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Mustang Madness game by game preview, including two matchups for Spire Academy and LaMelo Ball

LaMelo Ball

By JESSIE BREWER, Contributing Writer

Mustang Madness starts Thursday afternoon at McCracken County High School in Paducach. Here’s a look at the matchups for each game (all times CST).

Jan. 3 Session 1
4:00pm Tennessee Prep (TN) v Victory Rock Prep (FL)
TPA – TPA features seniors Damion Baugh and Traizon Byrd, along with junior Denver Jones, who are all key pieces on this team. Baugh (#82, Rivals) is a quick guard capable of slicing through defenses, his offers include Florida, Texas, and WKU. Byrd and Jones’ both have offers that include Tennessee St. and WKU. Other important additions are sharpshooter Darrell Belcher and 6’11” big man Much Biel.
VRP – The Blue Devils’ are led by senior point guard Kolton Mitchell. Mitchell is a solid floor general who can put up big numbers on any given night and knows how to get his teammates involved. He is receiving interest from schools like Loyola Marymount, New Mexico State, and WKU. Other upperclassmen to watch for are junior guards Gedeon Dimoke and Momen Hassan.

5:30pm Wesley Christian (KY) v DME Academy (FL)
WC – The Circuit Riders feature a slew of international talent including Dutch sharpshooter Miki Tadic and Sudanese big man Arol Kacuol. Tadic, who is picking up D1 interest, has a high basketball IQ and shoots the ball at a high percentage. 6’10” Kacuol (W. Carolina offer) along with 7’1” German center Leon Moshefy will create huge problems in the paint for opposing teams. Two other huge factors for Wesley are found in Tunisian-born Oussama Marnaoui and Puoch Puoch, an Australia native, who can both bring the ball up and score in high numbers.
DME – DME features the #7 ranked sophomore in Moussa Diabaté and senior Arkansas State commit Malcolm Farrington. Diabaté, who already holds offers from Auburn and Memphis, is a versatile big man with a high motor and solid physical presence. Farrington is a knock down shooter who is hard to stop when he’s hitting. Cherif Kanoute and Freddy Johnson, the team’s assist leader, are both important to this roster.

7:00pm Aspire Academy (KY) v Bella Vista Prep (AZ)
AA – The Wizards are led by senior Caleb Fields (Arkansas State commit), a quick, explosive point guard who has no trouble finishing inside the paint. The consistently improving sophomore center Sekou Sada Kalle (Rutgers, UCLA, WKU offers) has become an important piece down low for this squad. Other key pieces include seniors Ahmard Harvey, Prosper Obidiebube, and Jihuan Westbrook, who all hold D-I offers.
BV – Bella Vista is led by senior Michigan State commit Terry Armstrong and junior Addison Patterson. Armstrong (#58, 247Composite) is a high flying, versatile player with a great mid-range scoring ability. Patterson (#21, Rivals) is considered the top Canadian in his class, whose offers include Oregon and Syracuse, is an explosive finisher and does well in transition. New to the team is Jeron Artest, the son of Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest), and the hard-nosed player will surely be a key component.

8:30pm McCracken County (KY) v Christian County (KY)
MC – The Mustangs are led by 6’6” junior Jackson Sivills, one of the top players in the region. Sivills is a solid scorer who easily averages 20+ points per game and can also rack up on rebounds. He has earned offers from schools that include Murray State, St. Louis, Samford, and UT-Martin. Seniors Trevor Winsett and Mitchell Guthrie have also become consistent scoring threats for this team.
CC – Stepping into a bigger scoring role this season is senior Eric Brody, who is capable of putting up big numbers on any given night. Also playing bigger roles this will be senior Fred Tandy and junior DaMikeon Mathis, both can be impact players on either end. Look for Stephon Bussell and Olajuwon White to become important players down the stretch for the Colonels.

Jan. 4 Session 2
4:00pm Trinity International (NV) v Callaway (MS)
TIS – The Thunder are led by the flashy junior point guard Daishen Nix. Nix sets up his teammates at a high rate, while still able to score in big numbers. His playmaking combined with his ability to breakdown defenses makes him a highly sought-after recruit. He is ranked #27 (Rivals) in his class with many high major offers including Arizona, Kansas, and Maryland.
Call – Callaway is led by sophomore standout Daeshun Ruffin, a talented guard who is already seeing high major interest. He currently holds offers from Auburn, Mississippi St., and Ole Miss. Ruffin, who always seems to be a step ahead, led the Chargers in points and assists per game last season. Point guard Kevion Hunt has already become a key piece to this team’s offense, despite being just a freshman.

