Find My Team >>

Log in to High School OT with one click using your favorite social network:
OR
Log in using your High School OT account:



Wrong email/password combination.

Forgot password?

Register with High School OT using your favorite social network:
OR
Register for a High School OT account using our web form.
Log In
Register

Zach Mayo

Wheeler a team to watch for in HSOT Invite's second day

Published: 2013-12-27 01:31:00
Updated: 2013-12-27 09:24:12


Dec 27, 2013

Wheeling Wildcats v Garner Trojans - December 26, 2013

Jaylen Brown (24) looking towards the hoop. Wheeling Wildcats from Georgia beat North Carolina's Garner Trojans 86 to 60 on the first day of the HSOT holiday invitational tournament. (Photo by: Suzie Wolf/WRAL contributor)

As expected, Thursday's opening round of the HighSchoolOT.com Holiday Invitational showcased a talented tournament field packed with big-name teams, highly-scouted recruits and remarkable athleticism. In their first game of the event, the Marietta, GA Wheeler Wildcats embodied all three of these characteristics. 

The Wildcats traveled north for the holiday and pounded the Garner Trojans in their round-one game, picking up an 86-60 win over one of the best teams in the local Greater Neuse River 4-A Conference. 

Slideshow     Wheeling Wildcats v Garner Trojans - December 26, 2013 Boys basketball: Wheeler 86, Garner 60

As many out-of-state teams did Thursday, Wheeler started off slow against the Trojans. Shots were not falling for the Wildcats and they were unable to penetrate to the basket and use their big bodies to score down low. Garner led by three after the first quarter.

The remaining three periods went very differently for both parties involved. Wheeler quickly turned the game into an opportunity to add to its highlight dunk reel and Garner was simply unable to match the team athlete-for-athlete. The Wildcats broke the game open and it was very much over before the final buzzer sounded.

Are the Trojans a top-3 team in this year's tournament field? No, but they are consistently a power in the Triangle area and are known for their athleticism, which makes Wheeler's dominating win all the more impressive.

When looking at what exactly the Wildcats are bringing to the table when they take the court, I believe the team has as good a chance as any to be playing for all the marbles in the Shavlik Randolph bracket on Saturday night.

First, the team has a clear identity. These Wildcats are big and much more physical than most of their counterparts in the tournament's field. They aren't going to out-shoot anybody from deep--they attempted just eight three-pointers in the game--but they will put bodies in the paint, score efficiently inside and pull down boards. The team out-rebounded Garner, 29-17.

Second, the team has multiple--and very intimidating--scoring threats. Six-foot-seven senior forward Elijah Staley had more big dunks than I could count in the rout of Garner, and there are only a handful of big men left in the tournament I could imagine containing him. His 213-pound frame helps him fight for rebounds and move to the rim with authority.

Also Wheeler's starting quarterback, Staley had basketball scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnatti, Georgetown and Miami, but turned them down to play football at Mississippi State. He's a four-star football recruit and a three-star basketball recruit, so that should tell you a bit about the type of athlete this guy is.

And then there's Jaylen Brown. The 6-foot-6 forward is a five-star recruit and the top player in the state of Georgia's Class of 2015, according to ESPN. Brown had 23 points against Garner. He's also very athletic, also plays above the rim and also knows what he's doing on defense.

Brown has offers from several of the nation's top college basketball programs, including Arizona, Kansas, Louisville and UCLA. North Carolina State has offered Brown as well.

Both Brown and Staley have the ability to score big in any given game, and if one is struggling, the other can carry more weight. Avery Patterson and Maleek Catchings each scored ten points in Thursday's win while Jacobi Green scored nine, so the team has role players who can add to the box score as well.

And don't forget about 6-foot-10 Daniel Giddens, the fourth-ranked player in Georgia's Class of 2015. Giddens sat the first game of the tournament with an injury but plans to be back for the team's remaining games.

As always, coaching plays a role too. Head coach Doug Lipscomb has won more than 500 games in his career, and the Wheeler basketball program has won four state championships since 2002. Lipscomb has coached several players who now make a living in the NBA, including former Wolpack standout J.J. Hickson. Lipscomb knows how to coach and make his players feel comfortable on the big stage.

