SHOOTER: Observations from Friday’s Marion Classic

North Side's Keion Brooks Jr. is fouled as he goes up for a shot Friday evening against Valparaiso. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)
Tindley's Eric Hunter asks an official about a call in the first half of Friday's win over Snider. Hunter ended with a game high 43 points in the Tindley win. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)
Wayne's Dillon Redding shoots a three pointer in the second half of Friday's game against Marion at the Marion Classic. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)

Your friendly neighborhood frog took a hop down to Grant County on Friday to check out the six-game Marion Classic. Four local teams — Snider, Bishop Dwenger, North Side and Wayne — took part in the event.

What did I see over the course of the day? Plenty.

∙ There were plenty of fouls called in the Lawrence Central-Lighthouse CPA game, with more of them being on Lighthouse.

How many you ask?

Lighthouse was whistled for 36 total fouls in the game, including four technicals. Lions senior Jonte Morgan was ejected after picking up two quick technical fouls in the second quarter for verbally disagreeing with a call.

Lawrence Central hit 36-of-47 free throws for the game. Three different Bears shot 10 or more free throws.

Lawrence Central won the game 89-50.

∙ Eric Hunter is as advertised.

The Purdue signee did whatever he wanted against Snider to the tune of 43 points on 15-of-22 shooting.

From coast-to-coast finger rolls to knocking down threes with a hand in his face, the 6-foot-3 Tindley senior showcased his skills with authority against the Panthers in a 76-67 win.

Hunter rolled through two quarters yet seemed to tire in the third. But when Tindley, the second-ranked team in Class A, trailed the Panthers late, Hunter went to work. A step-back three followed by an and-1 put the Tigers back in front for good.

Hunter’s strongest attribute is clearly his versatility. While his toothpick-like legs do not give him a broad base, he is not afraid to mix it up inside and bang. He will have to put on some pounds to handle the physicality of the Big Ten, but Hunter will surely be getting meaningful minutes sooner rather than later in West Lafayette.

∙ A year ago, Dillon Duff was a fresh-faced rookie to high school basketball. His wide-eyed look on the floor at times attested to that.

But this year, the sophomore looks a lot more comfortable.

That was evident Friday against Tindley. Duff showcased his confidence from the outset, taking the ball to the basket early and often for nine first-half points.

Duff eventually finished with 15 in the defeat that dropped Snider to 1-5, but Duff’s development is on track.

“Essentially, he is new to varsity basketball,” Snider coach Jeremy Rauch said. “What has worked at other levels may not work as easily in varsity basketball and he is seeing that. He’s having to pick his spots and see where he can be most effective and (Friday) he cleaned that up a little bit.

“Around the elbow, driving in and attacking the basket…was huge.”

∙ North Side took it on the chin against New Albany earlier this month, a 97-59 beatdown that handed coach Shabaz Khaliq his most lopsided loss of his career.

Since, the Legends have won three straight, including Friday’s 68-63 win over previously-undefeated Valparaiso.

Keion Brooks Jr. again led the way, dropping 32 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

“We haven’t been playing particularly well lately,” Brooks Jr. said. “Now, we are trying to turn it around. It’s a process and we don’t want to peak right now and we understand that. So right now we are just trying to, day by day, get better.”

The Legends (7-2) found a way to beat a beat a Valpo team that couldn’t match North in terms of talent but held the advantage in the scrappiness department.

Brooks Jr. and the Legends have a quick turnaround today, taking on Indianapolis Cathedral (5-1) at Manual.

“Now that we have some games in, we are starting to learn how to play with each other and how to pick up and have your teammate’s back wherever you can,” Brooks Jr. said.

∙ Rarely have I seen a player rain threes like Wayne’s Dillion Redding did against Marion on Friday.

Generals coach Aaron Rehrer has mentioned Redding’s shooting prowess in the past, but it had yet to really be on display after transferring from Carroll.

After misses on his first two attempts on Friday, Redding found the range, hitting his next seven. He finished with a game-high 31 points, including 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, in a close Wayne defeat.

“I missed my first two, but then I was like, ‘Gang, I got to start hitting these,'” Redding said. “I got lucky in that my teammates still had confidence in me.”

So how does it feel when you’re in the zone?

“Right when I release it I know it’s going in,” said Redding about when he knows he’s heating up. “It’s a great feeling when it happens.”

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