December 5, 2019
Deposit/Hancock 49, Walton 32
In a rare championship-first setup at the Walton tournament - Deposit/Hancock had to take the early time slot due to a winter concert - it didn't take long for the visitors to make their presence felt. The Eagles jumped out to an early lead, pushed it 20 before halftime, and were able to maintain a double-digit lead to the finish en route to a 3rd straight Walton tournament championship.
From the start, Laycee Drake (Deposit/Hancock 2021) was in attack mode. The standout guard had 7 early points & dished out a couple assists in the opening minutes, helping them jump to a 15-6 lead after 1, with all of Walton's points coming from a pair of Makara MacGibbon (Walton 2023) treys. Once Ariel Kellam (Deposit/Hancock 2020) scored to start the 2nd quarter, the margin remained in double digits for the rest of the game. A McKenzie Mead basket pushed their lead to twenty at 28-8, and they held a 30-11 lead going into the locker room.
|Laycee Drake made it happen for Deposit/Hancock - the standout 2021 went for 19 pts, 15 rebs, 6 asts, & 3 stls in a victory.|
Laycee Drake finished with a game high 19 points, and she added 15 rebounds, 6 assists, & 3 steals in a strong all-around showing. Ariel Kellam added 11 in the Eagles' victory. For Walton, Makara MacGibbon led the way with 16 points.
|Makara MacGibbon (Walton 2023) had a nice showing in defeat, leading the way with 16 points.|
Downsville 44, Worcester 37
Those who stuck around for the consolation game, which was pushed to the nightcap, were treated to a pretty entertaining game. A back-and-forth start went Downsville's way out of the locker room after a strong 3rd quarter, and they were able to make enough plays late to hold off a Worcester charge to walk away with a win.
The Brunner & Young show started from the jump for Downsville. Kailee Young (Downsville 2020) and Olivia Brunner (Downsville 2021) were a dynamic one-two punch throughout the game, and it started as they combined for a 9-0 run in the opening minutes. Worcester responded with a 10-2 run of their own, as Delimar Vega-Haley (Worcester 2021) & Miriam Odell (Worcester 2021) joined forces themselves to score all ten in the spurt. Brunner & Young went back at it from there, with Brunner scoring twice & Young adding a bucket in a 6-0 spurt to give Downsville the lead again early in the 2nd quarter. It remained close through the 1st half, with a pair of Sophia Adams (Worcester 2023) layups cutting Worcester's deficit to 21-20 at the break.
|Kailee Young had a strong start for Downsville and finished with 13 points in their consolation game victory.|
Olivia Brunner had a big game for Downsville, going off for a game high 24 points, with 11 coming in a 3rd quarter that Downsville won 16-8 to create separation. Kailee Young added 13 in the win while dealing with foul trouble much of the way. For Worcester, Delimar Vega-Haley had a strong showing, especially in the 2nd half, where she scored 12 of her team high 18 points.
|Delimar Vega-Haley helped lead the Worcester 4th quarter push, scoring 12 of the team's 17 pts after halftime. She had a team high 18.|
- Put a potential D1 kid in a small-school game, and you get what Laycee Drake did not just on Thursday, but in many of D/H's games. It's not often that you see a 5'6" guard making the sort of all-around impact that she makes. From scoring from the perimeter to finishing over the top in the post, then using 'true PG' abilities to handle against pressure and create for others while also being the most dominant force on the glass. The athletic feats speak for themselves - she's already well-known as a walking highlight reel with nearly unmatched bounce in the region - but I'm impressed with her mindset at this stage. You never know how it'll go when someone becomes a standout at their school and in their league & area at a young age. The first time I saw Laycee - against Walton in 8th grade, to be exact - they went box & 1 on her after she had a big 1st quarter. The word was already out by then. Sometimes, those kids turn into 35 shot per game kids that look to score & let other factors of their game lag. This hasn't been the case for Laycee, who really looks to get her teammates involved at all times. If anything, her unselfishness may make you wish she looked to create for herself a little more at times. Not a bad problem to have if you're a D/H coach or supporter. I was able to hear a Walton fan (parent, grandparent, relative, something) yell 'shut her down' early in the game. To that, I say this: easier said than done.
|Jacqlyn Gransbury, another 2023 in Walton's backcourt, will be a key piece for them over the next few years.|
- I've been familiar with Kailee Young for a while now, but not as much with Olivia Brunner besides what I've been told (thanks, Nate!). As usual, I can say that he wasn't wrong. I left pretty impressed with what I saw from Brunner in this game, as she showed some things that translate well to higher levels of play. She probably is best at the 4 if playing at a higher level, but at 5'10", she certainly showed more than enough guard skill to make an impact however she wanted in this setting. She looked most comfortable in the post or attacking the rim from the perimeter, and she had the strength & athleticism to finish through people and enough quickness & handle to get to her spots. However, she also showed the ability to hit the midrange J off the dribble, which she did on a couple occasions including one off a ball screen. Olivia also played with a noticeable tenacity & toughness, and she made an impact at both ends on the glass and also on the defensive end. Definitely one of those small school under-the-radar kids that could potentially find a home and make an impact at the D3 level in a couple years.
|Olivia Brunner (2021) had a big game for Downsville, scoring 24 points, and showed translatable skills that make her someone to watch going forward.|