In pool play of “The Big Showdown” at Lincoln High School, Coastal Elite tallied two victories en route to finishing first in their division. 2018 Aztec recruits Nathan and Joel Mensah put on a show for the Aztecs fans that came out to see them.
In their first game, Coastal Elite pulled away from San Diego Soldiers with a strong second half in a 76-53 victory. In the first half Joel started off slow, while Nathan had nine points and eight rebounds. The second half was much better for Joel and Coastal Elite. He got into the flow of the game and threw down a number of dunks. Nathan continued to man the middle of the defense, helping Coastal Elite put together enough stops to stifle the Soldiers. Joel finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Nathan finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Coastal Elite’s second game was a bigger test than their first. They defeated Team Zona Maroon 70-65 in an extremely physical game. From the get-go the game was chippy as the refs let some hard fouls go, which caused players’ emotions to get strained quickly. Early in the first half Coastal Elite jumped to a quick lead, however Team Zona stayed within striking distance. Once again Nathan had a big first half with 11 points and five rebounds. While Joel was less involved he still managed four points and five rebounds in the first twenty minutes. In the second half the physicality continued and Nathan made his living at the free throw line, ending his night with 16 points and nine rebounds. Joel played efficiently in the second quarter and threw down another monstrous dunk that got the crowd on their feet. He finished the game with eight points and eight rebounds.
I was impressed by what I saw from both guys. They both have a high basketball IQ and are very good rebounders. Nathan seems most comfortable playing down low and was efficient offensively, shooting 78% from the field. Also he did extremely well in defending screens and was a force in the middle of the defense, although both opponents tried to make him guard the perimeter.
Joel was more involved offensively, but not as efficient shooting the ball. While Nathan plays closer to the basket, Joel’s game extends farther out of the key. Offensively Joel is versatile, he has no problem getting down in the block or setting up on the wing and taking a jumper. Defensively he uses his long arms to block and disrupt shots.
When we spoke to Coach Kwaku Amoaku he mentioned that the boys needed more experience playing the game. You can still see them make mistakes on the court, however they are quick to realize them. I think that playing on the Nike EYBL has helped both develop a better understanding of the game. Their potential is off the roof and hopefully their weekend in San Diego will want to make this home.
Coastal Elite will play today, Sunday, at 11:40 in the semifinals of the Championship bracket at Lincoln High School.