There wasn’t much on Monday’s slate of area basketball games, but the Fenton-Holly matchup seemed interesting. Fenton is once again off to an undefeated start in the Metro League, and really, Swartz Creek, Holly and maybe Kearsley are the only teams with legit shots at the league title, which was shared by Fenton and Swartz Creek last year.
Fenton won 51-48, but it was a weird game from start to finish. It was Fenton’s first win of the season that wasn’t by double-digits, so Holly played them as well as any team has so far, even if Fenton can point to the fact that Ryan Hickoff, the Metro League’s third leading scorer, missed the game because he was sick. Here were a few observations from the game:Eric Mowery is Fenton’s most vital player: Jared already mentioned Mowery a bit the last time he … uh … “covered” a Fenton game in that unique way that only Jared can.
But his Metro League-hating aside, Mowery is as efficient a PG as there is in the area. He’s seemingly been playing at Fenton forever, and when he’s on the court, the ball moves, Fenton rarely turns it over and he got good shots for Dylan Hickoff and Charlie Herzog inside. Against Holly, Fenton built a 20-0 lead to open the game (you read that right). When Mowery had to leave early in the second quarter after picking up his third foul, Holly quickly went on a run of its own and cut the lead to seven at one point before halftime.
Mowery won’t do any one thing that will wow people. He’s just smart, steady and efficient, and that’s a rarity among high school point guards.
Josh Fugate was the best player on the court: Fugate finished with 28 points and he’s very clearly Holly’s first and, in many cases, only option on offense. Many people who saw Fugate play AAU over the summer knew his game had evolved, but I was impressed by how efficiently he attacked the Fenton defense. Even without Ryan Hickoff, Fenton has a long frontline with Charlie Herzog and Dylan Hickoff, both of whom are decent Metro League shot blockers. Fugate, who looks much stronger than last year, routinely drove into Fenton’s bigs, created contact and got to the line 12 times. With Paul Adas, Ryan Hickoff and Logan Hull all putting up huge scoring numbers in the Metro, it’s hard to say who the best player in the league is this year, but Fugate is definitely making a case.
Fenton’s frontline: Dylan Hickoff has above average athleticism for the Metro League, decent range, he can put it on the floor a little and he can block shots. He sometimes over-dribbles and he’s at his best cutting to the basket and moving without the ball, but with Mowery out of the game (he won’t be out much, but he will occasionally be in foul trouble or need a rest), Hickoff was able to get into the lane and draw the defense some.
Herzog is still very raw, but he has improved since last season. He gets in trouble when he holds the ball too long and sometimes he brings it down too low when he gets a rebound or tries to make a post move. But he looks stronger with the ball and more decisive this year than he did last year. He’s not an explosive finisher, but at his height, he does provide an obstacle for opponents since height has never been what the Metro League has been known for.
— Patrick Hayes | Great Lakes Hoops