Catching up on some past stories we begin with the annual Best in State event. Our annual event proved to be the best we have ever fielded with a high level of competition as we gave these programs some real tests as they prepared for the "live period" the following weekend.
High level of competition in our 16 and under division with four of the best programs in the state going hard after each other. Lets break down some game action for you.
EAB 2021 87
Tennessee Tigers 66
Riggs Abner (Mt. Juliet) led a group of five with 20 markers as EAB got things rolling with an 87-66 triumph over the Tigers.
Zion Swader (Siegel) added 18, Matthew Sells (Livingston Academy) came up with 15, Grant Slatten (White County) got 11 and Matthew Schneider (Siegel) closed with 10.
Marcus Tankersly (Hamilton Heights) led the Tigers with 14 followed closely by Collin Gore (Upperman) with 11 and Trey Hamilton (McCallie) with a 10 spot.
Team WHBH 2021 75
EAB 2021 72
Jaylen Pegues (Hillsboro) dropped 17 as WHBH got the tough victory over a talented EAB squad 75-72 in one of the best games of the day in any age bracket.
Patrick Smith (Goodpasture) was outstanding all day long and chipped in with 14 while Grant Hurst (Cleveland) added 13.
Swader took game scoring honors with 18 for EAB. Slatten added 12, Reed Kemp (Franklin) scored 11 and Sells finished with 10.
Team WHBH 2021 98
Tennessee Tigers 68
Hurst scored a game high 19 as WHBH moved to 2-0 on the day with a 98-68 win over the Tigers. Garrett Vick (Camden Central) dropped 17, Mason Rothwell (Bradley Central) and Matt Thurman (Franklin) added 14 each, Pegues chipped in with 13 and John Windley (Brentwood) closed with 12.
Braden Zapp (CPA) led the Tigers scoring with 15 followed by Hamilton and Kolby McGowan (Cleveland) with 11 each and Kaleb Powell (Beech) with 10.
Team WHBH 2021 70
BMaze Elite 2021 62
Hurst dropped 22 and Smith added 21 respectively as WHBH concluded the Best in State unblemished in the 16 and under division. Pegues added 11 while Thurman chipped in with 10 in the victory.
Andrew Williams (Hamilton Heights) scored 18 to lead BMaze. Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (IMG Academy) added 17 while Quante Berry (Bradley Central) chipped in with 15.
Tennessee Tigers 93
BMaze Elite 2021 90
Powell dropped 21 as the Tigers outlasted a determined BMaze bunch to the tune of 93-90. Zapp added 17, Tankersly pitched in with 16, Gore got 13 and Jacob Murrell (Goodpasture) closed with 11.
The Tiger victory overcame a big scoring performance from Huntley-Hatfield who led all scorers with 29 large. Williams added 24 while rising freshman Blue Cain (Knoxville Catholic) added 18 in the loss.
EAB 2021 82
BMaze Elite 81
Swader nailed a deep three at the buzzer in overtime as EAB escaped with an 82-81 win in the final contest in the 16 and under division at the Best in State.
Slatten was huge, hitting big shot after big shot going head to head with Williams in a scoring duel. Slatten finished with a game high 24 while Williams closed with 23 for BMaze.
Sells and Schneider scored 16 each for EAB while Sam Specht (PJPII) had his best game of the tournament scoring 14.
Luke Lentz (Bearden) scored 17 while Huntley-Hatfield added 13 in the tough defeat.
Give Me 8 Who Rose to the Challenge
Patrick Smith (Goodpasture)
5'10 PG 2021
Team WHBH 2021
The past two weekends have been magical for this young man. He laid the foundation with a superb effort at the BCAT 100 and followed it up by leading his squad to an undefeated finish at Best in State. He averaged close to 15 per game at the event and was dynamic in making plays and winning games. His confidence was very high as he showed poise and leadership, he can play either guard spot equally well and truly like to guard.
Collin Gore (Upperman)
5'10 PG 2021
Tennessee Tigers 2021
Slightly built guard with a winners mentality and a great feel and understanding for the game. He grinds, he helps, he finishes, he wins and he leads. He has intangibles galore, he runs the show, a coach on the floor and a real grasp of what is happening on both ends of the floor. His size will hinder his level to some degree but his IQ will make up for this shortcoming down the road.
Andrew Williams (Hamilton Heights)
6'7 SG/WF 2021
BMaze Elite 2021
This kid has all the natural gifts a player could want. He has length, lefty handles and a nice stroke. He glides to the cup, he can start or finish the break, he took scoring honors at 21.7 per game in this division and when motivated he can be the best player on the floor. "When motivated" will be how he is measured when he is amongst the best in the nation. He has the tools, there is no doubt, now make it happen young man.
Grant Slatten (White County)
6'5 SG 2021
Great size for a two guard, he is an underrated athlete who has excellent bounce. His stroke is confidence based but when on he can fill it up, as was evident in the comeback win over BMaze in the division final. He has a feel for the game, he defends, he plays with passion and he has been well coached along the way. He needs to show even more aggression on the offensive end as he gives up shots due to unselfishness. He finished at 15.7 per contest at the event.
Grant Hurst (Cleveland)
6'0 PG 2021
Team WHBH 2021
Young lead guard had a fantastic weekend helping lead his troops to an unblemished record at Best in State. Hurst averaged 18 per contest with a high of 22. His floor game is his strength, he plays with a chip on his shoulder and he isn't afraid to pull from anywhere he feels the urge. Shot selection can be an issue and decision making down the road will need to be toned down a tad but his aggressive nature makes him the winner he is, his confidence allows him to play bigger than he is and his winning mentality is good for everyone he associates himself with.
Trey Hamilton (McCallie)
6'5 WF 2021
Tennessee Tigers 2021
Lean young wing has made big strides in his game since last season. He remains thin but he has added strength and it shows on the glass. He has good length and his best feature is the ability to put the ball in the hole. His shooting is good and once he adds more bulk his range will increase. As he climbs the prospect ladder he will need to work on adding some perimeter game skills including off the bounce and continue to use his length to rebound and become a better more valuable defender.
Blue Cain (Knoxville Catholic)
6'3 SG 2023
BMaze Elite 2021
Want to see if a kid can handle playing against bigger and stronger competition, let him play two levels up. This reaction didn't phase this confident youngster. The rising freshman has yet to play a high school basketball game and he showed he could hoop with anyone his age and beyond. He is so good in transition, he attacks the rim, using some euro-step action to make creative finishes with either hand. His shooting touch is adequate and will get better as he seems to want to be a more complete player. He is tough, he fights and he isn't afraid. You can hear the glowing reaction in my voice, I am very impressed with this young cat.
Matthew Sells (Livingston Academy)
6'2 SG 2021
Smooth beyond reproach, he glides into his shot, he has a natural feel for the rock and his shot is ascetically pleasing. He understand the game and he plays like a seasoned veteran at this tender age already. He has massive range, averaged 15 per game at the event, and has a bag of tricks in the lane, including runners, quick mid-range shots and floaters. His body needs more bulk, as most his age do, but his skill level is evident in his production.