COLUMBUS, OH - - Week three of the Central Ohio Middle School Fall League, presented by Nova Village was off and running this past Sunday afternoon at Ohio Dominican University, with some of the most talented young men in the area coming together to compete and get better before the basketball season starts soon. More young men put their skill on display as they continued to develop and enhance the chemistry they have with their teams as the playoffs approach next Sunday. Check out what players stood out on Sunday afternoon.
Majadi Cunningham ( 2023 / Westerville South / G): The senior showed that he had good court vision as he threw some sweet passes in transition and the half court, getting the ball up the court so that his teammates could finish with easy layups. Cunningham runs the floor very well with or without the ball, being able to find spots in the defense where he could finish and score for himself. He continued to push the tempo all afternoon and got a couple nice upcourt passes off rebounds that he skyed for, showing his quick leaping ability. With long arms for a guard, Cunningham was able to create turnovers for his team too, getting his hands on the basketball and his team on fast breaks. He sliced through defense on the way to the rim for a nice layup, and showed that could create for others as well. Cunningham was effective and efficient all afternoon.
Jayden Griffith ( 2023 / Licking Heights / G): A physical young man with a good build and the ability to make plays for himself and others. He was tough on defense, consistently getting up into ball handlers and making things tough for them. The senior forced offensive players to shoot over the top of him and contested everything that went up around him. Griffith made some defensive plays inside the paint as well, stripping the ball from a player and getting his team on the run for a bucket. He also got teammates involved constantly, moving the ball to help his teammates get open shots. Griffith did not score at a high rate, but his defensive tenacity and playmaking helped him standout.
Slater Search ( 2024 / Circleville / F): The big man cut to basket off screens and set solid screens for his guards, helping them and himself get easy scores. He was excellent at spacing the floor because he’s a threat from outside and the defense knew that because they made sure he did not have open shots from deep. His long arms and quick hands allowed him to be a menace on the defensive end and get into the chest of ball handlers. Search hustled and got a loose ball when it was evident the other team had control of it. soft touch around rim, recovers good on defense, rebounded on both ends,
Jase Becker ( 2024 / Granville / G): This young man had an unstoppable motor, doing a little bit of everything for his team. Becker did not stop moving on either end, disrupting things on the defensive end with his toughness and willingness to pressure the ball. He had good handles and showed that he can operate an offense, with the ability to get to the rim and make plays for him and his teammates. The junior made sound, smart choices and did not put the ball in harm's way with unnecessary passes. His nose for the basketball led him to being in position to get rebounds to lead the break himself, where he got the ball up the court quickly. The effort that Becker gives is impressive, and with his tenacity on the court, he gives his team a chance to have an impressive playoff run.
Kraig Gilbert ( 2024 / Grove City / F): Gilbert has good size and moves well side to side on the defensive end while being a threat in the post on offense. He contested shots in the paint and could guard perimeter, making things difficult for drivers of the basketball. The junior altered shots in his area and was inches away from sending shots onto the next court. Gilbert was a good passer out of the post, knowing where the help defense was coming from and swinging it to the open man. With his efficient play on the inside, his ability to put the ball on the floor and get it to the basket from the mid range was impressive as well, never over-dribbling and consistently making the correct play.
Charlie Heywood ( 2023 / Columbus Academy / F): One of the best players on the defensive end of the basketball court all afternoon. Heywood was a versatile defender who made people work for shots, and oftentimes he made them pass the ball to alleviate the pressure he guarded with. The experienced big guarded guard or wings on perimeter and big men inside, causing issues with his length and the power that he played with. He had a non-stop motor, getting up and down the court in both games he played, making unselfish plays and talking on defense. Heywood also played smart, not forcing anything on defense and spreading the ball around on offense. His defensive toughness and high IQ play on both ends makes his team just as dangerous as any headed into the playoffs.
Braxton Baker ( 2023 / Colonel Crawford / F): Not only did the big man prove that he has a strap, he also showed that he has onions! Taking and making a huge three-pointer that sent the game into overtime, a game in which his team would win. The long and athletic senior was huge in both games for his team, with his ability to space the floor and still be a threat to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He was also a solid screen setter and rolled to the basket with some slick feet and aggressive intention when he got the ball. Baker’s toughness in the paint on defense was a key for his team as well, contesting shots at the rim and making drivers think twice about shooting the ball over the top of him. The senior played like one all afternoon, and looks to carry his momentum into the season.
Noah Gamble ( 2024 / Olentangy Berlin / G): Gamble was one of the most effective players in the building on Sunday, playing with energy and efficiency. He was fast in transition, outpacing the competition in the open court and finishing at the rim multiple times. The junior also had a nice entry pass for a bucket in transition. Gamble did some work in the midrange, clearing out and knocking down mid range jumpers. The lefty drained some triples too, being a dependable three level scorer in his games. Gamble’s play on Sunday set his team up to have a deep playoff run next week.
Jason Moore ( 2023 / Marysville / F): A big bodied young man that can get up and down the court in a hurry and finish at the rim as well. He defended at a high level and was able to create turnovers to get his team in transition. The senior controlled paint on defense, with savvy and knowledge of where the offense wanted to go with the ball. He contested shots in both of his games and made sure that his team was able to get out on the run. Moore was also effective on the offensive side of the ball, setting really strong screens and rolled to the basket where he was able to finish through contact. Moore’s strength on both ends will help his team continue to win next week once the playoffs begin.
Tyson Perkins ( 2026 / Westerville North / G): Smallest guy on the court but he plays much bigger and competes hard. Perkins came up with a big block in transition, getting off the ground to swat a shot into a young man’s face off a transition layup. The freshman is a blur with the ball in his hands, using his electric handle to free himself of ball pressure and get to his spots. He rebounded for a small guard, finding areas to snag the ball off the rim and tracking down long boards. Used his quick hands and got another steal in the paint off what would’ve been a transition layup for the opponents. Perkins will be an impact player immediately.
Carson Murphy ( 2025 / Granville / G): Murphy is a big guard with a smooth handle that used it to get to his spots where he was able to knock down shots from all over the court. The sophomore finished at the rim a bunch with a soft touch and some nice looking layups. Murphy bounced smaller players off him on the way to the rim, using his size to avoid ball pressure and create separation. He didn’t get sped up, and played at his own pace, getting downhill in a hurry and applying pressure to the defense with his handle. Carson showed off good range as he scored from the perimeter a couple times and drained some mid-range shots when the defense closed out on him too hard.