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The first day of the 39th annual Tournament of Champions has come and gone and while the hope of tremendous games on night one fell flat as the closest game of the night was still decided by double figures, we saw stars emerge and questions get answered. We saw countless dunks and the best player in the nation prove that he is that. All of my predictions from my preview article prevailed but it leaves me really wondering if I made the right choices for day two. Here is what we took away from night one of the TOC.
Edmond North Huskies Are Legit
Coming into the tournament I wasn’t sure what to think of this Edmond North squad. From the film I had watched, They looked like a solid squad but nothing stuck out to them as being special. They looked like they preferred to win ugly rather than blow out a team like Owasso. What did we learn from game one? I was way off. This team is really good. They are physical and tough to stop in the paint. Dylan Warlick was beast in the paint and shooters knocked down shots finishing shooting at a 51% clip. Rainier Beach struggled at times holding onto the ball at times tonight and it killed them as the Huskies cruised to a convincing 65-45 victory.
Bosco Runs Away From Bulldogs
This one I felt had a chance to be interesting if Central could knock down shots and while they didn’t shoot the ball awful, it was not as well as we are accustomed to seeing at 32% from the floor and 25% from three. Bosco used the break much like I anticipated, especially in a third quarter where fast break points were a breeze. The Braves finished with 27 of their 68 points in transition and forced 21 turnovers. I saw Bosco as a legit threat to win a championship and after what I saw today’s 68-37 victory, I feel even better about that prediction.
Paul VI Looks the Part
I could stop the assessment of this game with the final score of 82-21 over the Glendale Falcons. However, I will put a little more input. The defense of the Panthers was overwhelming forcing 16 turnovers but more impressively holding the Falcons to a 19% mark from the field and 9% from three. The Panthers attack was balanced as 11 players scored but no one scored more than 14. They looked the part of the top team in the nation even without Patrick Ngongba and I can’t wait to watch them again tomorrow.
Ace Bailey is Worth the Hype
There has been a plague in recent Tournament of Champions of the top ranked players or highly anticipated players disappointing especially on night one. Look at James Wiseman, Lonzo Ball, Bronny James and even last year’s MVP Ja’kobe Walter struggled on night one. Ace Bailey did not. He coasted to 14 easy first half points and then exploded in the second half and was hitting everything for his 29 points. He got it done on all three levels and toasted the defense when they left him in a 1 v 1 scenario. I wouldn’t expect anything less out of arguably the #1 player in the nation and he did not disappoint on night one.
29 – Ace Bailey – McEachern Indians
20 – Chiante Tramble – Edmond North Huskies
19 – Dylan Warlick – Edmond North Huskies
18 – Kaden Powers – Rainier Beach Vikings
15 – Brandon McCoy – St. John Bosco Braves
Team of the Day
Ace Bailey 6’9 McEachern 2024 (MVP)
Dylan Warlick 6’5 Edmond North 2024
Chiante Tramble 6’2 Edmond North 2024
Brandon McCoy 6’4 Bosco 2026
Darren Harris 6’6 Paul VI 2024
Storylines for Semi Final Friday
Ace Bailey vs Paul VI
This is what the TOC is made for. The arguable #1 player in the nation vs the #1 team in the nation. When the field was announced, the battle between Ace and Patrick Ngongba was going to be the highlight matchup but unfortunately we are not going to get that. However, Ace Bailey is the real deal he finished with 29 points and did a little bit of everything against Vashon. He plays with an edge and that is just what will be needed against a Paul VI team: buckle up and stick around until 9 because it is going to be electric.
Local Squads Look to Bounce Back
Ouch. It was a tough night for the two local squads as they combined to lose by 92 points. Coming into the tournament I knew that both teams were going to have to shoot the ball well to stand a chance but as I had mentioned in the game recaps, neither team did. I had mentioned in my preview article that both teams got about as bad of a draw as possible but have a shot on day two if things go the right way. I feel like Central has a great opportunity to bounce back against a Rainier Beach team that looked lost at times against Edmond. Glendale may struggle as much tomorrow as they did tonight. Paul VI sat their starters for the majority of the second half and still fell by 60 points. Vashon is going to be angry tomorrow night and will take it out on Glendale. The Falcons are going to struggle with a Wolverines defense that doesn’t like to allow open looks or points for that matter and Glendale didn’t score a whole lot themselves in their 82-21 defeat.
Encore for Edmond and Bosco
Edmond and Bosco almost feel like the forgotten stepchildren but they were just as impressive as anyone. There will be stylistic differences in the game that will be very intriguing to watch play out and it very much idealized the thought of Midwest vs west coast. Edmond will look to use its size to slow down the speed of Bosco and the stars will be out. Elzie Harrington and Brandon McCoy proved that they belong in an environment like this while Chiante Tramble and Dylan Warlick introduced themselves with a bang. This one is going to be a fantastic game and either one of these teams could win it all.
Game of the Night: McEachern vs Vashon
Team of the Night: Edmond North
Player of the Night: Ace Bailey – McEachern
Dunk of the Night: Nnadozie Onyrimba – McEachern
Most Likely to Rebound: Central
Must See Team Tomorrow: St. John Bosco
Must See Game Tomorrow: Paul VI vs McEachern
Schedule for tomorrow
Rainier Beach (WA) vs Central (MO) – 4:30
Glendale (MO) vs Vashon (MO) – 6:00
Edmond North (OK) vs St. John Bosco (CA) – 7:30
Paul VI (VA) vs McEachern (GA) – 9:00