On Saturday, Grand Rapids Union hosted the third annual Union Redhawk Showcase. This basketball competition brought in some of the state’s top talent as five teams from West Michigan, including four in the Remax-United Power Poll, took on four teams from the east side of the state and one from Indiana. Top prospects from this contest can be found with a collection of offers in this week’s preview. The West Michiganders had ultimate success earning five wins in five tries today, as detailed below.
GAME 1: WEST OTTAWA 78 DETROIT OLD REDFORD 56
In the opening game of the afternoon, Remax #4 West Ottawa took on Detroit Old Redford, who was led by Mark “Rocket” Watts. This game was easily in hand from the beginning for the Panthers, as they held Watts scoreless through the first sixteen minutes. Headed out of the locker room up 43-19, West Ottawa started to use the depth of their bench, so the scoring slowed down early in the half. Watts began to pull up for an incredible amount of jump shots in the second half, and the smooth shooting sophomore would finish the game with 26 points, all scored in the second half. This was the game high, as he topped West Ottawa senior Jake VanTubbergen who scored 25 in their 78-56 victory. With the win, West Ottawa improves to 12-1 on the season.
GAME 2: GRAND RAPIDS UNION 71 HAZEL PARK 67 (OT)
The second contest of the afternoon pitted the host Redhawks against the visiting Vikings of Hazel Park. In the first quarter, senior Union guard Quantes Jackson chipped in ten points as the Redhawks hit half of their field goals to push themselves out to a 22-13 lead. The second quarter played into Hazel Park’s advantage as they made seven of eleven shots (63.7%) including seven points by Camren Boatmon to draw the Vikings within four headed into the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Redhawks appeared to draw out a comfortable margin as they rode an early 11-2 run to an eventual 55-40 lead. Slowly but surely, the Vikings, led by Carl Bow Jr., began to chip away at the lead. With just under three minutes left to play, the Vikings had the lead down to eight points. Bow Jr. then scored seven consecutive points to cut the lead to 56-55 with 1:12 in the ball game. After another defensive stop, the Vikings’ Devin Pettus drove the lane and drew a foul. After he split the pair, the game was tied. It would remain even at 56 headed into the extra frame.
With just under two minutes left in overtime and maintaining a 62-60 lead, Quantes Jackson showed why he was the Redhawks best player as he scored five consecutive points, a huge run to push the lead to seven with just sixty-one seconds to play. After exchanging baskets and free throws, Michael Anderson Jr.’s pair of free throws with 5.4 seconds left to play put the game at its final score of 71-67. Quantes Jackson finished as the game’s leading scorer with 28 points. Carl Bow Jr. led Hazel Park offensively with 18 points.
GAME 3: WAYLAND UNION 73 DETROIT CORNERSTONE 69 (OT)
The middle game of the night featured Remax #5 Wayland and Detroit Cornerstone, who is led by Mr. Basketball candidate Jamal Cain. The Wildcats jumped out to an early 20-13 lead after the first quarter, thanks to Avery Hudson’s hot start (four of four from the floor). In the second quarter with 3:45 left while maintaining a 27-23 lead, Hudson picked up his third foul and he had to leave the contest. It was in this time that the Wolves marked their comeback as they launched a 7-1 run to take a 30-28 lead. With just four seconds left in the half, junior Carter Nyp buried a three in the corner to give Wayland a 31-30 lead at the break.
Coming out of the locker room having scored fifteen points, Jamal Cain continued to dazzle the crowd in the second half. Cain scored fifteen points in the third quarter alone, scoring by the means of highlight reel dunks and deep three-pointers. Holding a 52-43 lead headed into the fourth quarter, it looked as if Cain and Cornerstone may snap the East-side’s two game streak. Coach Mike Hudson and Wayland showed their traditional strengths of pressure defense and long-range shooting and clawed right back into this game. With twenty-seven seconds left, sophomore Jack Donewald took his first shot of the night, a three point shot that nearly touched the rafters before swishing straight through the net, tying the game at 64. Neither team would score in the remaining time, sending this contest to a fifth quarter.
