A lot of fans have said this one was of the worst Cumberland Falls Tournaments in its 23-year existence, I disagree.
Sure the crowds were not large like some of the past tournaments because most of the teams were pretty far from Corbin and three were from out of state and with the construction at the school that kept a lot of local fans away from the tournament.
A lot of the fans say we need more local teams. That’s true, but you are not going to get those teams every year. Coaches and players like to play in different tournaments from time to time. Some like to go out-of-state for the bonding.
I saw more games in this year’s tournament than in the past and I really enjoyed it. I had never seen University Heights, Franklin County or Todd County Central. I knew Franklin County was going to be a very good team because of some of the teams they had beaten. I heard Vance Hall was a very good player. He lived up to his potential.
I was a little disappointed in UHA, but they brought a pretty young team to the tournament. And, Todd Central, well they didn’t measure up to the Cumberland Falls, but was an interesting team to watch.
I had seen Byrnes, South Carolina, a couple of years ago and thought they would be better. They came in 0-5 and left 0-8.
I didn’t know much about Notre Dame Academy or Pontotoc, Mississippi. I did a little research on both teams and found that the Warriors were suppose to be one of the top teams in Mississippi. Maybe in their class, but I didn’t see anything real strong from the Warriors.
I was more impressed with Notre Dame than anyone. The Irish had one of the youngest teams in the tournament. I wasn’t too happy they came from behind to beat Williamsburg, but give them credit; they have a lot of hustle.
I read in a Chattanooga newspaper were D.J. Bowles had some big games prior to the tournament. The freshman has talent no doubt and fired in 34 points to help his team beat Williamsburg, but the player who caught my eye was Nick Ellis, No. 24. The junior was all over the floor. He was one of the smallest players on the court yet he led his team in rebounding. That’s the type of player I like to watch.
That’s why Isaac Wilson earned the Zeke Perkins Award for the Redhounds. He is always going at 110 percent. The kid never quits.
Here are some of my awards from the tournament:
MVP- Madison Johnson, Corbin. Someone told me it was Franklin County’s goal to shut down the Redhounds’ senior. They did it for a half, but he exploded in the second half on the Flyers in helping to lead Corbin to the title.
Man in the Middle: Aaron Mann’s, Corbin. Aaron is really coming on and hard to stop when he gets the ball in the paint.
110 Percent: Nick Ellis, Notre Dame. This kid plays much bigger on the court than he stands in real life. He is the complete player, steals the ball, hands out assists, scores and leads his team in rebounds.
Mr. Hustle: Isaac Wilson, Corbin. Isaac has that never stop mentality. He had a great tournament defensively.
My all-tournament team would have gone something like this: Johnson, Manns and Wilson from Corbin, Vance Hall and Eric Meyer, Franklin County, Andrew Bell and Griffin McCormick of Pontotoc, Jalen Ladd, University Heights, Nick Ellis and D.J. Bowles of Notre Dame.