I was minding my business Sunday night, having a nice beverage in the living room when I got this tweet from Eddie Lampkin. https://twitter.com/EddieLampkin25/status/1071967895050174464. Two of the top teams in the city that many media outlets had #1 and/or #2, a clash of the titans.. or so I thought. First, props to Morton Ranch’s coach Turner for even scheduling a game like this, not many coaches would have the gall to play Eisenhower in their place on a school night. The crowd was anticipating the Tigers to be at full strength and hoping to see star guard LJ Cryer, who had missed a couple of games due to injury. Unfortunately for them and Morton Ranch, he was not in uniform, and I knew it would be a long night. The Eagles used their speed and quickness from the jump, trapping and getting transitions points early to jump out to a 13-2 lead. Morton Ranch couldn’t handle the press, turning the ball over 5 out of the 1st 7 possessions of the game. Seniors Ashton Bell (6), Ja’Mere (5) and Ja’Mare Redus (12) scored 23 of the 25 Eisenhower points as they lead 25-8 after 1 quarter. The 2nd quarter was more of the same for Ike as their defensive intensity increased and forced more Morton Ranch turnovers, feeding off of the frenzied crowd. The one thing the Ike twins never do is allow their team to not fight. Several occasions there were little things like, denying their man the ball, or running through a screen, that made it difficult for Morton Ranch to run their plays. They never really were able to find any rhythm offensively, and Ike seemed to get every “50/50” ball, and dominated Morton Ranch on the glass as the lead swelled to 43-22 at the half. Westley Sellers seemed to revive his team off of life support in the 3rd quarter scoring 8 points and closing the gap to 14 with 4:47 to go, as he and Trey Elrod scored knocked down back to back jumpers. It would be as close as they would get as Eisenhower’s Matt Barber scored as many points as the Tigers by himself in the 4th, 11 to 11, to finish with 20 points, as his Eagles would prevail 77-53.
This is the Eisenhower team many people thought would make a run at a state title, not the team that lost on their home floor to Klein Forest two weeks ago. When they play inspired, tough, basketball like this, they will be hard to beat. Morton Ranch on the other needs to visit the “Wizard” and find some heart, there’s no way a team with this much talent should be blown out in this fashion, even without LJ Cryer. They need to figure out an identity and do it sooner than later.
Eisenhower: Matthew Barber 20, Ja’Mare Redus 21, Ashton Bell 14p/10 rebounds
Morton Ranch: Westley Sellers 11