Judging from the first quarter, this wasn’t going to be much of a game. Good Counsel took control early and led 18-0 after the first quarter. Good Counsel then scored the first basket of the second quarter to go up 20-0 before St. Mary’s Ryken finally got on the board in front of a surprisingly neutral crowd.
The player the Maryland coaches were there to see, John Flowers, picked up two early fouls in that first quarter and had to sit down for a stretch. He then picked up his third foul midway through the second quarter but with the score so lopsided early, St. Mary’s Ryken was forced to keep their best player on the floor.
The move paid off, as St. Mary’s Ryken battled back and were down only 32-20 at the half. Flowers scored only one point in the first half but helped keep his team in it with rebounding and blocking/altering shots inside.
The second half turned into a shockingly good game considering the first quarter score. Flowers asserted himself more in the paint in the third quarter against a small Good Counsel team. In fact, all of his points tonight came from either the paint or the free throw line.
St. Mary’s Ryken actually stormed into the lead in the third quarter and ended it ahead 39-38. The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth afair and Flowers tied the game on a free throw with 44.5 seconds remaining. He then picked up his fourth foul with 9.1 seconds remaining of a tied game and sent Good Counsel to the line for two free throws – both of which were missed.
In overtime, Flowers scored four points, all on free throws before fouling out with 37.8 seconds remaining and a 55-51 lead for St. Mary’s Ryken. His team was able to hold on and win by four points, much to the delight of the busload of fans they brought to the game.
Flowers didn’t show much of his perimeter game, going 0-2 on three point attempts before concentrating more on taking the ball inside. On a couple of occasions, he was able to put the ball on the floor from the top of the key and draw a foul on his defender.
His only highlight reel play of the night was catching and throwing down an alley-oop on a fast break in the second half.
I had Flowers down for 17 points on 5-10 shooting from the field, 12 rebounds, and four blocks to go along with 7-11 free throw shooting.
Flowers clearly has the body and athleticism to excel as a small forward in college but he will need to continue to work on his perimeter game and especially his outside shot. In warm-ups, he gets off the floor and above the rim with ease. The athleticism is there. It will be interesting to see how his game fills out over the next couple months.