By JAMAILL HINES
PYBL Elite Quarter Finals Standouts (at St. Andrew’s School)
Southern MD (72) vs Howard (67)
#2 Devin Dinkins (Southern MD)
Stat Line: 13 points (5-12 FGA, 1-4 3PA), 3 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in 32 minutes
Dinkins did just about everything that you want from your point guard: controlled the pace of the game, secured the ball (just one turnover), created shots for others in the pick and roll and off dribble penetration, pressured the point off attack and balanced scoring and play making. Dinkins used his creative ball handling and quickness to beat defenders off the bounce for scores at the rim, mid-range jump shots and shot creation for his teammates. His most impressive score came where he kept his dribble low to split the double on the perimeter and connected on the floater over the help defender. Dinkins took the game over during the overtime period for the Southern Maryland win. On several possessions, he operated in the pick and roll that resulted in scores: he read the defender backing away and pulled up left for the midrange jumper, went all the way for smooth lefty scoop layup and found Watson rolling down the middle of the lane for a layup. With his ability to score, create for others and dig into his matchup defensively, Dinkins has been one of the best two-way point guards in the PYBL.
#7 Derrick Key (Southern MD)
Stat Line: 8 points (4-7 FGA), 8 rebounds (5 offensive) 1 block and 1 steal in 16 minutes
Key, a member of the PYBL Elite All Defensive and 1st Team All PYBL was limited to just 16 minutes due to foul trouble throughout (5 fouls), but still had a major impact when he was on the floor. He was a terror on the offensive glass by utilizing his combination of motor, height, length, athleticism and quick jumping ability. This led to put backs for himself and second chance points for his team. Key was constantly around the ball, looking to go after every rebound on both sides of the floor, forcing his matchups to put a body on him. He did a great job of utilizing his physical tools to make his primary matchup in Preston Howard (3rd Team ALL PYBL Elite), work for contested shot attempts. What I really love about Key are his intangibles. Key is scrappy, consistent with his motor and energy, and is NEVER intimated on the floor to go along with projectable physical tools.
#8 Christian Winborne (Southern MD)
Stat Line: 13 points (4-5 FGA, 2-2 3PA FGA, 3-3 FTA), 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 14 minutes
In limited minutes due to foul trouble (5 fouls), the PYBL Elite 6th man of the year still provided a boost of the bench in the team’s win. His 13 points were tied for second on the team as he mixed creative ball handling and confident shooting to score and create shots for others off the dribble. Winborne connected on two catch and shoot three pointers, a pull up going left and utilized hesitations and crossovers to get to the rim to finish and draw fouls. The confidence and production he has brought to Southern Maryland all year has been invaluable.
#11 Christian Watson (Southern MD)
Stat Line: 8 points (4-12 FGA, 0-2 3PA), 11 rebounds (5 offensive rebounds) 2 block and 1 steal in 32 minutes
Watson may not have been the most efficient from the floor, but he still produced with a near double-double as he cleaned the glass on both ends and was effective in help defense along the perimeter and post due to his length, athleticism and lateral quickness. Watson did not have his touch from the perimeter and found his offensive success by finishing dump off passes around the rim, including showing soft hands on a pick and roll with Dinkins to finish down the middle of the lane. His work on the offense glass led to second chance opportunities for himself and teammates, which turned out to be one of the main keys to victory as Watson and Key combined for 10 of the team’s 22 offensive rebounds.
#24 Raymond Watts (Howard)
Stat Line: 21 points (9-15 FGA, 3-5 FTA), 8 rebounds (3 offensive) 6 assists, 2 steals and 1 block in 36 minutes
Watts paced the Howard offensive attack with a game high of 21 points, mostly operating as a shot finisher as opposed to a shot creator. The wide majority of his points came at the rim from dump off passes, cuts, running the floor and offensive rebounds. On a few possessions on the block, Watts was aggressive in getting to the rim with immediate straight line attacks and overpowering matchups with his combination of height, length, athleticism and footwork that led to scores and fouls drawn. With his ability to read the defense and find the open man from the block and on the wing, Watts was also the team’s leader in assists. Once Watts develops more shot creation ability and perimeter skills, he will be an even more dynamic force on the floor.
