Tough week for me and my closest friends. Thanks for everyone who offered their prayers as my friends father was rushed to the hospital. He has since returned home and is doing better.
Now back to where we left off last week the 17 and under capsules for the Knox Vegas Heat event.
Team Thad made the long trip to Knoxville to show it belonged among the nations elite. They did little to disappoint.
Rolling through pool play and taking care of business against some of the their Tennessee brethren Thad found themselves in a dog fight in the semi-finals against the eventual champion South Carolina Raptors.
Playing without emerging big man Nick Marshall (Lexington) the black and yellow fought hard but came up short to the tune of 94-86.
Marshall had an eye opening week turning heads with his aggressive play, the 6'11 rising senior scored around the bucket, blocked shots with purpose and snatched caroms like it was his profession.
Guard plays as usual was a Team Thad strength and the next emerging star from the Bluff City did not disappoint.
LaGerald Vick (Douglas) is the real deal. The lanky 6'5 shooting guard has sic handles, gets past anyone who attempts in pure futility to stay in front of him and has an improving outside stroke. Keep a serious eye on this guy.
Jermiah Martin (Mitchell) provided the outside stroke for Team Thad finishing with double digits on several occasions while rising junior point man Jalen Fisher (Bolton) saved his best for the late Saturday and early Sunday contests.
Nashville Celtics 17s
The Celtics finished 4-1 winning their pool before falling to Team Thad in the quarter-finals.
Jordon Varnado (Haywood) had a solid tournament scoring from the outside, providing some clutch hoops in the paint, blocking several shots and giving good effort throughout.
The Celtics played a bit shorthanded missing key players including Jalen Duke (MLK), Will Shelton (Hardin County) and Ricky Dunnaway (Oakland).
On the perimeter the Celtics were excited about the sudden offensive emergence of shooting guard Grant Teichmann (Brentwood). His ability to knock down the bomb kept opposing defenses honest and allowed for some easy forays to the hoop for Kyler Douglas (Haywood).
Inside the Celtics got some solid minutes from improving post presence Tanner Spalding (Franklin). The big fella has improved his post game, showed he could knock down a shot in the secondary break and did some yeoman work on the glass.
Team Nashville 17s
Solid showing for the boys from the Music City as they advanced to bracket play on Sunday.
On the perimeter James McPherson (Brentwood) and Leon Howard (Nashville Overton) did a great job getting people shots. McPherson showed he could knock down some points with several double digit games to his credit.
On the wing Tripp Davis (Lighthouse Christian) had a solid tournament scoring in transition while Ladarius Chester (Florida) by way of Memphis was one of the most spectacular athletes in the entire event.
Jaylon Washington (Stewart's Creek) had some moments inside and Kyle Oliver (Oakland) was a big presence inside with his gridiron physique.
Tennessee Chosen Few 17s
TCF finished 2-2 falling to Team Thad in bracket action on Saturday evening. Kordell Henderson (White County) turned some heads with outside shooting while Stanley Valentine (Hampton), Jordan Bowden (Carter) and Kelvin Jackson (Fulton) played solid throughout the event.
Chattanooga Elite 17s
The boys from Chattanooga grabbed a few wins before finishing out of contention in pool action. Marquis Tipton (Brainerd), Jordan Atkins (McCallie), Tre Tiller (Chattanooga Central), Tracy Thompson (East Hamilton) and Nathaniel Collins (Bledsoe County) were all lauded for their contributions throughout the weekend.
Music City Heat 17s
MCH lost their pool play finale against the Tennessee Chosen Few with a bracket advance on the line for the winner.
Justin Jenkins (Knoxville Webb), Nick Green (Northeast), Torrey McGhee (East Nashville) and Taylor Vanderbilt (Smyrna) were recognized for their efforts over the course of the tournament.
Tennessee Bobcats 17s
The Bobcats finished the event at 2-2 dropping their opener to the Kentucky Retros 76-70 despite 20 markers from Peyton Woods (Kentucky) and 13 from Cade Crosland (White County).
The Bobcats had redemption on their collective minds as they destroyed the Western Kentucky Elite 73-55 behind 12 from Makale Foreman (Dobyns-Bennett). Crosland added 11 and John Bryant (Jefferson County) finished with 10.
The winning got contagious as the Bobcats bested the Georgia Tornadoes 54-53 behind 20 from Bryant. Crosland continued his consistent scoring with 10.
Bryant managed 14 but the Bobcats fell to the Next Level squad from Kentucky to the tune of 70-64. Quan Harrison (Greeneville) added 10 in the loss.