The final day of the annual Dayton Airmen Tournament was chuck full of exciting team play and standout individual performances. For the record, the Dayton Airmen 6th grade squad defeated the New Birth Warriors (52-32) in the championship game to claim the title. What was most impressive about championship Monday were the semi-final match-ups (New Birth vs Team Dayton & the Dayton Airmen vs the Beavercreek Stars Red). Again, for the record, New Birth defeated Team Dayton (47-44) and the Dayton Airmen defeated Beavercreek Stars Red 49-38) to reach the championship game.
I have to mention the semi-final grudge match between the New Birth Warriors and Team Dayton (10-1). Despite Team Dayton's overwhelming size advantage in the post (6'0 & 5'8 vs 5'6 & 5'5), and a 35-25 point lead at the end of the 3rd quarter, the Warriors refused to loose and stormed back to advance to the championship game. In that game, DJ Tyree led the Warriors with a game-high 17 points, while Jelani Rogers dropped 16 points of his own. Team Dayton was led by Derek Daniels, a 6'0 center, who finished with a team-high 15 points, Lamar Florence, a 5'8 PF, with 10 points and Devon Baker (5th grader), a 5'2 PG with 10 points. Bottom line, it was a great semi-final game that could have very easily been a championship game.
The second semi-final game between the Dayton Airmen and the Beavercreek Stars Red was not as contested, as the Airmen jumped to an early lead which they never relinquished. Although Beavercreek demonstrated great team basketball and the ability to hit the trey, a standout performance by Roderick Caldwell (25 points) was the difference. The Stars were led in scoring by Jackson Tedder, a three point marksman who finished with 16 points and James Prater, a headsy floor general. The championship game was a fitting ending to the tournament, as it matched arguably the top 2 teams in the tournament (Team Dayton might take issue with that). The Airmen rode the outstanding play of point guard Roderick Caldwell all the way to the title. The Airmen never trailed in the contest and eventually pulled away from the Warriors to the claim the 55-31 victory. Although supported by Courtney Byrd, a 5'6 PF from Dayton, Roderick Caldwell was the driving force in the win. Caldwell led all scorers with 24 points while Byrd contributed 12 points. For the Warriors, DJ Tyree scored a team-high 14 points, Jalen Tate went for 11 points and Jelani Rogers, who was face-guarded for most of the game, contributed 7 points. Below is Buckeye Prep's All-Tournament Team: Roderick Caldwell (Airmen)-MVP, Courtney Byrd (Airmen),Demond Parker, (Airmen), Jelani Rogers (New Birth), DJ Tyree (New Birth), Jalen Tate (New Birth), Derek Daniels (Team Dayton), Devon Baker (Team Dayton), Lamar Florence (Team Dayton), Jackson Tedder (Beavercreek Stars), James Prater (Beavercreek Stars).