5:30pm Prolific Prep (CA) v Orangeville Prep (CAN)
PP – The Crew’s backcourt features top ranked junior duo Nimari Burnett (#26, ESPN) and Zach Harvey (#25, ESPN). Burnett (offers include Arizona, Indiana, Texas A&M) is a versatile combo guard who is great at scoring and attacking the basket. Harvey (offers include Kansas, Louisville, Oregon) is a do-it-all guard who excels with the ball in his hands and can guard all three perimeter positions. Point guard Pierre Crockrell transferred back to Prolific in December and only strengthens this already lethal squad.
OP – The Bears are led by Seton Hall commit Tyrese Samuel and junior forward Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe (#37, 247Sports). Samuel (#86, ESPN) is a tough, athletic forward who can finish in traffic and run the floor well. Moncrieffe is, in his words, “at his best when he is running the floor and dunking on people.” His growing offer list includes Arizona State, Florida, Oregon, and Vanderbilt. They also benefit largely by having true point guard Shemar Rathan-Mayes facilitating the team’s offense, who also has a deadly three ball at his disposal.

7:00pm The Rock (FL) v Spire Academy (OH)
TR – The Lions’ feature a slew of key guards starting with the facilitator Bryan Greenlee. Greenlee, whose offers are starting to roll in with one coming from Iowa, has a nice stop-and-pop in the midrange game, but isn’t afraid to pull up from way behind the arc. Other key guards are 6’5” senior Jaden Campbell and sophomore Alec Oglesby (offers include USF, Wake Forest). Oglesby’s strength is shooting but also does well at slashing and kicking out to his teammates.
SA – Spire’s star-studded roster is led by the well-known LaMelo Ball. Ball, the brother of LA Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, can do it all from score to set his teammates up. He is joined by Michigan State commit Mark “Rocket” Watts, Myron Gardner, and Terry Lockett. Watts and Gardner (offers include Georgetown, Xavier) both excel at scoring the ball and getting inside. Lockett holds both basketball and football offers plus interest from Kentucky for basketball.

8:30pm Salesian College Prep (CA) v Curie (IL)
SCP – Salesian, a top team in Northern California, features twin duo Jaden and JoVon McClanahan, both 5’11” guards. JoVon is a reliable scorer who can finish at all three levels and also excels at finding the open man in transition. Jaden is a lockdown defender and is also an accomplished rebounder for his size, along with having solid ball handling skills. Solid scorer who can be relied on down the stretch and can usually nab a few rebounds and assists along the way.
Curie– The Condors’ roster includes senior Kansas State commit DaJuan Gordon. Gordon is a 6’4”athletic wing who excels with the ball at his hands, but also forces turnovers on the defensive end. Other keys for this squad include seniors Damari Nixon and Justin Harmon and junior Ramean Hinton, all with D-I interest. Harmon pairs well with Gordon to create a dynamic scoring backcourt.

10:00pm Athens Prep (TN) v Hillcrest Prep North (AZ)
AP – Athens’ roster features a great duo in point guard Keishawn Davidson and shooting guard Darlinstone Dubar. Davidson (offers include Belmont and Murray St.) is a good scoring point guard, who also does well at getting teammates involved and grabbing rebounds. Dubar (offers include Auburn and Kansas St.) is a smooth, pure scorer with a nice looking jump shot.
HPN – Hillcrest’s tough backcourt includes 6’4” shooting guard Oscar Lopez and 6’3” point guard Mike Rogers. Lopez, a DePaul commit, handles much of the Bruins’ scoring, where he consistently puts up double digit numbers. He also excels at crashing the boards and using flashy ball handling skills to find open teammates. Rogers, once a star football player, is a strong bodied player who can make plays and score when needed.

Jan. 5 Session 3
9:00am McCracken County (KY) v Hopkinsville (KY) girls
MC – The Lady Mustangs are led by lone senior Meagan Hayden, a solid scorer, especially from behind the arc (71 threes last season). Strong contributions will come from junior guards Tay Scott, Abby Ellington, Ashton Rudy, and Mary Beavers. Look for forwards Marlee Morehead (2020) and Shymiya Daye (2022) to be major forces in the paint.
Hop – The Lady Tigers feature Jayla Rose, who became one of the most dominant post players in the region last season. Rose, a 5’9” senior, moves into more of a leadership role this season. Expect Breon Oldham (2019), a quick guard who can get to the basket with ease, and Yogi McKnight (2019), a lockdown defender, to be vital this season.