#23 Preston Howard (Howard)
Stat Line: 8 points (4-9 FGA, 0-5 FTA), 14 rebounds (5 offensive), 5 assists and 3 blocks in 36 minutes
What Howard lacks in explosion and true run and jump athleticism, he makes up with his imposing combination of height, length, strength and fluid mobility that impacted the game on both ends. The big man brought down offensive rebounds for easy baskets, finished dump off passes and flashed a comfortable straight line dribble from the perimeter where he gave the defender a hesitation right then continued to overpower the defender to score at the front of the rim. On the defensive end, Howard rebounded nearly everything in his area and was routinely in help defense to contest and block shots including making an empathic help block at the rim. I was the most impressed with his passing ability, especially for a big man. The ball did not stick with him, he read the floor quickly and made the appropriate passes to the open man and cutters from stationary positions on the block, free throw line and perimeter.
#15 Tyheil Peterson (Howard)
Stat Line: 13 points (6-14 FGA, 0-4 3PA) 6 rebounds (3 offensive), 5 assists and 4 steals in 36 minutes
Peterson did everything he could to leave his mark on the game: scored, rebounded, created shots for others, defended and was a terror in passing lanes creating both steals and deflections. He displayed a dazzling array of creative dribble moves that allowed him to get anywhere he needed on the floor and beat his man off the bounce for scoring opportunities for
himself and teammates. On one particular possession, Peterson got the crowd buzzing with a quick in and out dribble into a crossover that froze the defender and led to an easy layup. His defensive efforts were just as attractive as his offensive moves. Peterson had a stretch where he recorded three straight steals, two off the ball that led to layups for himself and another on the ball that led to a foul as he took off for what would have been another easy layup. Peterson showed everyone in attendance why he was a member of the PYBL Elite’s All Defensive team and further solidified himself as one of the best two way players in the league.
Fairfax (75) vs Arlington (73)
#2 Bo Kuhblank (Fairfax)
Stat Line: 11 points (4-10 FGA, 1-3 3PA, 2-2 FTA) 5 rebounds, 11 assists (2 turnovers) and 4 steals in 25 minutes
Just as he did all season long, Kuhblank was the classic, pass first PG as he set up his teammates off of dribble penetration and look ahead passes while directing them to the right positions on both sides of the ball. He was very effective in controlling the pace of the game, knowing when to push the ball and slow it down in order to get the team into their sets. When Woodward got hot from distance, Kuhblank was aware of where Woodward was at all times and displayed this when he slowed up in semi transition to find Woodward trailing for another three. Kuhblank struggled to score for most of the game, but got it going during the second half when it was really needed in their comeback win. He connected on a couple of difficult scoop layups in traffic including one in between the towering Arlington big man duo of Clark and Soloman. Kuhblank’s high quality intangibles such as his grit, IQ and leadership skills have been critical to the success of Fairfax and were key to their win in this day.
#23 Benjamin Woodward (Fairfax)
Stat Line: 25 points (10-17 FGA, 5-10 3PA), 4 rebounds (3 offensive) in 32 minutes
It really seems like nothing bothers Woodward in any game as he just chews his gum and plays with a calm demeanor throughout the game despite whatever is going on. He missed his first handful of shots including a terrible miss that hit the top of the backboard, but it did not deter him from continuing to shoot. After seeing his first shot go in where he crashed the glasses from the perimeter for the offensive rebound and converted the layup, it didn't’t seem like he missed after that. Woodward connected on three pointers and jumpers from the wing and corners. Woodward connected on several catch and shoot three pointers in a row that hit nothing but the net including multiple in the 4th quarter that really propelled Fairfax to the comeback victory.
#8 AJ Thomas (Fairfax)
Stat Line: 18 points (6-12 FGA, 5-10 3PA) in 24 minutes
Thomas matched Woodward’s three-point shooting as he was a dangerous and confident shooter that made Arlington pay when he was left open. The majority of his damage came on catch and shoots, but Thomas came up clutch with a game winning four-point play off the dribble with a few seconds left that caused the gym to erupt. His energy and shot making provided the extra boost for Fairfax.
#33 Quinn Clark (Arlington)
Stat Line: 25 points (11-13 FGA, 3-5 FTA), 15 rebounds (10 offensive) 2 assists and 4 blocks in 32 minutes
Clark was dominating and super-efficient as Fairfax had no answer for his presence on either side of the ball. Clark seemingly pulled down every rebound in his area and couldn't’t be boxed out on the offensive glass, leading to countless easy layups for himself right in front of the basket. He showed little to none of his perimeter skill set, instead opting to take advantage of his height, length, skill and athleticism advantage in the paint. Nearly everyone one of his shots were from point blank range where he showed his soft touch around the basket and broke out a couple of post moves for scores including a quick, fluid baseline spin and a drop step to put the defender in the rim. He would have had the game-winning basket late in the game if it was not for Thomas’ late game heroics. Despite the loss, Clark displayed why his combination of skill, height, athleticism and two-way ability easily makes him a top four player in the PYBL and why his future is so bright.
#30 David Soloman (Arlington)
Stat Line: 16 points (7-10 FGA, 2-3 FTA), 15 rebounds (7 offensive) 3 assists and 2 blocks in 32 minutes
What I really like about Soloman is that he knows his own game, his role and excels in it. He is an imposing physical presence in the paint on both sides of the ball with his combination of height, athleticism and some mature muscle and plays off of that. Soloman was aggressive in rebounding the ball in traffic, which led to easy layups at the rim on the offensive end. He showed soft hands to catch dump down passes to finish and controlled the paint on the defensive side with block shots and numerous contests. As Soloman continues to become more skilled and develop a few go to moves in the post, he will even more of a dominating presence.
#10 Mason So (Arlington)
Stat Line: 20 points (7-15 FGA, 4-7 3PA, 2-3 FTA) in 29 minutes
So, one of the PYBL’s top shooters, got in to a rhythm early by knocking down 3 of his 4 made three pointers in the first quarter that barely touched the net. He showed that he has more to his game than just being a stand still jump shooter as he flashed creative ball handling to get to the rim for a couple of layup attempts, including finishing a scoop layup off the glass after a quick and low right to left crossover. So got the crowd buzzing by combining a hesitation move into an in and out and crossover that stumbled his defender, but was unable to convert the jumper. More consistent use of his quickness and creative ball handling to keep defenders off balance and create more space for shot and play making attempts should be the next step in the talented shooter’s game.
Anne Arundel (63) vs. Alexandria (62)
Jarace Walker (Anne Arundel)
Stat Line: 14 points (5-13 FGA, 1-7 3PA, 3-4 FTA) 15 rebounds (4 offensive), 7 assists and 3
blocks in 32 minutes
Walker showed by he is the defensive player of the year and why he is the best two way and player overall in the PYBL. He impacted all facets of the game with his combination of height, skill, athleticism and basketball IQ. He blocked and challenged shots in help at the rim, truly making it look easy as he quickly and fluidly got up off the floor to frustrate shooters around the basket. Walker was impressive with his passing vision and ability to make plays for his teammates off the bounce including a between the legs dribble from the wing to get a step on his man then making a look away scoop pass to the block for an assist as he drew the help defender. Walker struggled with his jump shot and in recognizing this, had a couple of possessions where he turned down an open jumper and made the extra pass to a more open shooter. His rebounding in and out of his area on both sides of the glass led to easy offensive put backs and pushes in transition himself for both scoring and play making opportunities as well. As seen in this game and all season long, Walker’s presence and production puts the talented Anne Arundel team on an elite level in the league.
Shane Lancaster (Anne Arundel)
Stat Line: 20 points (10-19 FGA, 0-2 3PA) 11 rebounds (3 offensive), 3 assists in 30 minutes
As usual, Lancaster was on constant attack mode as he was aggressive in looking to play downhill and get into the lane for scoring and play making chances in both half court and in transition. His defensive rebounding allowed Anne Arundel to push the pace immediately with him leading the break for easier scoring chances before the defense could get set. Lancaster displayed creative ball handling and solid body control as he was able to break defenders down off the dribble and connect on numerous hanging, floating and fading jumpers and layups around the basket. At times, Lancaster couldn't’t find his touch around the basket and perimeter while being loose with the ball (6 turnovers), but it did not shake his confidence and approach in leading his team to victory.
