FORT MYERS, FL - The championship rounds of the City of Palms crank up the excitement levels here in Southwest Florida. On Friday night, the crowd was treated to a pair of high-level games with high-level players. Here are the things I liked about the day.
I liked the way University School beat McEachern. A heavy dose of Drue Drinnon (New Mexico) and Vernon Carey, Jr. put away a very good Georgia squad. Drinnon, a Georgia native, pumped in 20 points (8-13 FG, 2-4 3 pt, 2-4 FT). He made big plays throughout the game and was a steady force in the backcourt. Carey, a top 3 player in the 2019 class, did what you would expect high-level players to do down the stretch. Carey scored 21 points (9-14 FG) and grabbed 10 rebounds. He was a catalyst in the fourth quarter. t
I liked the way McEachern 2020 point guard Sharife Cooper played on Friday (and throughout) the event. Cooper was the best performing sophomore in the tournament this year. He finished with 26 points (12-24 FG, 2-9 3pt) and six assists. You could make an argument that he was the MVP of the tournament.t
I liked the way Memphis East beat Chicago Simeon. The consensus No. 1 team in the country can beat teams in a number of ways cease of the depth of talent on their roster. Length is hard to beat at the high school level and no one is longer than these guys from Memphis. Simeon struggled to attack with a clear look at the rim.
I liked the way Alex Lomax controlled the pace of the game. The Memphis East point guard is unflappable. That’s why Wichita State signed him. He’s tough and loves the big stage. Lomax played that role beautifully in front of a big crowd on Friday night.
I liked (okay, I loved) the battle between Jordan McCabe (West Virginia) and Robby Carmody (Notre Dame). Both guys can score in bunches and both did just that in a contest of anything you can do, I can do better. McCabe finished with 42 points (13-21 FG, 7-13 3pt, 9-11 FT) and the win. Carmody recorded 39 points (14-23 FG, 2-6 3pt, 9-12 FT).
I liked (okay, I loved) the way Tye Fagan helped his Upson Lee squad continue their 44-game win streak. The Middle Tennessee State guard went off in the second half. He scored 21 of his game-high 35 points. He drilled four three-pointers in the win and went to work in every other aspect. Fagan finished with six rebounds, five assists and three steals. He said it was probably the toughest win in his team's 44 game win streak.
I liked the way Future Furman PG Andrew Taylor played against Upson Lee. He was terrific in defeat. Taylor finished with 26 points (9-17 FG, hit 3 3s), four rebounds, three steals and three assists. Taylor is a major piece for Bob Richey and the future of the Paladin program.
I liked (okay, I loved) the way Bryan Antoine of the Ranney School can score. He’s equally terrific off the bounce and catch. The class of 2019 guard scored 30 points for his Ranney School in the 9 a.m. game. He scored in every possible way imaginable.
I liked (okay, I loved) the way Mountain Brook (AL) shot the three ball against Archbishop Molloy. The Birmingham boys drilled 20 triples (20-39 and 29-55 overall). Eight different players hit a three. Sean Elmore, a North Alabama signee, hit 7-12 for 21 points. The team’s 20 three-pointers is an event record.