University Heights, OH- The Play by Play Classic kicked off for the second time in Ohio during the 22-23 high school basketball season. The event which took place last month in Columbus showcasting the talent from schools such as Sierra Canyon, Pickerington Central and St. Vincent-St. Mary brought on some local powerhouses such as Lutheran West, Richmond Heights and Brecksville-Broadview Heights.
To cap off the event at John Carroll University, the Akron Buchtel Griffs (7-4) took on the Cleveland Heights Tigers (8-3). The Griffs led by senior guard Khori Thurmon came into the contest looking to gain respect from one of the best schools in northeast Ohio.
In the first quarter, Thurman scored 14 of the Griffs 20 points, outscoring the Tigers his lonesome who had 11 total points.
The second quarter, the Tigers found new energy. Senior guard's Rayvelle Duncan and Shemarion Hardy combined for 14 of the Tigers 20 total second quarter points, including three combined three-pointers. Butchel junior guard QiMarrion Marks assisted Thurmon in scoring with eight points to extend the Griff lead to double digits at 41-31.
The Tigers started the second half fast like they did in the second quarter. Hardy attacked the basket for a strong layup, followed by deep three-pointer to cut the lead to single digits. The Griffs would then turn up the intensity on both ends of the floor extending the lead by as much as 14. They would finish the quarter with a 58-46 lead.
Cleveland Heights guard Jaeden Lawson made things interesting in the fourth quarter. The senior started created his own 4-0 run by attacking the paint in back-to-back layups. The Tigers would continue on for an 8-0 run until Buchtel senior guard Amire Robinson stopped the run with a layup of his own. Rayvelle Duncan scored nine points in the quarter including two late game free throws to bring the game within one with about 1:30 left on the game clock.
Buchtel senior guard Marcel Boyce Jr followed with a acrobatic up and under layup to push the lead back up to three for the Griffs. Heights had an opportunity to bring the game back to within 1 as Hardy was foul, but ultimately missed both free throws with the clock under a minute. The Griffs won by the final score of 67-62 stunning some local fans who stayed late to watch the game.
Thurmon finished with a game high 25 points for Buchtel and Duncan finished with 17 points for the Tigers. They both also took home MVP honors for the event.
I talked to Buchtel coach Rayshon Dent after the big win.