WALNUT HILLS – After a grinding season in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, the Walnut Hill High School boys basketball team would like to make another march into March like they did a couple of years ago.
They don’t have the one-two combination of size and speed of Isaiah Johnson and D.J. Wingfield (now at Akron and Ohio University, respectively). Also missing is the veteran depth of that squad.
On the other hand, the Eagles tout two of the better guards around in MaCio Teague and Caleb Tregre. Teague tops the league in scoring at 26 points per game at presstime. In just two years at Walnut, he’s tallied more than 1,000 points, making the historic mark on Senior Night against Milford Feb. 13.
The shot was a three-pointer and the photogenic kept his wrist flicked for all cameras and phones to record the moment. Since it was a hotly-contested league game, coach Ricardo Hill was dialed in on other factors.
“He’s doing his ‘bubblegum’ pose and I’m screaming at him to get back on defense,” Hill said. “It was pretty funny on the bench for us.”
The game was stopped for a photo at mid-court, followed by another with a sign in front of the Walnut Hills student section. Teague didn’t report back to the huddle until visiting the bleachers to hug his mother.
“She said, ‘I’m proud of you, I love you and we need more intensity on the defensive end,'” Teague said. “It was a phenomenal evening; I’m blessed.”
Early in the game, with Milford focused on Teague, Tregre made them pay with some crucial three-pointers. Often when the 6-foot-3 Teague is doubled, the 5-foot-10 point delivers. His high game came against Massillon Jackson with 29 on Jan. 25.
“We’re definitely blessed to have both of those guys,” Hill said. “We have that philosophy of ‘next man up’ when things aren’t going right.”
Tregre is also exploring college offers like Teague. Other seniors on the team are Robby Perry, Crephat Grengbondai, Laine Harrett and Kyle Gilioli. However, the roster also includes freshmen Omari Peek, Cory Davis, Hunter Davidson and Kameron Gibson and sophomore Michael Davenport in the rotation.
“We don’t care what grade you’re in,” Hill said. “If you compete in practice and earn minutes, you’re going to get them.”
Teague and Tregre have been constants since transferring to Walnut Hills before their junior seasons. Teague has surpassed 30 points several times and lit up Piqua for 51 on Jan. 19. His offers include Seton Hall, Akron, Yale, Liberty, Oakland, Bryant and Air Force. The day before he passed 1,000 points, San Jose State paid a visit.
He holds a 3.3 grade point average at a scholastically challenging school and would like to study pre-medicine. Not a self-promoter, his sales pitch is fairly simple.
“The first thing I can think of is what Tom Brady said when the New England Patriots drafted him: ‘This is the best the decision of your life,'” Teague said smiling.
Behind their shooters and youth, the Eagles begin their postseason path Friday, Feb. 27, in the Division I sectional at Fairfield against Loveland.