Three future Cardinals got the start for the White squad in the 2014 Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic tonight in Freedom Hall. Quentin Snider, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku helped their team get out to an 18-8 lead by the 3:36 mark behind four points by Snider.
The Ballard Bruin and Louisville native was very confident in his abilities and attacked the opposing Green defenders with his quickness and strength. Snider got his first bucket by blowing by his defender, getting airborne and scooping the ball under the rim to the the opposite side and off the glass. Snider’s second bucket came on a beautiful jump stop into the lane from about 10 feet out.
The White pretty much dominated the first quarter en route to a 29-17 lead.
While Onuaku and Johnson struggled to get into rhythm early, Snider seemed to feed off the Cardinal-heavy crowd and take over. Quentin used a bevy of spin moves and beautiful passes to help his squad build a 42-26 lead at the 4:55 mark in the second quarter. Johnson came to life and scored four straight points, his second basket on an emphatic one-handed dunk.
Trevon Bluiett, a 6-foot-5, 185 pound guard from Park Tudor, Indiana and Xavier commit was another reason for the lopsided score. Bluiett led all scorers in the first half with 15 points behind some great shooting, from both mid and long range as well as a tip-in off of a missed shot.
The White led by 20 at the half, 56-36. One of three Florida Gator commits playing int he game, Brandone Francis, looks like he may be a thorn in the sides of SEC foes for a couple of years and had 10 points at half. The Green team was balanced in scoring with seven guys having at least four points, led by Jared Nickens’ (Maryland commit) six.
The third quarter got off to a slower pace and quite frankly, some ugly basketball. That all changed just before the midway point when Snider received a pass on a fast break before dishing it behind his back to a trailing Onuaku who slammed it home with one hand, bringing the crowd out of their slumber.
Not to be outdone, the Green squad quickly raced the ball down the court and got their own alley-oop. The problem was that Snider, who was constantly in attack mode, took the inbound pass, dribbled up to just over half court and threw a laser of a pass to a soaring Jaylen Johnson who grabbed the pass with two hands about a foot above the rim and slammed home another two points.
In those three possessions and just :32 seconds of game play, the crowd went into a frenzy of cheers and high-fives. Head coach of the White team, Jesus Patino was all smiles as his squad added another four points to their lead by the end of the third quarter, 95-71.
Cards fans were treated to yet another future teammate connection when Johnson made a nice no-look pass to Onuaku for an easy dunk early in fourth quarter. Overall, the final stanza was basically sloppy basketball until the last minute when a playground dunk contest broke out. The White led from the get go and never looked back, winning, 126-104.
Quentin Snider and Isaac Copeland were named game MVP’s for their teams. Snider finished with eight points, nine assists, four rebounds and zero turnovers while Copeland had nine points and two rebounds.
See the final box score below: