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Hilliard Bradley 44, Olentangy Orange 33 - Prospect Scouting Report

By Zach Fleer, 01/06/22, 10:00PM EST


Cade Norris had a dominant all-around game to power Hilliard Bradley to a big win

LEWIS CENTER, Ohio -- It's crazy how much difference a year can make. 365 days ago, Hilliard Bradley was celebrating its record 59th-straight OCC league win. On Thursday, the Jags were looking to overcome an 0-3 start in league play against an Olentangy Orange team in the same situation.

With both teams hungry for a win, no player in Thursday's game was hungrier than Hilliard Bradley sophomore Cade Norris, who powered the Jags (7-3, 1-3) with 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in a 44-33 victory over the Pioneers (4-4, 0-4). 

While the start to Hilliard Bradley's season has been anything but ordinary, the Jags had a feel-good vintage type showing on Thursday. Led by their stout defense, Hilliard Bradley overcame a slow start and early deficit.

Olentangy Orange looked poised to run up the score in the opening period, using an 8-0 run to take a 12-5 lead with 2:45 to go in the first quarter. In a cruel twist of irony, the Pioneers scored just eight more points in the next 18 minutes and 45 seconds. Hilliard Bradley relied on the tough scoring of Norris and excellent team defense to put together a 31-8 run, leading by as much as 36-20 with 3:41 to go in the ballgame. 

The Jags turned up the pressure in the second quarter, holding Olentangy Orange without a field goal until the 1:43 mark of the period, going more than nine minutes without giving up a point.

The Pioneers were colder than Siberia in the dead of winter on Thursday, making just one three-point field goal on more than two dozen attempts. Hilliard Bradley's pack line defense and namely the excellent play of senior Tayshaun Mayfield completely stifled the Olentangy Orange offense. The Pioneers looked completely uncomfortable and unable to get into a rhythm, as the Jags clamped down on Olentangy Orange's top two shooters.

The absence in productivity from Olentangy Orange junior Mike McCollum, who exploded for 26 points in the Pioneers' last game, a win over Linden-McKinley, was huge. McCollum, who knocked down five triples in that win, could not seem to get it going on Thursday. The junior guard knocked down Orange's only three of the night, a desperation triple with 44 seconds remaining in the game. All nine of McCollum's points came in the second half, as Norris and Hilliard Bradley did an excellent job making things uncomfortable for him.

Junior guard Elias Lewis led the Pioneers with 12 points, making an impact mostly off the dribble. Lewis struggled from the perimeter as well, having two three-point attempts go nearly all the way through the hoop before bouncing out. 

Olentangy Orange did not have another player contribute more than four points, as the floor seemed to be air tight with Hilliard Bradley's pack line scheme and the Pioneers' inability to make threes. Senior wing Eddie Brown had a good game on the glass, pulling down a team-high nine rebounds. 

The Pioneers will look to bounce back on Saturday at The Challenge at Africentric when they take on Northland at 1 p.m..

For Hilliard Bradley, Norris was an absolute star, going for a game-high in points, rebounds and assists. The 6-foot-4 sophomore has the most advanced feel for the game of any player in his class, as he completely dominated both ends of the floor. His two major three-point plays in the second quarter seemed to give life to the Jags, as Hilliard Bradley took its first lead at 15-12 with 2:13 to go in the half and never trailed again.

Mayfield added 11 points, five rebounds, four steals and a block. The 6-foot-1 senior is a defensive Swiss Army knife, as he can guard any spot on the floor and is a disruption in the passing lanes and in traffic with his smooth hands and long wingspan. Mayfield's defensive impact and ability to lock down the glass paid dividends for Hilliard Bradley.

Sophomore sharp shooter Jeb Bischoff added eight points, knocking down two triples and reeling in six rebounds. Bischoff is another young player that is mature beyond his years for Hilliard Bradley, as he and Norris took lumps as freshmen on a team that won its second-straight district title.

The Jags will hit the floor again on Saturday at The Challenge at Africentric when they take on Beechcroft at 6:15 p.m.

Something will have to give on Saturday, as Hilliard Bradley, who is only giving up 39.6 points per game this season, takes on a star-studded Cougars team averaging an impressive 87 points per contest. Beechcroft will be one of the most talented teams that the Jags will face all season, as seniors Amani Lyles and JJ Simmons are one of the elite guard-big duos in the area. 

The Challenge has been an event that Hilliard Bradley is far too familiar with, squaring off in highly entertaining matchups with Walnut Ridge in 2019 and 2020. 

Cade Norris (6'4 hybrid guard / Hilliard Bradley / 2024): While he has an old school type of game, Norris represents the future of basketball. The 6-foot-4 sophomore is a do-it-all force that can play any position needed, as he greatly impacts winning and has a feel for the game that is far advanced for most players his age. Norris had one of the most efficient performances that we've ever seen, dominating the game with his scoring, rebounding and passing. While he is Hilliard Bradley's point guard and facilitator, Norris does an excellent job of posting up. Very few teams have a guard matchup like him, as Norris knows how to take advantage of mismatches with his post up game. He can back you down, score through contact, which he did three times on his trio of three-point plays, but has the feel and smarts to sense when the double team is coming and find the open man. That part of his game was most dominant on Thursday, as he imposed his will and did not make a single mistake. I can't overstate how efficient and productive Norris is. In an era where college programs want to win now, you need guys who know how to play basketball at a high level. Norris gives you that and has a pedigree that suggests he will be a quality Division I player. With his oldest brother Braden Norris manning the point guard for one of the elite mid-major teams in the country in Loyola Chicago, Cade Norris, by all accounts of his brothers, is the best of the bunch. That should be enough for Division I programs in the region to put him high on their recruiting lists. This is a player that will dominate Central Ohio basketball for the rest of his career and will undoubtedly lead Hilliard Bradley to more success at the district and regional levels. 

Elias Lewis (6'3 shooting guard / Olentangy Orange / 2023): Lewis was the only source of consistent offense for the Pioneers on Thursday. The 6-foot-3 guard is a playmaker that has a smooth offensive game. He came into high school as an outside shooter with firepower but has greatly added layers to his game as a scorer off the bounce. Lewis gets great elevation on his pull up jumper and has the quickness and wiggle to get to the rim and finish consistently. We really like what he can do as a passer, although we don't see that part of his game as much as we'd like. Lewis is best served in the uptempo game, however, he was productive enough in a slow down matchup against Hilliard Bradley for us to give him some shine from tonight. A strong AAU season last year had Lewis on the radar of regional scholarship programs, as we expect that to continue into his 17u summer. 

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