After facing up earlier this season in a game that Skyline Prep (18-1) would win in fine fashion over Tri-City Christian, 75-62 on the road, the two teams would meet up again at Skyline Prep recently - only to watch Skyline Prep win again. This time Skyline Prep would again use a nice, balanced scoring attack to defeat their rival behind a game-high 31 points from 6-foot-2 senior guard Amari Hudson, and 29 points from 6-foot-5 senior wing Devonte McKinney.
These two programs are serious competitors with one another, and have developed one of the best rivalries in the state - up there with the likes of Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe. Both programs have faced each other multiple times over the years, and each time it is a war. Last season, the two teams met in the state's final game, only to have Skyline Prep win the CAA Division-III State Title.
Both teams battled hard in the first period, until a mid-range jumper by 6-foot-1 senior guard Lemaica "Mako" Westbrook would tie the score at 11 all with 3:22 left to play in the period.
In the second period, with both teams matching one another for much of the period, a layup and a three-pointer by 6-foot-5 senior wing Devonte McKinney, consecutive baskets, would give Skyline Prep the lead, 37-34, with :30 seconds left to play in the period. But Tri-City would storm back after a bank shot in the lane from 5-foot-9 senior guard Doug Figor, and a layup inside on the inbounds from 6-foot-1 senior guard Brian Tucker - giving Tri-City the halftime lead, 38-37.
In the third period, both teams would compete hard. With gifted 6-foot-10 sophomore Fallou Diagne on the bench for much of the period, a strong driving layup by Amari Hudson would give Skyline Prep the lead 44-42 with 6:15 left to play in the quarter.
After Tri-City would take the lead back with two baskets, a three-pointer from the wing from Westbrook, a three-point play in transition from McKinney and another three-pointer from Hudson from the wing would allow Skyline Prep to take a 59-52 lead into the fourth period.
But Tri-City would fight right back as well, and would tie the game at 59 all after a basket by 6-foot-2 junior Kenny Perry.
Both teams would work to gain an edge down the stretch, until a driving basket after being fouled by Amari Hudson, would give a 71-68 to Skyline Prep. Then the two stars of the game, Hudson and McKinney would close out the big home win with back-to-back baskets late - giving a 79-71 victory to Skyline.
Recruiting Notes: Skyline Prep 6-foot-2 senior guard Amari Hudson is one of the state's best available prospects in the 2018 class. While he has had some struggles in the past academically, Hudson advised me after the game that he is nearing a college decision, and that his current leader is Iowa Western Junior College (IA). He is not sure yet when he will make a decision, but he stated that he is looking to make his decision soon . . .
Tri-City Christian's 6-foot-10 sophomore post Fallou Niang is very fluid young poost prospect, that should develop over time into a serious mis-match for opposing post players, as he can score effectively inside and out. As Niang matures physically over the next three years, he should absolutely dominate the CAA Division, and become a household name amidst high school competition . . .
Skyline Prep 6-foot-5 unsigned senior wing Devonte McKinney is an ultra-athletic wing prospect with a high motor. He has high-major athleticism and is able to make plays at a high rate in the open floor. An excellent slasher of the ball and a strong finisher, McKinney is an academic qualifier and is a sure-fire success for a smaller college program.