Two great games at JCC Wednesday night. Tapestry stormed back to knock off Maple Grove, 61-53. And then, International Prep at Grover held off OTC Middle College, 68-61.
Here are some final thoughts on both games with some postgame video:
--- Dazmon Knight is the perfect catalyst for Earl Schunk’s grip-it-and-rip-it offense. The 5-9 guard is a pest on defense, baiting opponents into traps and turnovers. And offensively, he has a knack for finishing in traffic. Several times against Maple Grove, he sliced into the heart of the defense, drew contact, hung in the air and banked shots in. On a team that substitutes in fresh players all game, Knight is the one constant. His 26 points — and timely steals — were the difference Wednesday.
For Tapestry to pull an upset win over I-Prep, Knight will need to bring it again.
--- Many teams really do embody the personality of their coach. Schunk was never rattled when his team was in a daze offensively early on. He smiled, laughed and stayed relaxed. So once the Thunderhawks did smell blood, they attacked. A 41-28 deficit was erased in an instant. David Bass (10 points) is a prime example. The senior guard picked up his fourth foul at the end of the first half sat through the third quarter and returned in the fourth to hit a huge three that tied the game at 47.
I-Prep/OTC Middle College
--- Chris Holland took over. The senior guard single-handedly kept OTC Middle College on its heels, bulling his way to the basket for 32 points. Like his coach said afterward, the game really does seem to slow down for Holland. He’s able to find the shots he wants — when he wants them. It'll take a physical guard to slow him down defensively.
--- Outside of Holland, I-Prep boasts size that’ll pose a major challenge to Tapestry. Six-foot-5 Kadeem Hillman scored 11 points Wednesday but certainly had an impact beyond the scorebook. Against Tapestry’s undersized lineup in the final, he could play a bigger role.
Look no further than the two teams’ previous meeting. Hillman scored 28 points and threw down four jams in an 88-64 rout of Tapestry.
(Running recaps of both semifinal games below)
2:47: OTC's Khalid Brown hits a hanging 'J.' Close so far. Teams just feeling each other out....10-10
1:19: Cordell Torres brings the house down. Intimidating one-handed jam there. I-Prep leads, 14-13.
End of first: I-Prep's Chris Holland drills a 3. Presidents in control, 20-13. Cool sight with their former coach, Tapestry's Schunk, sitting behind the team's bench.
6:50: I-Prep's Kadeem Hillman throws down a dunk underneath. Presidents are wearing down OTC, 25-16.
5:00: OTC's Torres hits a pair of FT's. Kats chipping away at this lead, 27-20.
3:07: Hillman drains a difficult turnaround jumper at the left block. Program says he's 6-5. He plays much, much bigger. I-Prep leads, 31-21.
1:10: OTC's Brown hits a tough two...And moments later, Curtis Harper nails a 3 to cut the lead to 33-29. There's a I-Prep fan in the coach's ear right behind me. C'mon man. Let him coach.
HALFTIME: I-Prep 37, OTC 29. Tony Parker-esque tear drop by the Presidents' Kenny Pringle in the lane. Both of these teams would be able to run with Tapestry. Very entertaining half of basketball.
6:23: I-Prep's Milliman nails a jumper but OTC's Brown answers right back with a 3....41-34, Presidents.
3:57: Technical on OTC. Getting testy. After a Holland FT, it's 42-29 I-Prep.
1:20: Holland is driving at will. Slick move to the tin makes it 46-43.
End of Third: I-Prep 48, OTC Middle College 45.
4:30: Neither team has generated much offense through the fourth. Defense is tightening up. OTC has taken the lead though, 55-53.
4:00: Pair of FT's knot the game at 55.
3:36: Gritty "and one" for I-Prep's Pringle. I-Prep leads, 58-55.
2:12: Turnover by I-Prep gives OTC a window here. The Presidents lead 58-57.
2:01: Hard drive by OTC's Brown draws foul and the junior hits both FTs...OTC leads, 59-58.
1:49: Holland comes right back. Senior is willing his team today. Holland methodically sliced through the OTC defense, scored, was fouled and hit his free throw. I-Prep goes back up, 61-59.
0:47: OTC's Emmit Middlebrooks ties it up on a putback, 61. But I-Prep answers right away. Dartwon Brooks scores, is fouled and hits his FT. Presidents lead, 64-61.
0:26: Huge play by...who else? I-Prep's Holland steals a pass and glides in for a layup. 66-61.
FINAL: I-PREP 68, OTC 61
After some early Internet issues, we're ready to rock 'n roll. Tapestry and Maple Grove are off and running, literally. One quarter down and it's been entertaining with Tapestry trying to fastbreak at every opportunity. Red Dragons have navigated the press just fine so far. Big 3 by David Bass gives his team the lead.
End of first: Tapestry 12, Maple Grove 9
6:00 left: Tapestry is doing what its done all season -- substitute players in waves. Thing is, Maple Grove is running with them. Short jumper by Ryan Kibbe and its 15-13 Red Dragons.
5:00: Maple Grove giving Thunderhawks a taste of their own medicine with an effective press. Kibbe hits a pair of FT's and its 19-13 MG.
3:01: Big 3 from MG's Alex Grace. It's 24-15. Tapestry needs to be careful. Its own style is hurting them so far. Wasting possessions and Red Dragons are taking advantage.
2:32: Tough reverse layup by Tapestry's Darryl Hollins stops the bleeding, 24-17.
0:33: Oh boy. Tapestry in foul trouble already. Guard David Bass just picked up his fourth foul. Maple Grove ahead, 29-19. Pretty jumper by Skyler Liddell.
HALFTIME: Maple Grove 31, Tapestry 19
5:57: Gritty layup by Maple Grove's Alex Grace. Some hard contact in traffic, while he's falling down. It's 33-21 MG.
4:35: Red Dragons keep catching Tapestry napping. Jordon Saxton gets behind the D on a break and finishes. 35-21.
3:34: Bang, bang and it's a game. Tapestry's Cameron Alston nails a 3. And after a steal/layup, it's 35-26.
End of third: Tapestry's press really got to MG at the end of the quarter. Three quick buckets in a row. It's 43-35 after some great hustle plays by Tap's Hollins.
6:45: Hollins and Knight get two layups in a row. Tapestry is trapping at every opportunity and giving Maple Grove some serious trouble. Still, Red Dragons have a 47-39 lead. When they're able to set things up, they're getting good looks.
5:42: Maple Grove is shell-shocked. Bass hits a 3...then Dakarai Hubbard...and we have a tied ballgame at 47-47.
4:11: Two Bass FT's and Tapestry takes its first lead in a longgg time, 49-47. Quickly, though, MG's Meekins answers with layup at other end....49-49.
2:49: Unbelievable how the Uncle 'Mo has turned this game around. Tapestry has MG on the ropes. Clutch 3 in the left corner by Knight. Tap leads, 56-49, with the ball. MG can't get it over halfcourt.
1:24: Maple Grove starting to foul. If Tapestry makes its FT's -- and the Thunderhawks have been sharp there -- it'll win. 58-51.
0:43: MG 3 is off target and it's back to the line for Tapestry. Jordan Connell hits the front end of a one-and-one and nails the second. Ice-in-the-veins shot there. 60-53 Tapestry.
FINAL: TAPESTRY 61, MAPLE GROVE 53. Incredible speed, athleticism. Great game.