Boys Basketball Roundup 2/23

Boys Basketball Roundup 2/23

In the 12 days since our last update, the Cleveland boys basketball team holds a 3-1 record.

The highlight of this stretch was back-to-back victories over #20 Benson, the first on Feb. 18 by a score of 70-57, and second on Feb. 21, 52-37. Cleveland also beat #28 Wells 70-60 on Feb. 11, with the one loss coming against #3 Roosevelt on Feb. 15, falling 73-55.

To get the bad news out of the way first, Cleveland was outplayed by Roosevelt for the majority of that loss, and after showing signs of life in the third quarter gave up identical back-to-back threes, which put them away.

This was an intense game for both teams, with both head coaches receiving a technical foul, along with one Roosevelt assistant.

The style of the game also matched that intensity. Both teams were aggressive on defense, which led to frequent loose balls and very little time to set up an organized offensive play. In the first half, Cleveland struggled with this and gave up some frustrating turnovers, but they adapted and matched Roosevelt very well in the second.

The bright spot of this game was without a doubt Warriors junior Jackson Cooper. Cooper did an admirable job guarding #0 Raysean Seamster, who is the #1 senior recruit in Oregon. More importantly, Cooper continually made a difference offensively despite heavy coverage from Roosevelt. His ability to overcome extra defensive pressure will be crucial in the playoffs.

The most concerning part of this game for the Warriors was three pointers. Their strongest shooter, senior Lawson Vella, drew heavy coverage when they were pushing to come back in the second half, and they struggled to find another option. It’s clear that the Warriors will need to adapt to extra coverage of their top scorers.

Thankfully, Cleveland bounced back against a solid 20th-ranked Benson team, with the key being increased secondary scoring. Junior SC Tresvant, senior Stephen Treat, and junior Christian Green all had quiet games by their standards against Roosevelt, but have since stepped up significantly.

Much better ball movement has unlocked these performances for Cleveland. They’ve returned to a style of play that puts every player in a position to score double digits. Green, Treat, and Tresvant are all very good close range scorers, and that combined with Vella’s three point ability and Cooper’s post scoring overwhelms opposing defenses.

The Warriors now hold the #5 seed and second place in the PIL. It’s clear that they have more than enough talent to win games, and head coach Dondrale Campbell has helped them convert it into a dominant playing style. The only question is whether they can put it all together against the top teams in the state. An answer could come tonight, Feb.23 at 7 when they take on #8 Grant at home.