Spiece Spotlight Game: Hurricanes vs. Mustangs

The Michigan Hurricanes and Michigan Mustangs squared off Sunday morning at the Spiece Run 'n Slam tourney for the right to advance to the final eight. GoBlueWolverine was courtside for the intense battle, which the Hurricanes pulled out 75-68.

Whenever two of the "Big 3" in-state AAU teams match up, there is always a story behind the game. The familiarity the clubs have with one another and the personal rivalries only serves to add to the intensity. Sunday morning's Spiece tournament match-up between the Hurricanes and Mustangs was no different. On the floor there had to be 10 to 12 players that are in the top 10 in the state of Michigan in each of the next two years. For the Mustangs there was David Kool, K’len Morris, Omar Thomas, Wilbur Ampey, Larry Wright, and Joshua Southern. On the other side, the Hurricanes had Tom Herzog, Tory Jackson, Alex Legion, Kelvin Grady, and Darquavis Tucker.

Tory Jackson guards Larry Wright

The sub-plots to the contest were plentiful. First, there was the fact that Terry Carson (the Hurricanes head coach) and Norm Oden (the Mustangs' headman) use to work together on the Mustangs. Moving down to the players, K'len Morris' Grand Blanc squad beat Tom Herzog's Flint Powers team twice during the high school season. Another worth noting was David Kool's victory over Alex Legion for class B player of the year by one vote. More could be listed, but you get the point. Each team wanted this game pretty badly!

The Hurricanes jumped out to an early 18-15 first quarter lead, as the two teams looked to be feeling each other out. Alex Legion picked up two early fouls but managed to stay on the floor. While out there, he didn't disappoint with his performance. He scored 16 first half points in a variety of ways to help the Hurricanes expand their lead to 11 (39-28) heading into the break.

Alex Legion guards K'len Morris

The Mustangs combo of Omar Thomas (Detroit Country Day) and David Kool had a solid half to keep their team in it. Thomas was effective with his ability to work down low and also step out to hit a few jumpers. Kool continued to show that he is a Division I player. (Let me repeat…David Kool is a Division I player). He was very solid in the first half and it was obvious that he has worked on his handles. Against pressure, he did not look to give the ball up and ran the offense. We know about his ability to score. He can pull-up, hit the trey, go all of the way to the basket…he just gets the job done. For the Mustangs to make it a game in the second half, he was going to have to do all of those things.

The third quarter didn't see the Hurricanes give up much ground, as they continued to control the game. They maintained a double-digit lead (53-43) heading into the final quarter of play, but they would have to hold off a furious Mustangs attack at the end.

David Kool vs Tory Jackson

Lavel Lucas-Perry hit a timely three early in the period for the Mustangs to cut the lead to six. After the Hurricanes built the lead back up, Larry Wright hit a couple of pull-ups in the paint to cut it back down again. Norm Oden's club had a chance to cut the margin to three with just under two-minutes remaining, but Thomas missed a breakaway lay-up. The Hurricanes scored on the other end to complete a five-point swing. They then iced the game from the free throw line to pull out the 75-68 victory.

David Kool, who really stepped up his offense in the fourth quarter, led the Mustangs with 19 points, while Omar Thomas had 18. For the Hurricanes, Alex Legion led all scorers with 25, followed by Tory Jackson with 17, and Dar Tucker with 15.

Parting Shots

  • K’len Morris played the point off and on during the game and it seemed like that slowed him down somewhat. He was really trying to get his teammates involved, but I think he could have done better than the eight points he had for the game if he had been more aggressive.
  • Dar Tucker was his usual energetic self with his rebounds and drives to the rack. He was an absolute monster on the boards and was a major thorn in the Mustangs' side with his activity down low.
  • Tom Herzog did the usual blocking shots and starting the break he played very solid again.
  • Tory Jackson had been under a little fire recently with talk of him being overrated. His focus has been on running the team, getting others involved, and scoring when he had to. He is still kerning to balance when go for his and when to defer his teammates, but he still played very solid basketball. He also played very well defensively.
  • Kelvin Grady is just really playing well. Each game he has gotten better. Kelvin got into the lane, dished to open teammates, pulled up to hit contested jumpers, and nailed open jumpers extending all of the way out to the three point line. He also played belly button to belly button defense. He is really coming along well.
  • I thought the Mustangs could have played a little better but David Kool and Omar Thomas just didn’t have enough help...though I am sure the Hurricanes would say they had something to do with that.

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