As the saying goes, “the bigger they come, the harder they fall.” This idea was seen in full force in the opening game of the Under Armour I-95 High School Challenge, as St. Frances played the role of of giant killer, defeating Quality Education Academy (NC) by a lopsided score of 65-44.
The Panthers trailed after the first quarter, but asserted themselves offensively in the final three frames, using their speed and athleticism to their advantage against a much larger Quality Education team.
The Fighting Pharaohs of Quality Education led 21-13 after the first quarter but saw their lead quickly evaporate, as St. Frances carried a slim 28-27 lead into halftime. After the half, St. Frances caught fire. Point guard and UNLV commit DaQuan Cook led the Panthers’ aggressive press which caused numerous QEA turnovers, and Maurice White and Tevon Saddler began to seemingly score at will.
An impressive third quarter gave St. Frances a 51-34 lead going into the fourth, as they outscored QEA 23-7 in the penultimate frame. The Panthers put to bed any chances of a comeback in the final quarter, immediately answering any Quality Education bucket with one of their own.
Tevon Saddler had 16 points for St. Frances, and Maurice White had 25. DaQuan Cook only scored four points, but was key in leading the Panthers back from the early deficit, and seemed to be all over the floor whenever he was in.
I found myself doing a bit of scouting during the game, breaking down some of the game’s top players.
Brandon Bolden, Center, Quality Education
Bolden is committed to Georgetown, and Hoyas head coach John Thompson was in attendance to watch his prized 6’11” recruit. Bolden had a somewhat unimpressive game in terms of scoring (three points), but showed some flashes of brilliance. He is very athletic and moves well on the floor for a big man. He is a big-time shot blocking threat, but is fairly skinny, and will have to bulk up to do well in the Big East.
DaQuan Cook, Point Guard, St. Frances
Cook is committed to UNLV, and is expected to have a significant immediate impact with the Runnin’ Rebels. He runs the fast break very well, and has excellent court vision. He is a good vocal leader, and helped his teammates stay focused and poised after they fell down by double digits early. He seemed to force his play several times, and that is the most common knock on him.
Jevon Thomas, Point Guard, Quality Education Academy
Like Bolden, it seems that Thomas was caught on an off night. He’s committed to play at Dayton next season, and should be a productive college point guard. He’s an aggressive defender who can cause havoc, but his aggressiveness can be a double-edged sword, as he was sometimes beat for an easy layup when defending the dribble. He’s no slouch off the dribble either, as he was able to find a lot of space to convert mid-range jumpers around the paint.
Tevon Saddler, Guard/Forward, St. Frances
Just a junior, Saddler is being recruited by several mid-majors, and he has a natural scoring ability. He’s a great slasher, and has an impressive mid-range game. If his outside shot develops, he could easily average 20 points per game. He needs to stay focused throughout the game, and grind on every offensive possession to help his team out as much as possible. Saddler has a lot of potential, and could be a primetime scorer in college.
Edgar Walker is a BSR staff writer, focusing on high school sports and the Ravens. Follow him on Twitter.