It had been a minute since I went to a high school basketball game and my 5-year-old granddaughter LOVES cheerleaders, so my wife and I and Queen Layla did Valentine’s Day at Tremper. The tough thing about hoops is, it is the only one of the Big 3 sports that you cross over semesters. Football, the season is over before finals in the fall/winter and in baseball, the season is over before finals in the spring. In basketball, you got finals smack dab in the middle of the season and sometimes that, coupled with injuries, can put you a little light on bodies. It certainly appeared that Tremper had some mid-season blues with I think 5 or 6 kids in street clothes. But the kids they had played pretty well.
I’m generally not a fan of watching two teams play high school zone defense but I certainly understood why the Trojans played zone all night…they had like 8 guys active. They could afford zero foul trouble. And they have Jake Gross…pretty much a high school coach’s dream come true. 6’4”, rebounder, cold-ass shooter, rarely touches the rim, takes very few poor shots, great passer (sometimes too great) and obviously never left the floor. And the 9 points the Trojans won by wasn’t really indicative of the flow of the game; it was all Tremper. They were running low on energy by game’s end but the outcome was never in doubt from the time the game was 11-2.
Props to a few other Trojans that stood out. Point Guard Blake Hoffman played really well. Kid looks nothing like a point guard and maybe he isn’t, but he sure handled the ball a lot on Friday and made a lot of good decisions. A led-the-team-in-floor-burns type kid, he and big man Torin Barnes along with Gross and the rest of the Trojans kept that game under control and they cruised to a W. I don’t know who scored what, Gross had to be like 22 and 14 easy and the final was maybe 63-54….but all Trojans. Horlick has a sophomore, kid named Darrien Long, if he can refine some skills he can be special. You don’t see many dunks in traffic and he had a big one and almost a second that still went in.
The takeaway from the evening was that Tremper has some real solid basketball players and if they can change some of those street clothes into basketball jerseys they might get even better. I can’t say where they are in the city hierarchy because I haven’t seen anyone else yet. I hope to get to a quite a few games here as the season ramps up towards the playoffs and will try and mx it up for the 7 of you that are interested in hearing my take on some local hoops. It was good to see friends like Danny Love and Tommy Wat and Kenosha’s version of the Allemand Brothers. And the true takeaway from the evening is that Queen Layla seems far more likely to be cheering than she does ballin’ when her time comes.