10:30am St. Louis Christian (MO) v Orangeville Prep (CAN)
SLC – The Cougars feature a talented trio in the backcourt with Jordan Nesbitt (2021) and seniors Courtland Soll and Ramone Woods. Nesbitt (#25, 247Sports) is a proven scorer who already holds offers from UL-Monroe, Ole Miss, and Tulane. Soll is a reliable scorer, who does well getting his teammates involved. Woods is a hard-nosed point guard on both ends, who can score the ball as well as rack up on assists.
OP – Orangeville’s frontcourt includes 6’9” Joe Jones, the little brother of Greg Oden. Jones excels on the defensive end, blocking shots and grabbing rebounds, and is gaining interest from many mid-majors, including an offer from UMass. Senior forward Jevonnie Scott is a powerful and confident player, who can really put on a show. 6’10” center Ben Hendriks, a Ball State commit, provides a solid backup off the bench.

12:00pm Victory Rock Prep (FL) v Hillcrest Prep North (AZ)
VRP – VRock features a group of talented underclassmen that includes Prince Mosengo and Tyler Delevante. Mosengo, a 6’7” freshman, scores the ball extremely well and is active on the boards, quickly becoming a key piece to this team. Sophomore Delevante is also a key scorer for the Blue Devils and is a great complimentary piece to point guard Kolton Mitchell.
HPN – The Bruins’ feature big man Carl Lewis protecting the rim, along with 6’7” shooting guard Payton Dickerson and 6’10” forward Chase Courtney. Lewis is ranked as the 57th best prospect in the senior class and has offers that include Georgetown and USC. The 6’9” center is a powerhouse in the middle, dominating around the rim with dunks and rebounds.

1:30pm Callaway (MS) v Salesian College Prep (CA)
Call – The Chargers come into this season having made it to the Mississippi Class 5A Final Four last season. The junior trio of Larry Holmes, Johnathan Crumley, and Cuwandric Samuels will all be key pieces to this team. Holmes is a strong, tough point guard who has a great feel for the game and lockdown defense.
SCP – The Pride’s roster also features combo forward Tyler Brinkman (Fresno St. offer) who can score inside and outside. Junior Te’Jon Sawyer (Denver, Hampton offers) is a good scorer and has emerged as a real presence inside. Shane Bell, a junior, will provide good looks on offense, having a nice finishing ability inside. Look for 6’9” center Manny Adeoye, an athletic rim runner, to be a force in the paint on both ends.

Jan. 5 Session 4
4:00pm The Rock (FL) v Prolific Prep (CA)
TR – The Lions’ feature Lynn Kidd (#32, Rivals), a highly-touted sophomore forward who is destined to be a solid all-around player. 6’7” Florida State commit Zimife Nwokeji and 6’9” FAU commit Dardan Kapiti round out the frontcourt. Nwokeji is a reliable shot maker who can handle the ball and also create opportunities for his teammates.
PP – Prolific’s frontcourt features three towers in 6’8” Alimamy Koroma, 6’10” Kuany Kuany, and 7’0” Ibrahima Diallo. Koroma (Cal Poly commit) can impact the game without touching the ball, while Kuany plays like a wing player, and Diallo’s a huge asset in the paint. Kuany and Diallo both have offers from DePaul, Florida St., and South Florida. Juniors Mawot Mag and Coleman Hawkins (offers include Arizona, Illinois, Rutgers) are other options for this deep squad.

5:30pm Marshall County (KY) v Downey Christian (FL)
MC – The Marshals feature a solid core of players that includes junior guard Tyler Powell, a proven scorer and rebounder with great leadership qualities, and junior Tyler Stokes, one of the region’s top scorers and rebounders. The nation’s #9 sophomore Zion Harmon, a skilled point guard, whose offer list includes Tennessee and Vanderbilt with interest from Kansas and Kentucky, is a new addition to this squad. Other key pieces include juniors Bryce Flatt and Austin Riley and sophomore golf standout Jay Nimmo.
DC – The Patriots’ are led by internet sensation Julian Newman, a flashy point guard with insane ball handling skills. Newman is a high-volume shooter and is able to knock down threes from way beyond the arc. Currently he is averaging 33ppg and 7apg, shooting 52% from the field and 50% from three-point range. He has received interest from Florida, Miami, UCF, and USF.

7:00pm Spire Academy (OH) v Trinity International (NV)
SA – Spire’s frontcourt features the #14 ranked (ESPN) junior Isaiah Jackson. The 6’9” Jackson is an athletic forward who can finish inside and step out and shoot. Other key pieces are seniors Josaphat Bilau and Carrington McCaskill, an FAU commit. Despite being 6’10”, Bilau can do it all from being an inside presence to bringing the ball up the court. His offers include Illinois and Wichita State.
TIS – Joining the flashy Nix is senior guard Milton Burnett and sophomore forward Zaba Bangala. Burnett is a solid scorer, excelling from beyond the arc, and is active on the boards. Bangala is very agile for his size, a great finisher above the rim, and can step out to guard the perimeter. Look for sophomore Kevin Gilles to be an important role player. 5’10”

8:30pm McCracken County (KY) v Elliott County (KY)
MC – The Mustangs’ have seen consistencey out of numerous players this season including senior Ramon Heard, junior Grant Davis, and sophomore Noah Dumas. Heard has been a force on the glass grabbing boards, while Davis has provided important buckets. 5’10” guard Dumas has been important in both the scoring and rebounding columns, also showing that he can put up big numbers from time to time.
EC – Elliott’s roster includes the state’s top 8th grader, Colin Porter. Porter is a guard who plays with flair and seems to always make the right play. Joining him is senior guard duo Gage Evans and Tanner Dickerson, both players who put up good numbers. Senior Korbin Spencer transferred back to Elliott this year and will be an important addition.

