At first, Reynolds doubled him as soon as he touched the ball in the post, and then the Ashe guards stopped going inside for a while to avoid the double team.
Spagnolo still scored double digit points in the first half, mostly by grabbing offensive rebounds and scoring putback shots. He establishes position in the paint well, sealing his man and boxing out well.
Spagnolo finished with 20 points for the night. He is extremely good from about 12 feet in, even putting the ball on the floor a couple of times and slashing to get better looks.
Spagnolo was guarded most of the night by Matt Kunz (SF, 6′7″, 2009), a player who is playing out of position in the paint, being more of a forward than a post player.
Kunz was active. He had three steals and at least four blocks in the game, but was forced to play post most of the game and had to sit for extended minutes due to foul trouble. Kunz was a player who looked like he has promise if he could be consistent from mid-range and become a slashing forward.
The prominent player for R.J. Reynolds is Will Carpenter (SF, 6′6″ 2009), a player who ended up making the all-tournament team. Carpenter did not score until the second half. In the second half, he became much more active even bringing the ball up on the break
Kunz and Carpenter are playing the post in high school but in my opinion should be scouted as forwards. They look more like players who can face the basket.
A player of interest is Alex Greven (SG, 6′3″, 2009), who hit a couple of threes early for R.J. Reynolds and even though he wasn’t playing point, he was usually defending the point. He has excellent defensive skills and a good release on his shot.
The game was back and forth with Reynolds leading 18-15 at the half.
During the second half, Ashe took at 37-29 lead at one point, but Reynolds tried to neutralize the inside power of Spagnolo by moving Kunz to the high post and feeding Carpenter under the basket. This worked enough that Ashe moved Spagnolo back to the low post, but Reynolds managed to cut the lead 37-35 with transition points and the interior passing.
With 1:29 left to go and leading 37-35, Ashe called a timeout. Matt Kunz fired a terrific interior assist to tie the game 37-37. Ashe missed a shot on their next possession as Alex Greven was making a back door cut to the basket. Spagnolo was forced to foul him, and he fouled out of the game. Greven hit one free throw and RJR went on to win, 38-37.
Championship Game: Mount Tabor vs. West Forsyth
Mount Tabor came in wanting to defend their Frank Spencer Classic title from a year ago, and being led by a trio of star guards in C.J. Harris (PG/SG, 6′3″, 2009), Mike Grace (PG, 6′0″, 2009) and Josh Hicks (PG/SG, 6′2″, 2009).
This game was tight in the opening quarter, but Mt. Tabor, led by explosive games from Mike Grace and Josh Hicks, pulled away with a run at the end of the first half and West Forsyth never recovered. Mt. Tabor won 73-54 in a bit of a blowout, so I’ll just rundown some of the player notes:
C.J. Harris (Mt. Tabor) - Still under control, had some nice slashing moves and a sick spin move inside to get shots off. Not a huge scoring night for him, but it wasn’t needed. A big guard who plays with a lot of poise, was named to the All-Tournament team.
Josh Hicks (Mt. Tabor) - A player I was again impressed with, fast, good handle, excellent scorer and defender.
Mike Grace (Mt. Tabor) - A terrific game where he showcased his ability to pull up in transition and hit the mid range jumper or three pointer. He absolutely has a solid mid range game, can finish and is a pure PG.
Turner Simpson (SG, 6′3″, 2009), (Mt. Tabor) - A very active shooting guard who gets a lot of minutes and plays tenacious defense. He finds holes in the defense and works the backdoor cut effectively.
Chrishawn Rhyne (PG, 5′11″, 2009) (West Forsyth), speedy ballhandler who can defend and score. Finishes in traffic, athletic.
Tabarris Hamilton (SG, 6′2″, 2011) (West Forsyth), showed flashes of offensive ability as a sophomore, will be one to keep an eye on.
Allan Jones (SF, 6′5″, 2009) (West Forsyth), a strong player with a good first step but had trouble finishing. Made the All-Tournament team. Needs to work on his mid range shooting and free throw consistency, his shot comes off a little flat on release. Could be tough to stop offensively with a little work on his jumper; he’s the kind of player who, if played close, might put the ball on the floor and slash past the defender. Relies too much on his strength to score around the basket, and at his size will need to improve his forward skills.
Tyler Alberts (SF/PF, 6′6″, 2010) (West Forsyth), runs the floor well and is active on defense. Had a little trouble catching interior passes at times, managed to seal his man in the post but did not use the drop step to get a shot off. Has good size and had some good moments. Needs to be more active in the paint at times, has potential.