I like the action at the fall league. The high school division features several of the area's most promising teams. And the players have competed fiercely.
Last week, I highlighted the play of Laney's Tahj Tanksley and Donald Henley, who led the Wildcats in a hard fought win over Alleluia. The duo followed that act one week later with a similar performance in a win over Westside, the second consecutive without seniors Christian Keeling and Zep's Jasper.
Tanksley delivered the first blow, a catch-and-shoot three off of a Henley drive and dish that gave Laney a 38-30 lead with 10:54 remaining. A couple slashing scores from Tanksley and Henley followed, and the Wildcats appeared to be rolling. But a late mini meltdown led to a one point Westside lead before Tanksley netted 6 free throws in the final minute and Henley grabbed two crucial steals to seal the game.
I make quite a fuss over seniors Christian Keeling and Zep Jasper. Rightfully so, given they are committed to play division one college basketball next season. But Tanksley and Henley will be just as pivotal as anyone to the Wildcats' continued success if Laney is to extend its streak this coming season to seven consecutive final four appearances.
Richmond senior Madison Williams recently committed to attend college and play ball at Illinois State. His Richmond Musketeers are well represented in the fall league under the Brown Suns name. Playing most of its games without seniors Nick Roberts (6'7") and Rashard Green (6'5") has given 6'5" junior Moses Williams, a lefty with good athleticism, a chance to play a big role. He and senior Trey Brown complimented Williams nicely in a win Saturday against Alleluia.
Alleluia burst on the fall league scene last week with an impressive performance in a close loss to Laney. Saturday, the Angels got help from Cross Creek senior Moses Jones, who tipped in his own miss to win one of the most entertaining games of the Fall, an overtime Alleluia victory over Westside.
Alleluia's Mac McBride and Hayden Hebert, both seniors, looked unstoppable most of the day in the win over Westside and in a close loss to Richmond. Junior sharp shooter Ben Dresser continues to improve his entire game, and Jones made many big plays while hounding Westside's Trez Hawes and Richmond's Madison Williams for about 60 total minutes.
Westside's Hawes has been a consistently effective scorer and a game competitor throughout league play. So has junior teammate Elijah Brown. But I have yet to see Westside notch a win.
Aquinas is the team I've learned the most about by hanging around the fall league. Sophomore Tre Gomillion has matured a great bit on the court. I've watched him consistently ask for the ball and proceed to attack the basket, seeking contact and living at the line.
But Gomillion is not alone. Gerald Merriweather a sophomore transfer from Hephzibah, can score. Cameron Gardner, yet another sophomore transfer from Hephazibah brings size and potential. And at least during the fall league, Hephzibah sophomore Jozquez Smith brings more shooting and perimeter play to the Irish.
I know if I enjoy fall league action this much, I'll love the season, which is right around the corner. In the meantime, I'll see you in the gym.