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Beechcroft 65, Northland 50 - Prospect Scouting Report

By Greg Glasser, 02/10/21, 11:45PM EST

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Cougars overcome halftime deficit and earn way into City League Championship

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Not even three weeks into the abbreviated Columbus City League season, stakes were already high as Beechcroft visited Northland in a pivotal North division contest.   

After Beechcroft faced a four-point deficit to start the second half, the Cougars outscored the Vikings by 19 points and secured a 65-50 victory, earning them a spot in the City League Championship.

The Cougars got in front early led with two quick baskets from junior Amani Lyles, while fellow junior JJ Simmons connected with three first-quarter assists.   

Beechcroft led 14-7 after the first quarter, but hit a wall offensively and only scored four points in the second. Northland then found scoring production off the bench from junior DeAngelo Mitchell.

Mitchell put back two offensive boards, nailed a three and also limited Lyles to his only scoreless period of the game. The six-foot-three forward made an instant noticeable impact with nine points and four rebounds in just several minutes of play.     Mitchell’s contribution pushed the Vikings to a 22-18 halftime lead.

While Northland did a good job of limiting Beechcroft in the first half, the Cougars got out of their cage in the second, led by an offensive spark from the junior trio of Lyles, Simmons and and forward Antwoin Reed Jr.

Northland initially kept the score close with a big help from senior Stephen Reavish who had all of his nine points in the third period.

Yet halfway through the quarter, Simmons took over for the Cougars.  En route to 11-straight points, Simmons forced Northland into two fouls while shooting beyond the arc. Simmons made all six of his free throws and also connected on a triple and a lay-up.  His aggressive play gave him 20 points to lead all scorers. 

The Vikings started to lose control of their defensive hold on Lyles, as the six-foot-seven forward began to have his way off the dribble, finished emphatic dunks and was nearly unstoppable in the post as he scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half. 

Beechcroft also got an inspired offensive performance from Reed Jr, who scored all of his 15 points in the second half, including ten in the fourth. 

Northland’s Robert Dorsey III made two fourth-quarter triples that kept the score from getting out of hand, but ultimately Beechcroft’s power trio of Lyles, Simmons and Reed Jr, along with solid defensive efforts and four assists from junior Javo Jordan, simply overwhelmed a Northland team that fought hard for three quarters, but had trouble to keep with Beechcroft’s talent and physicality. 

The Vikings got strong efforts from senior Makhale Massey, who was active defensively and grabbed a team-high six rebounds and finished with six points. Senior Shemar Watson scored seven points and had two steals, while junior Tabree Beacham added four points and led Northland with four assists. 

With currently no games remaining on their regular season schedule, Northland finishes their brief season at 6-2 and runner-up in the North division. With the #18 seed in the Division I District tournament, they’ll play the winner of Lancaster and Canal Winchester in the sectional finals on February 26.

Beechcroft (7-0) has a final tune-up versus West on Friday. They will then focus their efforts on February 20, as the Cougars look to win their first City League Championship since 2018 when they play Africentric.  

Amani Lyles (6’7 PF / Beechcroft / 2022): Fresh off a game-winning three pointer on Monday versus Linden, Lyles carried that momentum into a dominating 18-point and nine-rebound performance Wednesday night.   While it took a little bit for him to get going offensively, once Lyles got into a rhythm, he was almost impossible to contain. The six-foot-seven forward has an impressive, strong build.  On Wednesday, he finished three thunderous dunks and nearly made the gym shake on each one. He has an impressive vertical and is almost always above the rim when he grabs a rebound.  Lyles also leads with his willingness to dive on the floor and fight for loose balls, something he did multiple times Wednesday.   Although he has the ability to stretch the floor, Lyles still does his best work when he uses his size advantage in the post.  If Beechcroft can continue to flow the offense through him down low, the Cougars could very well repeat as Division II District Champions.

JJ Simmons (5’11 PG / Beechcroft / 2022): The two-year starter showed off best of both worlds, offensively.  In the first half, Simmons was an excellent distributor, as he created three beautiful assists and did a particularly good job of finding Lyles where only he could grab the ball.  In the second half, Simmons took scoring initiative, as he led the final two periods with 16 of his 20 points.  The junior is confident and not afraid to pull up for a contested three, as he made one and drew fouls on two others.   We also liked how Simmons ran out in transition and took advantage of the defense for easy lay-ins.  As Simmons continues to gain chemistry with his talented forward teammates, he adds a valuable additional source of offense that should only improve.

Antwoin Reed Jr (6’4 PF / Beechcroft / 2022): Reed Jr. is a giant ball of energy that's simply fun to watch. But don’t let his enthusiasm allow you to overlook his skill and nice feel around the basket.   Reed Jr. had a monstrous second-half with 15 points and did so via hard work off the glass and effective post moves.  Yet, it’s the vocal on-court leadership we enjoy the most about him.  An intense player, Reed Jr. leads by example whether it’s from a taken charge or a hard-fought rebound.    Another solid player in the 2022 class for Beechcroft,  Reed Jr. is the type of X-factor that helps teams advance in March.

Robert Dorsey III (5’10 PG / Northland / 2022): The junior guard was the most consistent source of offense for the Vikings on Wednesday.  As the only Northland player to hit double-digits in scoring with 15 points, Dorsey showed off his ability to connect from deep, as he made four three-pointers.   While he still needs to improve his overall shot consistency, Dorsey showed he is capable of making difficult shots from long range.  Although a bit undersized, Dorsey has long arms and uses them to his advantage on the defensive end, particularly with poked steals from behind and preventing guards from penetration.  Dorsey is an excellent athlete and will be a rising prospect to keep an eye on as he continues to improve his shot and also becomes a more thorough offensive distributor.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Not even three weeks into the abbreviated Columbus City League season, stakes were already high as Beechcroft visited Northland in a pivotal North division contest.   