Wheeler is slated to play Kinston High School in the second round of the Shavlik Randolph bracket. The game is set for Friday afternoon at 4. While Kinston features star talent in Brandon Ingram, the top player in North Carolina's Class of 2015, the team looked beatable in its opening-round overtime win over Broughton. Ingram shot 6-for-11 from the field and was not able to make himself comfortable until the fourth quarter and overtime, where he lifted his team to the win. Just five Kinston players scored in the game.

Wheeler won't count its eggs before they hatch, but should the Wildcats advance past Kinston, they will play the winner of Orlando, FL Lake Highland Prep vs. Apex in the HSOT Invite's final game on Saturday night at 8:30.

After a day of watching 16 basketball teams take the floor in Broughton High School's Holliday Gymnasium, Wheeler is one of the teams I am most excited to see in the second round. From what I have seen, I think they have the firepower and pieces to make a run at the title. If not, they will certainly provide us with more entertainment along the way.

Follow Zach Mayo on Twitter at @ZachMayoHSOT

Back to Zach Mayo
COMMENTS

0 Comments



This blog post is closed for comments.

Blogs
*
More HSOT Today
*
More On The Trail
HighSchoolOT Forums
More HighSchoolOT Forums
  1. ZachMayoHSOT: Really excited for tomorrow night, when we'll release the teams in this year's #HSOTInvite. Join us at 8 p.m. on http://t.co/Pq03UQA2BZ.
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 6:00 PM
  2. HighSchoolOT: Holiday Invitational field to be announced Thursday http://t.co/xwSjkgI9ac
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 5:31 PM
  3. NickStevensHSOT: RT @HighSchoolOT: Are you ready? We're announcing the #HSOTInvite field tomorrow at 8pm on #HSOT! http://t.co/EoYe4Bkx0f
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 5:18 PM
  4. HighSchoolOT: Are you ready? We're announcing the #HSOTInvite field tomorrow at 8pm on #HSOT! http://t.co/EoYe4Bkx0f
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 5:16 PM
  5. HighSchoolOT: Round Table: Big games, upsets, playoff implications http://t.co/x6G38TOMbA
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 4:27 PM
  6. HighSchoolOT: Who has the best student section? We're about to find out. The #StudentSectionShowdown starts soon. Look for details soon on #HSOT.
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 2:53 PM
  7. NickStevensHSOT: RT @HighSchoolOT: The guys talk big games, upsets & playoff implications on this week's #HSOTRoundTable. WATCH >>> http://t.co/w3qmYhVj3H
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 2:46 PM
  8. HighSchoolOT: The guys talk big games, upsets & playoff implications on this week's #HSOTRoundTable. WATCH >>> http://t.co/w3qmYhVj3H
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 2:45 PM
  9. HighSchoolOT: RT @NickStevensHSOT: Want another #HSOTInvite hint? 89 inches… which is 7-foot-5 (I'll save you the math). Field announced 8pm TOMORROW on…
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 1:16 PM
  10. NickStevensHSOT: Want another #HSOTInvite hint? 89 inches… which is 7-foot-5 (I'll save you the math). Field announced 8pm TOMORROW on @HighSchoolOT.
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 1:16 PM
  11. JamesAlverson: RT @dennisglasgow: Big news tmrw at 6a for our @620thebuzz Durham audience. Listen to @WSMSonTheBuzz @mikemaniscalco @markthomas24 @Duke_AT
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 1:04 PM
  12. HighSchoolOT: Teams shuffle spots in HighSchoolOT polls http://t.co/duph6Iai89
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:49 AM
  13. JamesAlverson: RT @999TheFan: . @agoldfan & @JoeOvies want to make you the owner of a pair of @NHLCanes season tickets. Listen today from 3-7pm for your c…
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:32 AM
  14. HighSchoolOT: The wait is almost over! We're announcing the #HSOTInvite field tomorrow night at 8:00 on #HSOT. http://t.co/Tu7V3Af9ZE
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:25 AM
  15. NickStevensHSOT: I'm covering @HSOTBig8 football for #FootballFriday this week! I've got Cedar Ridge @ Northwood and Southern Durham @ Chapel Hill. #HSOT
