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South 58, Thomas Worthington 43 - Prospect Scouting Report

By Jake Spegal, 12/14/19, 4:45PM EST


Taquan Simington and South were too much for Thomas Worthington to handle on Saturday

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jumping out to an early lead behind some dominant defense, South (5-0) never looked back on Saturday as they created separation early on against Thomas Worthington (3-2) and took down the Cardinals 58-43 in the first game of the Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic at Nationwide Arena on Saturday.

Locking down Thomas Worthington from the opening tip, South came out defending hard on the perimeter, altering shots on the interior and cleaning up the glass early.

The Bulldogs didn't allow a single point until Thomas Worthington junior Jalen Sullinger knocked down two free throws to cut the South lead to 11-2 with 1:20 left in the quarter and didn't give up a field goal  until there were 40 seconds left in the frame when freshman Joey Zalewski knocked down a deep two off the catch.

Taking a 15-4 lead into the second, South took advantage of the Cardinals' sluggish play early and built a quick advantage.

After three quick points from Thomas Worthington to start the second, South answered with eight straight points from Taquan Simington and built a 23-9 lead with 3:05 remaining in the half.

Ending the half on a quick 6-2 spurt, Thomas Worthington cut the deficit to just 25-15 going into the half.

Opening up the second half with five unanswered points after an easy finish from Tyrese Hughey and a three from Maurice Collins, Thomas Worthington quickly chopped the South lead in half as they trailed just 25-20 with 7:02 left in the quarter.

South quickly responded, however, as a 6-0 run capped off by an easy finish from Simington increased their lead back to 31-20 with 3:45 left in the third.

Holding steady for the rest of the quarter and answering any Thomas Worthington baskets, the Bulldogs took a comfortable 35-25 lead into the final frame of play.

Cutting the South lead to 37-32 with 6:27 left after a three from Omari Effiong, Thomas Worthington swung the momentum in their favor before a 7-2 South run capped off by two buckets from Trevell Adams increased the margin to 44-34 with 4:54 to go.

Controlling the momentum and tempo for the rest of the contest, the Bulldogs held onto this lead for the final five minutes. They move to 5-0 after the win and will be back in action next Tuesday against Marion-Franklin.

For Thomas Worthington, the Cardinals move to 3-2 after dropping this one and will have a little bit of a break before heading to Dublin Scioto next Friday to continue OCC play.

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Taquan Simington (6'2 WG / South / 2020): Simington is the most athletic player in the area and he put on full display against Thomas Worthington as the senior affected the game from the opening tip on both ends of the floor. He finished some tough buckets through contact and scored on several putbacks as he did an excellent job cleaning up the glass on both ends and creating some easy looks by making instinctive dives into the lane within the South offense. The 6-foot-2 senior is an elite perimeter defender as he has extremely quick feet, has active hands and plays the passing lanes better than any guard we've seen this season. Expect Simington to continue to put together some excellent showings this season as he has gotten off to a really hot start and affects the game on both ends as effectively as any wing around.

Omari Effiong (6'1 WG / Thomas Worthington / 2021):  Coming off the bench on Saturday, Effiong provided Thomas Worthington with great energy and effort. We've always enjoyed the motor that Effiong plays with and that was the case once again at Nationwide Arena, as the 6-foot-1 wing had two tough layups through contact, one of which on a steal he created playing the passing lanes. The junior also knocked down a catch and shoot three, showing improvement in his perimeter jump shot which will mean great things for his offensive game going forward. When it comes to two-way production, Effiong is as good as any player on the Cardinals roster. He brings the type of impact that makes it hard to take him off the floor. 

Marcus Johnson (6'4 WG / South / 2020): Johnson gave the Bulldogs yet another gritty two-way performance on Saturday as he defended hard, got out in transition and cleaned up the glass throughout the entire contest. Johnson is an elite defender as his lateral quickness and length allow him to defend 1-5 at the high school level and should translate into allowing him to defend 1-3 at the next level and even 1-4 against small ball lineups. He got to the rim for some tough finishes, drew contact and got to the line and made some really good passes both in the open floor and within the flow of South's offense. Low-major schools should take a look at Johnson as he can really affect a game when he is able to get out in the open floor and make plays.

Tyrese Hughey (6'7 PF / Thomas Worthington / 2021): Hughey put together a solid game on Saturday as he cleaned up the glass, scored around the rim and made his presence felt in the paint throughout the game on the defensive end. At a long and athletic 6-foot-7, Hughey uses these tools along with his size to move guys around in the paint and create some easy points on putbacks. He had a few soft touch floaters off the glass as well, finishing around length and using his body to create separation around the rim. The junior showed off his springy athleticism with a big putback slam in the second quarter and also put it on display by blocking a handful of shots on defense. Though we didn't see it tonight, Hughey also offers the ability to stretch the floor, making him the best big man prospect in the area.

Maurice Barnes (6'0 PG / South / 2021): Barnes had yet another eye opening showing on Saturday as the junior guard got after it on both ends, bringing some great energy for South off the bench. He defended Jalen Sullinger well on the perimeter, poking away the ball several times with his active hands and showing great effort by diving on the floor for several loose balls. He hit a three off the catch on offense, got into the lane a few times besides not converting and made some good passes on that end of the floor. As Barnes continues to produce and bring value off the bench, expect his minutes to keep going up in the South rotation as we love the effort and decision making of the junior on both ends.

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