Two great teams closed the Third Annual Buckeye Elite National Showcase tournament on Saturday night at Portsmouth High School. The East Tartans met the Minford Falcons on the court. East walked out with some known athletes such as Akia Brown and Drew Lowe. These guys were a success on the football field, and now they are showing the that they are just as successful on the court.
East was heading the game throughout the first quarter. Then Minford Dillon Shepherd moved in under the net to score in the final eight seconds of the period.
Despite the massively athletic ball players on the East side, Minford was at no disadvantage with players like Matthew Gullett, who commonly leads the Falcons in scoring. Gullett also shows leadership on the court and can run the ball as well as shoot it.
By the end of the first half, both teams were tied at 34. Early in the third, the two teams stayed tied. When one team would step out in the lead, the other would step up and replace them. So, East sent out the toughest. Brown came out shooting for three and making clean shots. Lowe get right up on the net and shoots from underneath. At the end of the third, East was in the lead 51-45.
Shepherd came out for the Falcons, shooting for three and trying to catch up the game. The Falcons has no problem finding shooters that can score from anywhere on the court.
Though Minford fought to stay in the game and had some good plays, in the final seconds of the game, East was too far ahead. With 30 seconds left on the clock, Minford was down by 11. Then, Tartan J.D. Hatcher swooped in and scored from under the net, ending the game with an East victory of 68-54.
Tartan Coach Adam Bailey came out after the game and stated, “I thought we came out and played much better than we have. We did a good job taking care of the ball. We were able to run what we wanted to run this game.”
Bailey commented on how well Minford’s star player performed by stating, “The Gullett kid did a really good job tonight.”
Bailey too has a player with magic abilities on the court.
“Akia took over and did what we often expect him to do, being one of the better players in the area,” Bailey commented.
East will play again at Clay on Friday night.
Minford’s Coach Josh Shoemaker was disappointed in the loss as the team has been under-performing recently.
“In the second half, they hit some more shots. We struggled shooting as we have the past couple games,” Shoemaker stated. “We just got to keep working and getting better. The season’s still young.”
Minford and East were the final teams to play in the Buckeye Elite tournament. According to the Dustin Pendleton, with Buckeye Elite, 22 teams came into the area to play in the tournament. These teams included various high school players from Canada and along the east coast.
“We had some really good games this year,” Pendleton stated. “All were very competitive, and nearly all came to the wire.”
He added that even one game went into overtime.
Pendleton added that he and partner Miles Ferguson started the tournament for area young people.
“We do this for the community,” he stated. “We don’t make any money off this. All money raised goes back into the event.”
Instead, Pendleton stated that he and Ferguson puts on the event because it gives people in the community something to do and brings bigger teams and scouts to the area.
“Local schools don’t get invited to big tournaments,” he stated.
The bigger teams offered some of the local basketball players new challenges. Pendleton also confirmed that Division II and III college coaches and turned out for the event, which could help get some local kids scholarships and basketball contracts.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1924.
Minford 15 34 48 54
East 17 34 53 68
Minford: Kelley-5, Tilley-5, Thoroughman-4, Gullett-25, Dalton-3, Shepherd-6, Compton-4
East: Flannery-3, Shope-2, Lowe-9, Martin-2, Brown-29, Bivens-9, Hatcher-4, Scott-10