Saturday’s Tournament of Champions 7th place game be an all-local affair, with Kickapoo facing Republic at 2:30 p.m. Madison Prep (La.) and Greenforest (Ga.) meet in the 5th place game at 4 p.m.
Here’s a recap of Friday’s consolation semifinals.
Greenforest fights off big nights from Davis, Blakeslee
By Matt Turer — @MattTurer
After Kickapoo’s 34-point loss to Montverde to open its 2017 Tournament of Champions, talk in the Chiefs’ locker room focused on pride and effort. Kickapoo felt it showed neither against Montverde. The Chiefs showed both on Friday, coming up just short in a 56-52 loss to Greenforest in the consolation semifinals.
“All we were looking for were for guys to compete,” Kickapoo head coach Dick Rippee said. “We didn’t feel like we competed against Montverde. Especially on offense. We thought we played better as a team tonight. Guys took pride in what they were doing.”
Kickapoo trailed Greenforest and 7-foot Florida State commit Ikey Obiagu by eight early in the first quarter, but the Chiefs fought back, pulling within 17-15 after eight minutes. The Chiefs took their first lead at 21-19 on a Cam Davis three early in the second quarter, swapping leads with Greenforest four more times.
Kickapoo’s biggest lead was a three-point margin after a Davis three and layup flipped a two-point deficit early in the fourth quarter.
“We obviously didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing [Thursday],” Davis said. “That’s not Kickapoo basketball. We didn’t represent our school district, our school, our families or anything like that well. It’s one of those things where you’re just eager to get back out on the floor and make an impression.”
Isaac Blakeslee kept Kickapoo in the game early, hitting three first-quarter threes and accounting for nine of Kickapoo’s 15 points in the opening eight minutes. Blakeslee would finish the night with 15 points.
“[Blakeslee is] our X-factor,” Davis said. “Whenever he plays well, that makes our team better. People can say whatever they want about me, Jared [Ridder] and the rest of our team, but when he’s playing well, he’s making diving plays on the floor, everything. He just effects the game in so many ways.”
Blakeslee’s early efforts were huge for Kickapoo with Davis and Ridder combining to shoot just 3-10 from the field early into the second quarter.
“We kind of felt that Jared and Cam last night maybe took too many tough quick shots,” Rippee said. “But to their defense, they didn’t have somebody else step in. So we’ve been kind of looking for that guy and Blakeslee is certainly capable of that. He did a great job tonight we’re really proud of him.”
Kickapoo finished 10-27 from deep and found success just below the key, allowing the Chiefs to compete with Obiagu and 6’10 Abayomi Lyiola. Obiagu blocked seven Kickapoo shots, giving him 17 for the tournament, five short of the Tournament of Champions record.
“Just think of all the shots [Obiagu] blocked and changed,” Rippee said. “Normally [against local teams] those are all baskets. That’s a game-changer and that’s why he’s going to Florida State.”
Both teams struggled a bit from the field in the first half, with Greenforest shooting 37 percent (10-27) and Kickapoo 36 percent (9-25).
Greenforest made a living in the paint, outscoring Kickapoo 32-10. Surprisingly, the Chiefs didn’t face a big disadvantage on the boards, losing that battle 36-29.
A visibly frustrated Jared Ridder began the game 0-7 from deep but managed to connect on a pair of fourth-quarter threes that brought Kickapoo within two and then within one point of a tie.
Trailing 55-52 with 1:05 to play, Greenforest held Kickapoo scoreless over its final three possessions.
“Even if you go 0-3 this is a positive experience for the guys,” Rippee said. “It’s a unique opportunity. We’re spoiled here in this area. To hear the other coaches brag about this tournament. The stands are full and the fans here just like watching good basketball. It’s a unique opportunity that’s going to help our team no matter the outcomes.”
FINAL: Greenforest (12-4) 56, Kickapoo (10-4) 52
Kickapoo 15 11 12 14- 52
Greenforest 17 8 14 17- 56
Kickapoo- Cameron Davis 22, Isaac Blakeslee 15, Jared Ridder 11, Corey Dye 2, Mitch Closser 2
Greenforest- Justin Forrest 19, David Quimby 11, Abayomi Lyiola 6, Ikey Obiagu 6, Jandan Duggan 6, Victor Enoh 4, Michael Evans 2, Mohammad Abdulsalam 2
Madison Prep denies Republic’s upset bid
By Kai Raimer
Another night of facing a powerhouse, out-of-state opponent in the Tournament of Champions, another case of the Republic Tigers holding their own.
This time – as opposed to Republic’s 72-54 loss to Sierra Canyon on Thursday – the Tigers had a chance to steal a late victory and avoid Saturday’s 7th place game.
The Tigers rode the early hot shooting of Ty Stevens to keep pace with Madison Prep (La.) throughout the game, but fell short in a 43-39 outcome. Republic was within 38-35 with three minutes remaining.
“We felt like we left some things on the table, things that would have given us an opportunity to win the game,” said Tigers coach Trevyor Fisher.
Stevens made his first four 3-point attempts. He finished with a game-high 16 points, while teammate Caleb Singley scored 15 and grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
“The first shot went it, it felt good, and the ball just kept coming my way,” Stevens said.
Singley’s basket with 3:03 remaining cut Madison Prep’s lead to 38-35. Madison Prep burned about 1:40 off the clock on its ensuing possession before committing a turnover.
Republic couldn’t capitalize on its end, turning the ball right back over to the Chargers. Josh Anderson made two free throws with 32 seconds left to give the Chargers a two-possession lead (40-35).
Another Singley basket with eight seconds left brought Republic within 41-39, but Kobe Julien sealed the victory by making a pair of free throws.
“Great effort again, but this time we had chances to win the game,” Fisher said.
Madison Prep, which won the 2A state title in Louisiana last season, improved to 16-2 overall behind 11 points from Kobe Julien and 10 points from Jharon Whitfield.
Republic was limited to 13-for-32 shooting from the field, but did out-rebound the Chargers (21-19).
“They had good defensive pressure, they were switching on screens,” Fisher said. “It was difficult for us around the paint. It was a grind to get baskets.”
Republic (11-4 overall) plays Kickapoo at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the Tournament of Champions 7th place game.
Republic 12 7 7 13 — 39
Madison Prep 11 14 4 14 — 43
Republic – Ty Stevens 16, Caleb Singley 15, Treydon Rackley 4, Broc Smith 3, Cameron Doke 1
Madison Prep – Kobe Julien 11, Jharon Whitfield 10, Marcus Guss 6, Jamel Robinson 6, Josh LeBlanc 6, Josh Anderson 4
Kickapoo vs. Greenforest recap