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.
Lets begin our assessments with the 15 and under field at the Best in State. The morning got off to an unfortunate start as one of the participating squads had to withdraw which left only three teams in the age bracket.
Playing one less game each didn't affect the effort what so ever as the BMaze Elite, Tennessee Fury and Upward Stars each proved how solid there programs were by finishing 1-1.
BMaze Elite 90
Upward Stars 54
Quante Berry (Bradley Central) led a group of five in double digits with 19 as BMaze Elite go the ball rolling with a 90-54 win over the Upward Stars from Nashville. The BMaze crew got hot early and often cruising to the easy win. B.J. Edwards (Knoxville Catholic) was spectacular with adding 17 points while 2023 rising star Blue Cain (Knoxville Catholic) added 13.
Jaden Lyles (Lipscomb Academy) and J.J. Wheat (Clarksville) scored 11 and 10 respectively to lead Upward.
Presley Patterson (Knoxville Catholic) added 12 markers in the win while Ryan Neal (Farragut) pitched in with 11.
Tennessee Fury 66
BMaze Elite 65
Will Biven (Knoxville West) scored 20 points as the Tennessee Fury got past a powerful BMaze Elite squad 66-65. Walker Kyle (Bearden) added 12 in the win.
Edwards almost single handedly brought BMaze back from a large second half deficit, scoring 20 points in the narrow loss. Handje Tamba (Knoxville Catholic) finished with 14 and Berry added 10 for BMaze.
Upward Stars 82
Tennessee Fury 80
In another exciting finish in the 15 and under division the Upward Stars got 20 from Wheat and 16 from Lyles as they slid past the Fury 82-80.
Dillon Atwell (Farragut) led the Fury with 18 while Biven chipped in with 17 in the tough loss. Alton Perry (Knoxville West) added 13 for the Fury.
GIMME SIX WHO CAUGHT MY ATTENTION
Will Biven (Knoxville West)
Young man played fearless, showed he could score against elite competition and despite some hesitation from the perimeter is a good all around player. He must increase his foot speed and ball handling to play either backcourt spot as the level gets greater.
B.J. Edwards (Knoxville Catholic)
If he's not the best player in the Class of 2022 in the state, please introduce to who would be. This kid is bright, long and just knows how to play. You cant rush him, he plays with pace and attacks at every opportunity. He scores at all the levels and handles with care. Very impressive young player.
J.J. Wheat (Clarksville)
Small guard with an attacker mentality. He loves to penetrate and finish despite his size. His outside work will come as he gains confidence. He defends and isn't afraid to get dirty. Strong handles and will seek to get the ball to the open guy. He has a bright future.
Alton Perry (Knoxville West)
I kept asking myself who is this kid? He kept making plays, he handled the ball, he scored on drives, he hit some clutch shots, he defended whomever had the ball, he kept everyone involved and he played with a smile. My friend you have my attention.
Quante Berry (Bradley Central)
Silky smooth and confident with the ball in his hands. He is a creative scorer around the rim and will launch on you if you disrespect his range. He likes to attack and is at his best making decisions with the ball in the paint. He is long and if he so desires could be a lockdown defender.
Caleb Shaw (Davidson Academy)
Lean combo guard often had the ball in his hands but proved he was a capable scorer. He has a great feel for what is going on around him and he has a toughness that belies his slight build. He plays with passion and aggressiveness and has a stroke that will make him one to watch as his body catches up with his skill level.