Rob Lawson (Alexandria)
Stat Line: 28 points (9-20 FGA, 8-13 3PGA, 2-2 FTA), 3 rebounds and 9 assists in 32 minutes
In a game where Alexandria only had 5 players, Lawson had the best perimeter shooting day I have seen from him and arguably his best game as he led the team in scoring (29) and assists (9) without committing a turnover. Lawson was very confident in his shooting and didn’t hesitate as he knocked down catch and shoot three pointers throughout the game. His only made field goal inside the arc came on a floater in transition after picking up a steal. Off of his penetration, Lawson found teammates for assists on kick outs and dump off passes. His best assist came on in transition where he led Hutchinson perfectly with a bounce pass for a reverse layup. With seconds remaining in the game, Lawson had a chance to win the game with a layup in semi transition and in traffic, but was unable to convert. He played his heart out throughout and may have just lost a little steam at the end.
Prince George’s (91) vs. Montgomery (84)
#0 Judah Mintz (PG)
Stat Line: 26 points (7-13 FGA. 1-1 3PA, 11-12 FTA) 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals in 29 minutes
Mintz flashed creative ball handling and the ability to beat his man off the dribble as he looked to attack the rim all game long. His quick first step either got him past defenders or got them on his hip, which resulted in scores at the rim or getting to the free throw line where he feasted with 11 made free throws. Mintz’s dribble penetration resulted in assists from both kick outs and dump off passes as he drew the secondary defender and found the open man. Late in the 4th quarter, Mintz came up clutch for his team by tying the game and helping send the game into overtime by drawing the shooting foul on a three pointer and confidently knocking down all three free throws. Once in overtime, PG was able to complete the comeback and seal the game.
#7 Tyrell Ward (PG)
Stat Line: 19 points (8-20 FGA, 1-4 3PA, 2-2 FTA) 15 rebounds (7 offensive) 2 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals in 33 minutes
Ward was effective in using his length and ranginess to impact the game on both ends of the floor. He extended those long arms to high point rebounds and on the offensive end, converted several offensive rebounds into easy points via layups. Although he did not get the ball on the block much, he took advantage of smaller guards by going right into their chest and shooting over them for good shoots and hitting a couple. Ward consistently made defensive plays by contesting shots and altering shots around the rim while blocking 3 of them and recording deflections and steals in passing lanes. Ward certainly has tools with the ability to develop more skill.
#1 Trey Thomas (Montgomery)
Stat Line: 31 points (9-17 FGA, 3-8 3PA, 10-11 FTA), 10 rebounds (4 offensive), 6 assists and 3 steals in 36 minutes
The PYBL Elite’s, “King of the Summer”, showed early and often why he earned the league’s top honor. Thomas led the way with a game high of 31 points, scoring the first several baskets of the game for Montgomery. Throughout the game, Thomas displayed an advanced feel for the with his creative ball handling and ability to score in a variety of different ways. Thomas scored with pushes on the break, a jab step into a sweep through rim attack, catch and shoots, dump off finishes and offensive rebounds. What I really loved about his game was his energy and support of his teammates. Thomas competed on the offensive glass, chased down loose balls and repeatedly high fived and vocally encouraged and supported his teammates. The only real blemish in his game was the 6 turnovers, something that can easily be managed as he had moments where he forced passes and attempted to dribble through traffic.
#2 Rodney Rice (Montgomery)
Stat Line: 15 points (6-10 FGA, 3-6 3PA), 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks in 30 minutes
Of course Rice showed off his smooth, effortless jump shooting as he connected on multiple deep three pointers, but he was intent on being more than just an offensive threat. This game was the most engaged game that I have seen from Rice in terms of all facets of the game. He moved with purpose in his defensive stance and blocked a couple of shots in help, including one in the half court where he sprinted down from the top of key to block the shot at the rim. Rice
even got on the floor for a loose ball and battled for the ball. At times, Rice was loose with ball security on dribbles and passing as a result of trying to do a little too much (7 turnovers). His smooth offensive game and shooting ability with more overall engagement is a dangerous sight.