10:00pm Bella Vista Prep (AZ) v Athens Prep (TN)
BV – The Bears’ frontcourt is huge with 6’11” Jimmy Bell, 6’10” Emmanuel Tshimanga, and 7’0” Rick Issanza. Bell (offers include Iowa St., UNLV) is a great rebounder with a soft touch around the rim. Tshimanga is a solid finisher in the pain and has offers from Dayton and Oklahoma. Issanza is an agile center, whose offer list includes Baylor and Texas Tech.
AP – Athens Prep features the newly transferred Jimmy Sorunke, a 6’11” center with Long Beach State and Old Dominion offers. Sorunke is a solid post player with a high ceiling; he is a great rebounder, quick off the jump, and is dominant with the ball in his hands around the rim. Also expect Tyrus Baynham (Tennessee St. offer) and Isaac Spears (Incarnate Word offer) to be significant factors.

Jan. 6 Session 4
12:00pm Murray (KY) v University Heights (KY)
Murr – The Tigers’ squad features senior RaVichael Strickland, a good scorer and solid rebounder. Senior Will Lovins will, once again, provide important minutes and significant buckets throughout the season. Junior Hunter Utley proved last season that he is a solid scorer and can get big rebounds when needed. Expect 8th grader Grant Whitaker to become one of the Tigers’ most reliable players.
UHA – The Blazers, the reigning Region 2 champions, are led by senior KyKy Tandy, the #83 ranked recruit in the senior class. Tandy (Xavier commit) is a score-first point guard that wreaks havoc on defenses. Drew McGowan (2019, Mississippi St. baseball commit), TaQuan Hollowell (2020), and KJ Crump (2021) are also key pieces to this team.

1:30pm Mayfield (KY) v St. Louis Christian (MO)
May – The Cardinals’ are led by the 2017-18 All Purchase Player of the Year and consistent scorer, Connor Guthrie, and his brother, Carson, a do-it-all player who provides needed buckets. Senior Desean Jones is an impact player who can be relied on down the stretch. Seniors Kent Trey Matthews and Husten Lancaster (Murray St. golf commit) and Tony Parrot are all key to this squad.
SLC – The Cougars’ frontcourt features 6’10” freshman Tiki Musaka and 6’9” sophomore Jonathan Izemef. Despite their youth, these two can create major problems inside for opponents. Making impacts from the wings is Jackson Makoi and Alpha Chibambe. Makoi is a solid scoring option for this team, able to knock down the three ball and also finish inside.

3:00pm Downey Christian (FL) v Graves County (KY) girls
DC – Freshman Jaden Newman headlines the Lady Patriots’ roster, a point guard who has been playing varsity basketball since she was a third grader. Like her brother, she is a lethal shooter, once nailing 17 three-pointers in a game. She has averaged high double digits in the scoring column each season, averaging 45ppg last season. Miami began recruiting her early on in her varsity career.
GC – Despite losing four seniors to graduation, the Lady Eagles return as one of the top teams in Region 1. They are led by the lone senior Taylor Carrico, who will take on more scoring responsibilities this season. Junior Raychel Mathis, a Murray State soccer commit, is a proven scorer, but excels at setting teammates up (career assist leader at Graves). Expect sophomore track standout Sophie Galloway to be a major presence in the paint.

4:30pm Downey Christian (FL) v Graves County (KY)
DC – Joining Newman are seniors Eduardo Peralta and Carlos Felix and sophomore guard Emmanuel Maldonado. Peralta is the team’s leading rebounder and second leading scorer, proving his importance down low. Felix can score if needed but does very well on the defensive end grabbing boards. Maldonado, although young, will become important for this team. He holds a Bethune-Cookman offer plus interest from Iowa State, Kansas State, and Murray State.
GC – The Eagles come into this season as the Region 1 runners-up and with a group of senior leaders they are expecting to make it to Rupp this season. Jordyn Naranjo, a Murray State baseball commit, and forward Jacob Savage will provide a massive scoring and rebounding presence for this team. Sharpshooter Ryan Mathis will continue to lead this team and provide a significant scoring presence like he has in the past.

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