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:24 AM
  16. ZachMayoHSOT: Fike, 71st crack our Top 15 RT @HighSchoolOT: ALERT: Teams shuffle spots in latest #HSOT football polls http://t.co/dHAq6q7NGb
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:19 AM
  17. HighSchoolOT: ALERT: Teams shuffle spots in latest http://t.co/yxM2pJYrjc football polls http://t.co/t5n3PHlPxX
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 11:09 AM
  18. HighSchoolOT: Check out our new header on #HSOT for the month of October. #PinkOut http://t.co/IrqLwMhwZG
      — Wednesday, October 1, 2014 10:49 AM
  19. Chris__Edwards: What a game! Don't tell me playoff baseball isn't great theater.
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:45 PM
  20. JamesAlverson: RT @SInow: THE PUPPY HAS A CHANCE
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:12 PM
  21. JamesAlverson: Well, not so fast, gonna have to stay up for the end of this thing after all. Didn't see this half inning coming w Lester cruising
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:12 PM
  22. Chris__Edwards: I LOVE BASEBALL.
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:11 PM
  23. NickStevensHSOT: Working on my script for the #HSOTInvite announcement on Thurs. It's going to be another loaded field this year. I can't wait.
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:05 PM
  24. JamesAlverson: No pressure now, Lester on cruise control. That's all I needed to see. We're done here. See ya tomorrow night for NL
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:24 PM
  25. ZachMayoHSOT: I just realized that a Spring 2015 Drake album means baseball playoffs will be FULL of Drizzy walk-up songs. 😂
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:21 PM
  26. HSOTScores: Soccer Final: Eastern Wayne 6, Southern Wayne 2 #HSOTScores
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:54 PM
  27. HSOTScores: Soccer Final: Lee County 9, Western Harnett 0 #HSOTScores
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:53 PM
  28. HSOTScores: Soccer Final: Camden County 5, Riverside - Martin 3 #HSOTScores
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:52 PM
  29. HSOTScores: Soccer Final: C.B. Aycock 4, North Lenoir 0 #HSOTScores
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:52 PM
  30. HSOTScores: VB Final: South Johnston 3, Corinth Holders 0 #HSOTScores
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 9:45 PM
  31. HighSchoolOT: Basketball schedules are beginning to appear on http://t.co/pGWDmkczot. Who's ready? #HoopsHQ
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 8:10 PM
  32. HighSchoolOT: Middle Creek, Richmond move up in AP Poll http://t.co/i8w0BFDAlz
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 6:30 PM
  33. HighSchoolOT: ALERT: Middle Creek, Richmond move up in latest AP Poll http://t.co/upI3Xc0RRE
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 6:00 PM
  34. HighSchoolOT: Many changes in bottom half of Fabulous 15 http://t.co/wMPPwjVNM7
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 1:46 PM
  35. HighSchoolOT: ALERT: Several changes in bottom half of Tom Suiter's Fabulous 15 Poll http://t.co/vTw5r2qc6e
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 12:50 PM
  36. HighSchoolOT: 38 photos from Chapel Hill's 4-2 win over Cardinal Gibbons in boys soccer on Monday: http://t.co/JS5YDeJ9S1 #HSOT http://t.co/HvbwqMtE2z
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 12:17 PM
  37. HighSchoolOT: Are you ready for some basketball? The field for the #HSOTInvite will be announced Thurs 8pm on #HSOT! http://t.co/lXv4TbXlGr
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:45 AM
  38. HighSchoolOT: There was a shooting at Albemarle HS in Stanly County this morning. One person was shot, one person is in custody.
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:37 AM
  39. HighSchoolOT: It's poll day for high school football. What teams do you expect to move up? Down? #HSOT
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:12 AM
  40. HighSchoolOT: @ncrecruitbball @Jhooper_3 @TheReal_HG3 @B_Ingram13 @IceManB_4 @D_Troy12 We believe you will like the #HSOTInvite field...
      — Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:04 AM