#24 Travis Roberts (Montgomery)
Stat Line: 16 points (7-14 FGA, 0-3 3PA, 2-2 FTA), 8 rebounds (6 offensive), 2 blocks and 2 steals in 25 minutes
Roberts played his usual game of rebounding the ball on both ends, running the floor and converting his chances around the rim with his soft touch. He displayed a nose for the ball on offensive rebounds, often bringing them down in traffic and converting layups off of them. Roberts connected on a couple of midrange jumpers, shooting them in rhythm on catch and shoot opportunities. His combination of height, size and touch has led to production all season long.
PYBL Elite Championship Game Standouts (at Dematha)
Southern MD (55) vs, Anne Arundel (52)
#1 Willie Rivera (Southern MD)
Stat Line: 17 points (6-13 FGA, 2-4 3PA, 3-5 FTA), 10 rebounds (6 offensive) and 4 assists in 26 minutes
Rivera, the championship game MVP, really stepped up and led the way for Southern MD with a team tying high of 17 points as one of their best players, Derrick Key, was injured during pre-game warmups and did not play. Rivera knocked down perimeter jumpers and looked to attack the basket in both the half court and in transition. He showed strength and concentration by finishing two layups through contact in transition, including one on the near 6’6 big man, Zack Bolgert. Very late in the 4th quarter, Rivera came through in the clutch by knocking a three pointer to tie the game then another to give Southern MD a lead that they would not relinquish. He sealed the game in the final seconds by converting at the free throw line. This was the best game I have seen from Rivera, his ability to rise to the occasion on a big stage was impressive.
#6 Dylan Williamson (Southern MD)
Stat Line: 17 points (7-18 FGA, 0-4 3PA, 3-4 FTA) and 3 rebounds in 30 minutes
Williamson was aggressive throughout the game, looking to score the ball and help carry the offensive burden in a game that saw many offensive droughts. Williamson flashed creative ball handling and shot making ability as he connected on a hesitation pull up at the top of the key, a pullup baseline jumper and an acrobatic up and under layup on the baseline that got the crowd buzzing. His most impressive play of game came where he leaped straight up in the air to steal Hamlin’s pass and then converted a contested layup off the glass by outstretching and wrapping his arm around the defender. His shot making ability was crucial for Southern MD with only himself and Rivera scoring in double figures.
#0 Antonio Hamlin (Anne Arundel)
Stat Line: 18 points (6-15 FGA, 2-3 #PA, 4-5 FTA), 10 rebounds (5 offensive) and 3 assists in 30 minutes
As usual, Hamlin came to play and brought a certain intensity and confidence to the floor. Hamlin mainly looked to attack off the bounce to create offense for himself or his teammates with dribble penetration kick outs. He utilized ball screens to get to the rim and knocked down a pull up jumper off of it as he took his time to properly use the screen and get his feet under him. Both of his three pointers were catch and shoots, including one where the showed great awareness by both pointing and verbally alerting his teammates of the winding shot clock and then knocked down the shot after getting the ball back. I loved how Hamlin really attacked the offensive glass, which resulted in him getting layups and drawing fouls and forcing opposing guards to box out instead of trying to leak out in transition. He had everything working for him early, but couldn’t get much going late in the game. Hamlin was visibly upset and disappointed about the loss, you could really see his competitiveness and that is something that cannot be taught.
#1 Shane Lancaster (Anne Arundel)
Stat Line: 12 points (5-17 3PA, 0-3 3PA, 2-2 FTA) 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in 32 minutes
Despite really struggling with his shooting, Lancaster continued to attack and didn’t let misses affect him from being a primary producer for his team. He did a great job in using his two steps in the lane to slither closer to the rim for hanging attempts and some conversions around the basket, but couldn't’t consistently find his touch on shots that he usually converts on. With his ability to use creative ball handling and his length to get into the lane, Lancaster was able to record a couple of assists on kick outs as well. All 13 of his rebounds were on the defensive end where he mostly looked to push the ball up the floor and create easier scoring opportunism for himself and teammates. He utilized his length to make plays on the defensive end by playing passing lanes both on and off the ball, resulting in three steals and a couple of deflections including an inbounds steal and layup conversion late in the 4th quarter. It wasn't’t the scoring efficiency that Lancaster wanted, but otherwise produced another solid game.