Source: Ben Spicer - Daily TimesHighlights from Charles Bassey’s game against Athlete Institute
Saturday marked the final day of the Buckeye Elite National Showcase held at Portsmouth High School.
Several local teams and even teams who are big on the national high school basketball scene competed in front of spectators in an all-day celebration of the sport.
The three-day event hosted schools from all across the country, and even saw teams from as far as Canada participating.
Aspire Academy (KY) 62, Athlete Institute (Canada) 53
The headline matchup of Saturday’s slate pitted Aspire Academy from Louisville, KY against Athlete Institute of Orangeville, Ontario.
Both teams featured a roster deep with future division one level talent, with junior Charles Bassey (the third overall prospect in 2019 according to ESPN) leading the way for Aspire.
For Athlete Institute, notable players included senior Luguentz Dort (an Arizona State commit and five-star prospect as graded by ESPN) and sophomore Addison Patterson (a five-star prospect in the 2020 class as tabbed by 24/7 Sports).
Bassey was impressive in the game against Athlete Institute, posting a stat line of 23 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five blocks, and three steals.
“We knew that we had an edge down low in the post, so we fed it to Charles,” Aspire head coach Jeremy Kipness told the Daily Times. “We did a great job getting back in transition defense and stopping them.”
The Wizards of Aspire Academy won both of their games in the event, and will head back to Louisville playing with some confidence.
“We’ve got some momentum now going back to Louisville, and we’re going to make sure we have a big week of practice,” Kipness said.
“It’s been a good weekend for me and my team,” Bassey said. “We played good. We started slow today, but we came back.”
Bassey has high hopes for what the future will hold given his talent level, but he’s trying not to think ahead too much.
He says he hopes to “just go in to every game with the winning mentality and do what we can to win every time” moving forward in his high school career.
For Kipness, it was nice to introduce his team to a new atmosphere and win in both of their games.
It’s a great environment, a beautiful facility, and everybody has been so welcoming and nice,” Kipness said about Portsmouth. “It’s always fun to get our guys and have them go into different environments and see different places.”
Dayton Northridge 52, Minford 23
Following the game between Aspire and Athlete Institute, two Ohio teams faced off as the hometown Minford Falcons took on the Dayton Northridge Polar Bears.
Through the first quarter, Minford was right in the mix with Northridge.
Kelton Kelley scored the first two baskets for the Falcons, who led 4-2 with seven minutes remaining in the opening period.
“In the first quarter, we attacked their pressure,” Minford head coach Josh Shoemaker said. “We were able to make good passes which led to buckets and were able to rebound a little bit better in the first quarter.”
Turnovers would begin to present a problem to come in the first for the Falcons, who would turn the ball over 25 times in the game.
Still, after one Minford was still battling away, trailing only 14-10.
For the remaining three quarters, the Falcons would score only 13 points on their way to a 52-23 loss.
“As that pressure continued the rest of the game, it wore us down,” Shoemaker said. “We didn’t take care of the basketball which led to a lot of transition points for them, and we also didn’t rebound well.”
Minford is a very young team, still trying to figure themselves out early in the year.
“I think we’re still finding our identity,” Shoemaker said. “Overall, we’re making some progress.”
An area that Shoemaker hopes to improve on is rebounding and taking care of the basketball. In the first few games, those younger players have learned a lot of lessons.
“You’ve got to focus and play hard every minute, you can’t take a play off,” Shoemaker said. “We’ll have a good defensive possession, and then one guy might miss a box out. You play great defense for 20 seconds, and then you give up a layup because one guy misses his assignment.”
Although they came up short, the game gave the Falcons a chance to evaluate where they’re at as a team.
“It’s always good to go outside and play good competition,” Shoemaker said. “It was a very tough matchup for us, but we want to compete and try to find some positives from that to continue getting better.”
Kelton Kelley scored a team-high nine points for Minford, and Cameron Dalton added eight.
Africentric 59, Eastern Pike 49
The final game of the day featured Columbus Africentric against Eastern Pike.
This contest pitted the Nubians of the Columbus City League against the Eagles from the SOC.
Africentric jumped out to an early lead they would not relinquish in the first quarter, and led 19-10 at the end of one.
In the second quarter, Eastern rallied back to tie the score at 23 with 3:11 remaining after a technical foul was called on the Nubians.
From there, Africentric was just too much as the Nubians closed out the half on an 8-0 run to take a 31-23 lead into the break.
The speed and quickness of Africentric was too much to overcome in the second half, as the Nubians jumped out to a 39-25 lead with 5:30 to go in the third.
Attempting to mount a furious comeback, the Eagles came up just short in the end with a 59-49 loss.
Hunter Cochenour led Eastern in scoring with 16 points. Michael Miller had 11 of his own. Evan Leist and Cody Weaver each scored 10.
Reach Benjamin Spicer at (502)264-7318 on Twitter @BSpicerPDT or at Facebook.com/ReporterBenSpicer