Games like Thursday’s WCAC contest between No. 1 Paul VI and No. 2 St. John’s are why it pains me to write this next sentence: Believe it or not, only about a month remains in the high school basketball season.
In case you missed it, Darian Anderson swished a buzzer-beating three-pointer Thursday night to lift St. John’s to a dramatic, 71-68 win at Paul VI. Click here to read the story and scroll down below for a Vine of the final shot.
The game featured several players who are likely to be in the mix when The Post picks its annual All-Met basketball team later this winter. With the season just past its midway point, here’s a progress report on some of the area’s most impressive players. (Disclaimer: This list was solely populated from a handful of the players I’ve seen during the past two months, meaning if you don’t see someone in this post, that doesn’t mean he won’t be considered for the All-Met team. My opinions don’t necessarily reflect those of the entire All-Met sports staff).
G Melo Trimble, O’Connell, Sr.
Trimble’s selection to the McDonald’s All-American Game on Thursday added another bright moment to the guard’s impressive senior campaign. Despite playing without four of the top six scorers from last year’s WCAC championship team, Trimble has upped his production (21.6 points per game) while improving his point guard skills to make his teammates better and push O’Connell into a tie atop the conference standings. The All-Met guard’s strong perimeter shooting and ability to get the foul line make him one of area’s toughest matchups.
G Randall Broddie, Potomac (Md.), So.
Playing alongside All-Met swingman Dion Wiley, Broddie has made his own mark as a ball-handler, slasher and scorer. Post colleague Chelsea Janes tells me she’s been impressed by Broddie’s savvy and ability to take over games while playing off of Wiley.
F Jamall Gregory, Coolidge, Sr.
Last year, I knew Gregory as the human highlight reel for O’Connell. This year, while he can still throw down some vicious dunks, the lefty has expanded his game to include a mid-range jump shot and improved dribbling skills since transferring to Coolidge. His rebounding prowess also makes him a consistent double-double threat.
G Byron Hawkins, Clinton Christian, Sr.
Fellow backcourt mate Jon Davis could easily go in this slot, too, but Hawkins has put together a string of solid games against strong opponents during the past couple weeks. His ability to effectively shoot from the outside and attack off the dribble using his quick first step gave defenders from Coolidge and nationally-ranked Cape Henry trouble. Towson picked up a special recruit in Hawkins.
G Dorian Johnson, Herndon, Sr.
I wrote about Johnson last week as the smooth, efficient scorer who has made Herndon into a state title contender. Though the Hornets lost to Robinson on Tuesday, I still wonder why a versatile, coachable player like Johnson has yet to pick up a college offer.
F/C Chinanu Onuaku, Riverdale Baptist, Sr.
The Louisville recruit’s length is incredibly imposing in the paint, making him the area’s best shot blocker and a ferocious rebounder. Perhaps even more impressive is his ability to create scoring opportunities for teammates off of his pinpoint outlet passes, some of which travel the length of the floor.
G/F James Palmer, St. John’s, Sr.
Palmer’s improvement from last season has been incredible and justifies why he’s headed to play for Miami in the ACC. His stroke from the outside is one of the purest I’ve seen, he can get to the rim with ease and his long arms make him a solid defender and shot blocker. After knocking down the decisive three-pointer in Sunday’s double-overtime thriller against O’Connell, his three-point play in the final minute of Thursday’s win helped set up Anderson’s buzzer beater.
G/F Joshua Reaves, Paul VI, Jr.
If the DMV had a “Most Improved Player Award,” I’d have to give it to Josh Reaves. His ascension from seldom-used reserve to the high-energy starting small forward for the Panthers has been fun to watch. He reminds me in some ways of the NBA’s Shawn Marion with his leaping ability and versatile play on both ends of the floor, serving as the sparkplug for Paul VI. His emergence has helped fill the offensive punch some thought the Panthers would lose with junior Frank Howard sidelined by a knee injury.
G Allonzo Trier, Montrose Christian, Jr.
Tabbed as the next hoops phenom when he was still in elementary school, Trier is living up to the hype. Blessed with off-the-chart athleticism, the junior transfer can score in bunches and get the rim in a variety of ways. Some of the moves and finishes he made in Saturday’s win against Maret were almost jaw-dropping. As he continues to improve the consistency of his outside shot, Trier is sure to have his pick of top schools come next season.
TWEET OF THE DAY
As promised, here’s the video of Darian Anderson’s buzzer beater from Thursday night’s thriller between St. John’s and Paul VI.
— Chelsea Janes (@CJanes15) January 31, 2014
NUMBER CRUNCH: 2
Sports played by Georgetown Prep’s Michael Sprague…in the same season. Check out Tom Schad’s feature on the double-duty diver and wrestler.
–Herndon hired West Potomac head football coach Jeremiah Davis to the same position this week.
–Wootton dismissed football coach Tyree Spinner after just two season at the helm.
–Magruder football coach Kevin Bernot resigned following two seasons.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Largo at No. 8 Potomac (Md.), 7 p.m.
The Wolverines seek revenge after being upset by Largo in Prince George’s County 3A/2A/1A play on Jan. 6. A matchup to watch will be in the paint between rising star junior forward Abdulai Bundu and senior transfer Quadree Smith, who did not play in the teams’ first meeting.