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Grassroots Finale: Etienne Shines, Tigers and Canes dominate

22, Jul 2022

Grassroots Finale: Etienne Shines, Tigers and Canes dominate

VIRGINIA BEACH—While days like today are long—and boy, I mean long—they’re ultimately rewarding. These 12-hour marathons are truly a blast. Now that Friday has passed, Saturday is the only one of these marathon days left on the HoopSeen schedule for the year. 



Etienne does it again


Casey Etienne is a difference-maker. We saw it from him at Best of the South when he led Bad Boys 2024 to a championship, and we’re seeing it again in Virginia Beach. 


He checks a ton of boxes. Physically, he has good positional size and length with plenty of quickness. Etienne has a nose for the ball too. Be it via steals, rebounds or chasing down loose balls, he’s someone that will get extra possessions for his team. 


Etienne does a good job at balancing his strengths as a scorer and distributor. He’s unselfish and gets the ball to his guys, but he can keep teams honest with a quick flurry of points. 


Another thing I like about Etienne is that his demeanor remains the same throughout a game. He’s never too high or too low. 


With another year of development, he could be a hot name among coaches this time next year. 


Canes dominate early


The Georgia Canes started their bracket play on Friday by delivering a full-blown whoopin’ on their opponent. It was all systems go for the Canes in the morning. 


Jordan Coney set the tone early on offense with 13 first-half points which included three 3-pointers. He finished the game with a game-high 17 points. 


As we’ve seen a lot this season, Connor Teasley left his mark on the game. On Friday morning, it was his defense that shined. He was alert on that end of the floor and picked up opportunistic steals and got several deflections.


Of course, this Canes squad has several multi-faceted wings that do a little bit of everything. Caleb Samples, Christopher Hutchinson, Jaiden Haynes and Dontae Crowder gave the Canes a major advantage in terms of size, physicality, athleticism and versatility. Rebounding, defending, initiating offense and scoring, there weren’t many aspects of the game that this group didn’t dominate in. 


Someone check the lights


We may have experienced a blackout on the Virginia Beach Sports Center because Team Loaded 757 and VA Playmakers shot the lights out in a 2024 battle. 


The teams combined to hit 21 3-pointers in the game, and, appropriately, the game was decided in overtime on a made three from VA Playmakers’ Pat Nguyen


The Playmakers were led by Dezmond Hopkins who scored 22 which included six 3-pointers. Ari Hobson added four from beyond the arc. 


A complete Tigers performance 


The 2024 group of Tennessee Tigers put it all together on Friday afternoon in a dominant win. 


Parker Robison, the floor general, continued his stellar weekend. He’s as steady as they come when running the show for the Tigers. Robison is a smart decision-maker and makes things easy for everyone around them. He’s great at probing a defense and finding open shots for himself and others. 


Maddux Routh led the way with 16 points. He’s just an all-around playmaker that leaves his mark on the game in one way or another. On Saturday, he shot the ball well from the perimeter and battled on the glass. He’s a player that does a little bit of everything well and doesn’t mind doing the dirty work. Guys like him lead to wins. 


Matthew Sharpe and Jaden Clark added 15 points and 10 points respectively. Sharpe brings length and athleticism to the floor and can fulfill several roles on both ends of the floor. 


Quick Hitters


Anthoney Mcclary is another in an ever-expanding list of Maryland guards that I’ve loved throughout the weekend. He’s tough to keep in front, and he’s automatic at the rim. Mcclary doesn’t shy away from contact at the rim and spends a good amount of time at the free throw line. The 2024 guard should be getting plenty of D1 looks as he navigates through his remaining high school and AAU years. 


TNBA South Santana’s Kanye Gaines led them to a win in an early-afternoon battle with 21 points. They survived a 39-point barrage from Prospect U Red’s Izahh Cannon


Aris Rodriguez advances Team Final Red to the second round with 17 points. The 6-foot-5 wing stepped up his production in the second half of their game and proved to be an intriguing prospect for the onlooking coaches. 


Not only do the Bad Boys have a formidable 2024 squad, but their 2025 group also looked sharp on Friday afternoon in an overtime win against a tough Team Trezz squad. Alex Pierre-Louis looks like a name to remember moving forward. He’s 6-foot-3 and versatile. He’s listed as a forward, which makes sense, but he handles the ball and makes plays like a guard. He’ll be interesting to track over the coming years. He led with 19 points. 


As a 2025 group playing up in the 16U division, our friends to the north, Monarchs Elite picked up an impressive win to start bracket play. 6-foot-9 forward Spencer Ahrens showed more of what we loved out of him at Best of the South. His ability to make plays off the bounce at his size and age is impressive. He came up with big play after big play for the Monarchs in a tight game. Ahrens was able to get to his spots with ease throughout the game. 


Josh Tec

Josh Tec is a Georgia State graduate with a degree in journalism. Tec aspires to work in basketball media as his career continues. At Georgia State, he graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors and was recognized as a leader in the classroom. Outside of basketball, Tec loves movies and perpetually seeks out his next favorite film.