In the fifth frame, Cain missed a little bit of time after getting banged up after getting tangled up on the floor, and the Wildcats keyed in offensively. They got just enough separation from Cornerstone in this time to earn a 73-69 victory. Wayland was led by Hudson, who scored twenty-five points. Cornerstone’s Jamal Cain finished with 34 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.
GAME 4: GODWIN HEIGHTS 84 DETROIT EDISON 73
The fast-paced, high scoring Godwin Heights Wolverines took on another high-paced team in the Pioneers of Detroit Edison in the fourth game. While never actually witnessing Godwin Heights in person before tonight, I assumed that part of their high scoring totals was the struggles of some teams in the OK Silver. Quickly into this one, I learned that the Wolverines push the ball at a pace that few teams in the entire state could hang with. In the first quarter alone, Godwin attempted nineteen shots (and made ten of them), as they jumped out to a 23-18 lead. Kelvyn Valdez led the way for the Wolverines in the first quarter as he contributed eight points. In the second quarter, Godwin Heights kept their hot shooting ways as they shot 50% in the entire first half, and they had a comfortable 44-31 lead at the break.
The second half was much more of the same from Godwin Heights as they flew up and down the court with relative ease. Christian Rodriguez displayed impressive court vision as he found a plethora of teammates that were open in transition, and he displayed impressive ability to push the ball up the floor. Lamar Norman showed his elite athleticism in the second half as he finished the night with 27 points, many of which were scored in transition. The Wolverines lead was never smaller than eight in the fourth quarter, as they won 84-73. Rodriguez finished the night with fifteen points, and he and Norman were joined by Markeese Hastings (fifteen points) and Kelvyn Valdez (fourteen points) in double figures in the scoring column. Tonight Godwin Heights showed once again why they are one of the favorites to win the Class B State Championship.
GAME 5: GRAND RAPIDS CHRISTIAN 51 LAWRENCE NORTH (IN) 39
In the fifth game, Tom Izzo and Mike Garland were on hand to watch Xavier Tillman (MSU signee) and top junior prospect Duane Washington take on the Wildcats of Lawrence North, who brought their team and cheerleaders four hours north from Indianapolis to take on the top rated Eagles. In the first quarter, both teams struggled offensively and the Eagles led 13-12. An early 7-0 run by Lawrence North in the beginning of the second quarter gave them an early lead that they would not relinquish headed into the locker room, and the gym was buzzing as the mighty Eagles trailed 26-21, and their big three (Beck, Tillman and Washington) were held to just seventeen points combined.
Coach Mark Warners must have had a speech in the locker room that clicked with Xavier Tillman as the Mr. Basketball candidate began to play much better. He had a big five point run by himself to put the Eagles back in front by two early in the third quarter, as Christian outscored Lawrence North 17-4 to take a 38-30 lead headed to the final eight minutes. After a six point run by Dexter Shouse to cut the Christian lead to four with five minutes left, it appeared that we had another close ballgame on our hands, but with 1:41 to play, Tillman finished through contact and converted the free-throw, and the three points play put Christian up seven. They would never relinquish this lead, as they went on to score the game’s final five points to win 51-39, remaining undefeated. Duane Washington shrugged off a slow start to finish with fifteen points, and Tillman finished with fourteen points, both solid finishes to a game with Coach Izzo in attendance.
Tyler VanTubbergen–West Ottawa (25 points)
Mark ‘Rocket’ Watts–Old Redford (26 points)
Quantes Jackson–Union (28 points)
Carl Bow Jr–Hazel Park (18 points)
Avery Hudson–Wayland Union (25 points)
Jamal Cain–Detroit Cornerstone (34 points, 14 rebounds)
Lamar Norman–Godwin Heights (27 points)
Christian Rodriguez–Godwin Heights (15 points)
Deonte Johnson–Detroit Edison (19 points)
Xavier Tillman–Grand Rapids Christian (14 points)