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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

John McGraw's Olive Branch (MS) vs Horn Lake (MS) Recap

2017 Myah Taylor of Olive Branch

Recap by Tim Lownsdale @tlownsdale

 John McGraw Scouting has covered some of the top players and games in the southeastern part of the country over the course of this basketball season. After making the two and a half hour drive down to Olive Branch Mississippi, the game between nationally ranked Olive Branch HS and Horn Lake HS did not disappoint. Horn Lake came into the game as the defending 6A state champs, #13 in the USA Today poll, and an undefeated record. Olive Branch came in as the defending 6A state runner-up and #26 in the USA Today poll. The game featured some of the top players in the country in their respective classes as well as a packed out gym with about 15 D-1 coaches including multiple head coaches in attendance. Olive Branch used a strong fourth quarter to pull away and won the game 50-40, giving Horn Lake its first loss of the year. The following will be a brief write-up of individual players that I was impressed with in the game.

Horn Lake
Horn Lake came into the game at 19-0 and fresh off of a 6A state championship last year. This team lost some key seniors from last year’s team, but returned a strong guard-post duo in Delta State commit Alondrea Rush and Wright State commit Alexyse Thomas. Alondrea did a very solid job of handling the ball under intense defensive pressure and made some very tough finishes at the basket. Alondrea used her speed and deceptiveness to make things happen for Horn Lake. Delta State is getting a very good player in Rush! Alexyse is a very strong player who uses her strength as her means of scoring points around the basket. She did a decent job of using her size to block off any opposition. 

Olive Branch
Prior to this game, I had heard a lot of hype on this Olive Branch team. Needless to say, I walked away VERY impressed with this team. They start 1 junior, 3 sophomores, and a freshman on a team that was ranked 26th in the country prior to this game. This group plays extremely hard and is a very fun team to watch. If you are a college coach of any level, Olive Branch is a must-watch team as indicated with the 13-15 D-1 coaches that were there.

This team is led by super-sophomore Myah Taylor. Myah has a very smooth game offensively that features outstanding ball handling, smart decision making, and a perimeter game that is unguardable. Myah finished this game with 18 points and several very impressive assist. Myah is a high major player with offers from schools such as Baylor, Alabama, Ole Miss, Miss. State, Southern Miss., Texas State, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Western KY, Arizona, Jackson St and also picked up an offer from Auburn after this game. Needless to say, Myah will pick up several more offers along the way. She should be monitored by every college in the country.

Another player that I was very impressed with was another great sophomore in Teal Battle. As Myah was facing multiple double teams, Teal stepped up and knocked down several huge contested shots. Teal is a 6’0 forward who is extremely athletic and has a great post game with a high motor. She showcased the ability to step out and knock down the mid-range shot as well. In this game, she battled with Wright State commit, Alexyse Thomas, and more than handled her own. Teal had a very impressive game and should be monitored by college coaches at the BCS level and below. 

The third sophomore I was impressed with is 5’9 forward, Myah Leflore. Leflore is an extremely athletic 3 that plays her position very well. Leflore is a high-motored player on this team that was all over the floor defensively and did a great job of knocking down shots when the opportunity was given. Leflore also did a solid job of handling the ball when needed. Leflore is a definite D-1 player who should be on the radars of college coaches.

I was also very impressed with the play of 5’7 2018 guard, Mahogany Vaught. Vaught is a very good player who played a very mature game as a freshman. From what I was told, Vaught started for this Olive Branch team last year as an 8th grader on the way to state runner-up. Vaught has very nice handles as well as a very nice shot. Vaught held her own, offensively and defensively, against the senior-laden guards that Horn Lake had. Vaught should be monitored for the next 4 years by all levels of D-1. 

College coaches should also be sure and check out 5’9 ’16 shooter, Savanna Geeslin. Geeslin didn’t score many points in this game, but the few times she shot the three ball, I felt like it had a great chance of going in. Outside of just shooting, I thought she played very well with the pace of the game and held her own on the court defensively. It was hard to really tell what level she could play at from this game alone. 

Over all, despite the impressive individual playing ability by each of these players, I was even more impressed with how they played together as a team. I saw no signs of selfishness which is a credit to the players and to Coach Blake Jones. This group is going to be fun to watch for the next several years! 

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