PLAIN CITY, Ohio -- In a big time matchup in the Central Buckeye Conference on Friday night, Jonathan Alder (8-3) locked down London (10-2) on their way to a statement win, taking down the Red Raiders 58-40.
The game started off fairly even, as a competitive first quarter found the Pioneers leading 12-8 after one. It looked as if Alder had no matchup for Jainaz Cameron in the first, but this changed drastically in the second frame.
Alder turned it up in the second quarter, outscoring London 15-2 in the frame. A huge three-pointer from sophomore guard Jackson Izzard helped the Pioneers take a sizeable 27-10 lead into halftime.
London played their best basketball after the break though, and a pair steals from senior Jake Andrich gave the Red Raiders some easy points that they had been looking for all night. They cut the lead to as little as 10 points midway through the quarter, but the Pioneers responded immediately.
Ending the third quarter on a 7-1 run, Alder took a 16 point lead into the final quarter, proving to be too much of a deficit for London to catch. An emphatic dunk from junior Henry Walker shortly after the quarter started helped increase the Pioneers lead to 21, all but wrapping this game up.
London received their toughest test yet tonight, and the growing pains that come with being a young team were evident. Failing to find many open looks in the half-court, the Red Raiders simply could not get open against the stifling Alder defense. However, London only has one senior on their roster and the Red Raiders are sure to be a force in the CBC for the next several years.
They were led by sophomore Trey Woodyard with 16 points. Cameron tallied a double-double for the Red Raiders, finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Andrich also added eight points for London, who will be back in action next Tuesday against North Union.
Walker led the way for Alder with 16 points. Junior guard Jackie Santa-Emma had a great all-around night, finishing with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Lone senior Jake Koenig also scored 12 points, and Izzard chipped in with nine. Alder will be off until next Tuesday when they take on Graham.
Jackie Santa-Emma (5’11 PG / Jonathan Alder / 2020): Santa-Emma displayed virtually every trait that you want out of your starting point guard on Friday night. Finishing with 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals, Jackie filled up the stat sheet for the Pioneers. An extremely talented ball handler, he handled every pressure defense that London threw at him tonight like a veteran. Patience was the key for Jackie, as he did not panic and try to force things when a trap came his way. Playing within the system, he led his team all night, rather it was by scoring, setting up teammates, or simply breaking the Red Raiders lengthy pressure defenses. Santa-Emma was guarded by Trey Woodyard for most of the night, and you would think that this length could give the young guard problems. Try again. No matter if the defense was disguised, playing straight up or throwing frantic traps at the guard, he never lost composure. He is also a good perimeter defender, and does a get job getting involved on the glass. He did not show it tonight, but we have seen in previous viewings that Jackie can also knock down the outside shot with confidence. One of the more underrated guards in his class, look for the juniors stock to continue to grow this season.
Henry Walker (6’6 PF/C / Jonathan Alder / 2020): Walker continued his breakout season tonight by finishing with a team-high 16 points to go along with five rebounds. The junior has a very long frame standing at 6-foot-6 and uses it to his advantage on both ends of the floor. On offense, he was being defended by Jainaz Cameron for most of the night, which is not an easy matchup for anyone in the CBC. Walker held his own though, as he scored several of his points in the post off of soft touch lay-ins that he created with his above average post moves. When in and around the basket, the junior shows great patience and basketball IQ, using shot fakes and combo moves to create easy finishes. On defense, Walker is used as both a paint presence and a disruptive on-ball defender. Picking up Woodyard at half court for most of the night, Walker gave him a tough time by not allowing himself to lose contain at any point. His rebound stat suffered tonight due to the fact that Woodyard played on the perimeter for most of the night, but we have seen the junior put up dominant showings on the glass several times this season. Walker also showed off his athleticism in the fourth quarter by throwing down a two-handed slam to wrap the game up. As he improves his skills as a wing, Walker could become a target for division II schools over the next year and a half.
Jainaz Cameron (6’7 F / London / 2021): In our first viewing of Cameron since he transferred in from Lima Senior prior to this season, we were impressed by the physical tools that the sophomore presents when we first saw him in warmups. Jainaz finished with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, and he also blocked four shots. He is an imposing inside force that makes his impact felt on both ends. On defense, it seemed like every shot that Alder attempted around Cameron was either blocked or altered significantly by his length. On offense, the sophomore shows a lot of potential that could turn into something special over the next few seasons. He is still very raw and could use some work on his ball handling and lateral quickness, but Cameron has his way inside whenever he wants to. He does a great job of using his large frame to get to the rim, but can also get overly aggressive at times. Overall, Cameron has the physical tools to develop into a force over the next several years, but only time will tell if that happens or not. We are very fortunate to have Jainaz in the central district this season and for years to come.
Trey Woodyard (6’6 / London / 2021): Though tonight was not the best display of what he can do, Woodyard flashed several traits that caught our eye. Just like the rest of London’s roster, Woodyard struggled to find open looks tonight, but still finished with a game-high 16 points. He did not score most of his points until late in the fourth quarter, but knocked down two three-pointers in the frame, a clear representation of his smooth perimeter stroke. Though he stands at 6-foot-6, Woodyard is the ball handler for the Red Raiders, and shows an exceptional handle for a player of his size. He also can be disruptive on defense by using his length to his advantage, as he typically guards the other team’s main ball handler. Woodyard also showed off several good combo moves and strength inside, displaying a good trait of finishing through contact. The sophomore is a key piece for London, and should put up great numbers in the CBC over the next two and a half seasons.