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SIAA Veterans' Day Crossover Classic

By Rick Staudt, 11/11/17, 12:15PM CST

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The Sunshine Independent Athletic Association (SIAA) essentially kicked off the 2017-18 prep season with their Veteran’s Day Crossover Classic held Friday and Saturday at The Rock School in Gainesville.  The SIAA is separated into two divisions, North and South, and the event pairs teams from across divisions.  Five games take place each day.  Here is a recap of Friday’s action.

Game 1: Jacksonville Arlington Country Day 93, Orlando Downey Christian 72

The first half of this game was a close contest.  Downey held a 12-11 lead midway thru the first half until ACD went on a 10-0 run.  Downey chipped away at their deficit and at the half, it was just a two point game with ACD up 36-34.

ACD took control at the start of the second half, going on a 15-6 run over the first four minutes coming out of the locker room.  Now down eleven at 51-40, Downey just didn’t have the firepower to recover.  ACD’s lead never dropped below double digits from that point and cruised to an easy win.

Steve Melina, a 6’3 senior for ACD, led the way with a highly efficient 29 points.  It was a quiet 29 as all in his points came in the ordinary flow of the game.  He was 4-5 from deep but also scored from other levels.  Mert Halavunte, a 6’5 junior, Had 12 points but consistently found teammates for easy baskets when he got the ball in the middle of the Downey zone.  Gedeon Kamba, a 6’6 junior had 10 points and showed a soft touch inside.  He’s got a good frame and knows how to use it as an undersized four.  Samuel Ayomide, a 6’9 freshman for ACD, showed some promise with a mid-range jumper and activity on the glass.

5’8 sophomore Julian Newman tallied 35 points for Downey.  He pretty much scores in one of two ways: deep, deep threes or floaters in the lane or along the baseline.  6’2 junior Carlito Felix scored 19 points.  He connected on some open threes but was at his best when he could attack the basket.

Miami Calusa Prep 45, Orlando Inspire Prep 35

One wouldn’t think that a game with thirty second shot clocks would have a score this low.  With six minutes to play in the first half, the score was tied at fourteen.  From that point on, Calusa would finish out the half on a 12-0 run.

In the second half, Inspire Prep had several chances to get within a possession or two of the lead but each time Calusa would fend them off.  In the end, Inspire, with only eight players could not hold up against a deeper group from Miami.

Matheus Silveira, a 6’9 senior for Calusa, showed some promise.  He’s got a solid frame, moves well, and the lefty has a bit of bounce.  Silveira struggled a bit handling the double teams in the post but if not harassed showed good touch around the basket.

For Inspire Prep, 6’6 senior Raymond Dieng has a big frame and uses it well, not just in carving out space inside but also to overpower defenders on the perimeter.  When given a chance to catch and shoot, his shot is pretty reliable to mid-range.

Daytona Beach DME Academy 74, Oldsmar Christian 61

It has been a tough couple of weeks for Oldsmar Christian as an unexpected coaching change and a resulting player migration had the program scrambling for a bit.  The took on an experience group of post-grads from DME which got out to a fast 11-3 lead in the first three minutes of play.  Oldsmar would claw back to get within 18-14 at the ten minute mark but from there, DME would outscore them 22-8 to lead 40-22 at the break.

Things didn’t get any better for Oldsmar in the second half but they did continue to play hard.  While they never could get the margin below double digits, they were never out of the game until the very end.

For DME, we liked the guard tandem of 6’2 Frank Kamgain and 6’2 Frank Monpoint.  While scoring 19 and 13 points respectively, each did so in different ways.  Kamgain has a physically superior upper-body and essentially over-powers defenders.  He did make some open jumpers as well and also display good court vision and passing instincts.  Monpoint is thin but quite quick and speedy.  He made tough plays at the basket all game long.  With his bounce and length, he is an effective rebounder and defender in the passing lanes.

Cameron Lee, a 6’4 senior wing out of North Carolina, paced Oldsmar with 18 points, going 6-18 from beyond the arc.  He’s got the athleticism and burst with the ball to do damage at the basket but wasn’t able to complete those type of plays on Friday.  6’4 senior wing Ricardo Clouden was thrust into the unfamiliar role of facilitator.  He finished with fourteen points and at times looked good driving hard to the rim and scoring in traffic.

Orlando West Oaks Academy 79, Jacksonville Potter’s House Christian Academy 44

After just four minutes of play, West Oaks led 14-4 and Potter’s House had more turnovers than points.  West Oaks has a deep and talented crop of perimeter players and uses a demonic full-court press to disrupt opponents.  A young Potter’s House group with only two seniors was simply no match on this day.

The lone bright spot for Potter’s House was 6’5 senior Jimmy Beane, Jr.  Tallying fifteen points, the strong two-guard get great elevation on his jump shot and it was finding its mark consistently.  He’s an excellent athlete that helps out on the glass at both ends.

In this game, one can pretty much pick a name off the West Oaks roster and point to his positive play.  Seniors Ben Tal and P.J. Person did a good job of spearheading the defense with full-court ball pressure and orchestrating the offense.  Guards Tyrell Jones, Tyerike Blakeney and Selton Miguel got out quickly and scored in transition.  The freshmen duo of J.J. Harris and A.J. Neal showed they got next with the aggressive and active play.  While the interior trio of Cristian Lora, Jovan Zdravkovic, and Simeon Graham didn’t score much, they seemingly challenged every Potter’s House shot inside and got bushels of rebounds at both ends.

Gainesville The Rock School 61, Bradenton Victory Rock Prep 58

Unquestionably the best game of the day, you wouldn’t have thought so watching warmups.  Only goes eight deep with freshman Lynn Kidd being the tallest at 6’7.  On the flip side, VRP goes eleven players strong and has multiple guys with size.

VRP got out to a quick 10-4 lead but within a minute The Rock tied the score at ten.  The teams would trade points back and forth with neither team gaining much of an advantage.  Just before the end of the first half, the homestanding Lions put together a run to lead 40-34 at the break.

VRP scores the first six points out of the locker room to tie the score.  The Rock led by three at 46-43 at the eleven minute mark but it was VRP that lead 51-50 five minutes later.  With 1:30 to play, the score was tied at 56 and overtime looked like a possibility.  With just under one minute to play, junior Trey McCray nailed a three to make it 59-56.  VRP answered with two free throws from 6’6 senior Madut Akec.  Forced to foul, The Rock’s Bryan Greenlee hit one of two free throws to make it a two point game with thirty seconds to play.  VRP ran a set play but turned the ball over with fifteen seconds left.  They fouled junior Jaden Campbell, and he made one of two, giving VRP a chance to tie.  A last chance three by Akec was off target and The Rock held on for a victory.

The wing tandem of 6’7 senior Jonathan dos Anjos and 6’6 senior Madut Akec was quite effective for VRP.  Both are long and bouncy with dos Anjos doing his damage mostly in transition and on drive to the basket while Akec has a smooth and accurate jump shot from mid-range to the arc. 

For The Rock, 6’2 senior Antrell Charlteton and 6’0 junior Bryan Greenlee were instrumental in gaining the victory.  Putting forth maximum effort at both ends of the court, they were quick to convert turnovers into points.  Charleton was very effective on drives to the basket, either scoring or finding open teammates.  Greenlee shot the ball quite well from distance and did a solid job of running the offense and pushing the pace in transition.  Complementing those two was the play of freshman Lynn Kidd.  At 6’7 with excellent hands, he fared well against bigger players on the glass at both ends and showed an ability to face the basket and score.