After Beechcroft faced a four-point deficit to start the second half, the Cougars outscored the Vikings by 19 points and secured a 65-50 victory, earning them a spot in the City League Championship.

The Cougars got in front early led with two quick baskets from junior Amani Lyles, while fellow junior JJ Simmons connected with three first-quarter assists.   

Beechcroft led 14-7 after the first quarter, but hit a wall offensively and only scored four points in the second. Northland then found scoring production off the bench from junior DeAngelo Mitchell.

Mitchell put back two offensive boards, nailed a three and also limited Lyles to his only scoreless period of the game. The six-foot-three forward made an instant noticeable impact with nine points and four rebounds in just several minutes of play.     Mitchell’s contribution pushed the Vikings to a 22-18 halftime lead.

While Northland did a good job of limiting Beechcroft in the first half, the Cougars got out of their cage in the second, led by an offensive spark from the junior trio of Lyles, Simmons and and forward Antwoin Reed Jr.

Northland initially kept the score close with a big help from senior Stephen Reavish who had all of his nine points in the third period.

Yet halfway through the quarter, Simmons took over for the Cougars.  En route to 11-straight points, Simmons forced Northland into two fouls while shooting beyond the arc. Simmons made all six of his free throws and also connected on a triple and a lay-up.  His aggressive play gave him 20 points to lead all scorers. 

The Vikings started to lose control of their defensive hold on Lyles, as the six-foot-seven forward began to have his way off the dribble, finished emphatic dunks and was nearly unstoppable in the post as he scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half. 

Beechcroft also got an inspired offensive performance from Reed Jr, who scored all of his 15 points in the second half, including ten in the fourth. 

Northland’s Robert Dorsey III made two fourth-quarter triples that kept the score from getting out of hand, but ultimately Beechcroft’s power trio of Lyles, Simmons and Reed Jr, along with solid defensive efforts and four assists from junior Javo Jordan, simply overwhelmed a Northland team that fought hard for three quarters, but had trouble to keep with Beechcroft’s talent and physicality. 

The Vikings got strong efforts from senior Makhale Massey, who was active defensively and grabbed a team-high six rebounds and finished with six points. Senior Shemar Watson scored seven points and had two steals, while junior Tabree Beacham added four points and led Northland with four assists. 

With currently no games remaining on their regular season schedule, Northland finishes their brief season at 6-2 and runner-up in the North division. With the #18 seed in the Division I District tournament, they’ll play the winner of Lancaster and Canal Winchester in the sectional finals on February 26.

Beechcroft (7-0) has a final tune-up versus West on Friday. They will then focus their efforts on February 20th, as the Cougars look to win their first City League Championship since 2018 when they play Africentric.  

Amani Lyles (6’7 PF / Beechcroft / 2022): Fresh off a game-winning three pointer on Monday versus Linden, Lyles carried that momentum into a dominating 18-point and nine-rebound performance Wednesday night.   While it took a little bit for him to get going offensively, once Lyles got into a rhythm, he was almost impossible to contain. The six-foot-seven forward has an impressive, strong build.  On Wednesday, he finished three thunderous dunks and nearly made the gym shake on each one. He has an impressive vertical and is almost always above the rim when he grabs a rebound.  Lyles also leads with his willingness to dive on the floor and fight for loose balls, something he did multiple times Wednesday.   Although he has the ability to stretch the floor, Lyles still does his best work when he uses his size advantage in the post.  If Beechcroft can continue to flow the offense through him down low, the Cougars could very well repeat as Division II District Champions.

JJ Simmons (5’11 PG / Beechcroft / 2022): The two-year starter showed off best of both worlds, offensively.  In the first half, Simmons was an excellent distributor, as he created three beautiful assists and did a particularly good job of finding Lyles where only he could grab the ball.  In the second half, Simmons took scoring initiative, as he led the final two periods with 16 of his 20 points.  The junior is confident and not afraid to pull up for a contested three, as he made one and drew fouls on two others.   We also liked how Simmons ran out in transition and took advantage of the defense for easy lay-ins.  As Simmons continues to gain chemistry with his talented forward teammates, he adds a valuable additional source of offense that should only improve.

Antwoin Reed Jr (6’4 PF / Beechcroft / 2022): Reed Jr. is a giant ball of energy that's simply fun to watch. But don’t let his enthusiasm allow you to overlook his skill and nice feel around the basket.   Reed Jr. had a monstrous second-half with 15 points and did so via hard work off the glass and effective post moves.  Yet, it’s the vocal on-court leadership we enjoy the most about him.  An intense player, Reed Jr. leads by example whether it’s from a taken charge or a hard-fought rebound.    Another solid player in the 2022 class for Beechcroft,  Reed Jr. is the type of X-factor that helps teams advance in March.

Robert Dorsey III (5’10 PG / Northland / 2022): The junior guard was the most consistent source of offense for the Vikings on Wednesday.  As the only Northland player to hit double-digits in scoring with 15 points, Dorsey showed off his ability to connect from deep, as he made four three-pointers.   While he still needs to improve his overall shot consistency, Dorsey showed he is capable of making difficult shots from long range.  Although a bit undersized, Dorsey has long arms and uses them to his advantage on the defensive end, particularly with poked steals from behind and preventing guards from penetration.  Dorsey is an excellent athlete and will be a rising prospect to keep an eye on as he continues to improve his shot and also becomes a more thorough offensive distributor.

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