With the ultimate goal of qualifying for the AAU Nationals, about a dozen 8th-11th grade travel teams made their way to north central Ohio to participate in the Columbus AAU Super Regional tournament. The 2-day event was held at Olentangy Orange High School and featured a handful of quality teams.
The top team in the tournament was easily the U-17 West Virgina Wildcats who were led by Wake Forrest pledge Chase Fischer. Judging by the 4-team 11th grade division, the Wildcats should have little problem punching their ticket to the AAU Nationals in Orlando in late July. The one game I watched them play against COBA Knights was a total mismatch, as at halftime the wildcats were already ahead 42-22, and surly continued the the dunkfest that ended the 2nd quarter. When I left, Fischer had already notched 14 points in two quarters of action and seemed well on his way to another big game. Also playing well for West Virginia were Pittsburgh's Chris Hester and Sugarcreek, Ohio's Paul Honigford. Hester is receiving D-I interest from several low to mid-major programs including Bucknell, while Honigford is fielding interest from several MAC programs. Also of interest was the fact that the Wildcats were playing with out their newest acquisition, Westerville South's Treavon Jackson, who recently decided to leave All-Ohio Red and join the Wildcats.
In the 8th grade division, the top team appears to be the Gary Scott's Buckeye Prep squad. In their opening game against the Cincinnati Royals, Buckeye Prep held off a late charge to claim the 62-55 win. Leading scorers in the contest were Darryl Long who finished with 16 points, followed by Ronnie Williams with 14 points and Alex Stewart who contributed 10 points. The high man for the Royals was Cody Nieson who scored a team-high 16 points followed by Grant Benzinger who added 11 points. Scott's squad was playing with two new additions to the team with Youngstown's Craig Randell and Gahanna's Jimmer Ryan. Because two teams in their pool were no shows, Buckeye Prep needed only one win to finish as the top seed heading into Sunday.
The game of the day on the 10th grade division featured the Cincy Bulls versus the Cincinnati Royals. Despite jumping out to a double digit lead, the Bulls struggled with Cincinnati's pressure package, but held on to to win 69-64. The top guys for the Bulls were Fred Candy (16 points) and Brian Porter (13 points). To see the pictures I took at the event, visit the Buckeye Prep Facebook Fan Page.