done as it was a poor shooting night for the fatigued squad. Malik Hall led his team in scoring with 11pts, 4rbs, and 1stl. Freshman N’Faly Dante, who had a big game earlier in the day, had 6pts and 4rbs, while Texas A&M signee Isiah Jasey had 3pts, 7rbs, and 2blk. Point guard Isaiah Bujdoso struggled offensively, but did well directing the way for the Buffaloes. The junior had 2pts, 5rbs, and 2ast. SCORING: TR: Days 15, Charlton 11, Kirkland 9, Wheeler 8, Woods 2, Greenlee 2, Kenyon 2 SCA: Hall 11, Dante 6, Paez 3, Bennett 3, Nelson 3, Jasey 3, Ducasse 2, Bujdoso 2, Johnson 2         All the action can be seen live online at TanagerSports.TV For the complete event schedule, visit TheGrindSession.com For the entire Grind Session circuit schedule, visit TheGrindSession.com Follow us on Twitter @thegrindsession and on Instagram @therealgrindsession


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