Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Knights Still in Hunt for National Championship

Luke Kinnard-Player of the Week for Knights
Out of the 128 teams participating in the 8th grade AAU Nationals in Orlando, Florida, including 7 Ohio based teams, the Cincinnati Knights are one of only 8 teams still vying for a national championship. With their 61-43 win over the King Street Kings, the Knights will match up with the top seeded Texas Titans in the elite eight tomorrow at 11:30 am for a spot in the final four. The Knights finished 2-1 in pool with wins over Kentucky Retro (57-41) and the Selma shock (65-52). Their lone loss came at the hands of The Family out of Michigan (47-46) on Sunday. In championship bracket play, the Knights defeated Fairfax Black (67-55); Worldwide Black (64-53) and King Street Kings. The Knights and the Titans have some history, as the two teams have met on a couple of prior occasions, with the Titans holding a 3-1 series lead.

From what I understand, Luke Kennard is doing the heavy lifting for the Knights, who are playing without big man Nate Fowler who is sidelined with a foot injury. In the 6 games they have played so far, Kennard was either the leading scorer, or he tied for the honor, including a 30 point outburst against Worldwide Black. Running with the Knights this week are Columbus’ Chris Moxley, Brennan Gillis from Indianapolis and Jaqualus Matlock, a 6’6 center from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Reports are that Matlock and AJ Harris are also playing well for the Knights.

Although they were eliminated from the winners bracket with their 75-53 loss to the Houston Defenders on Monday, All-Ohio Red has a chance to place in the top 10 (10/13th game) if they run the table in the 2nd round consolation bracket. All-Ohio will play Nike Team Florida Tuesday night. All-Ohio had smooth sailing in pool play finishing 3-0, with wins over the Louisiana Bayou Flames (52-38); Alabama Dream Team (50-46) and Team Sneed (58-52). In round one of the championship bracket, All-Ohio defeated Soldierz Elite 71-70 before taking the loss to Houston.

Esa Ahmed-Player of the Week for All-Ohio

According to Neshun Coleman, All-Ohio Red’s head coach, Shaker Heights bound Esa Ahmed has been dominate the entire week. Coleman could not be more complimentary of Ahmed’s all-around performance. “Esa has played very, very well both offensively and defensively. He has shot 90% from the free throw line, and has been our most consistent player,” said Coleman. Bowling Green’s LaMonte Stone has been “consistent,” added Colemen, and JaQuan Harris and Kevin Fischer have played well also. Running with All-Ohio this week is 6'5 wing Vincent King Jr, a 7th grader (2016) from Charlotte, North Carolina. Coleman beleives King is "one jump shot away from being dominate.

Coleman is most proud of his team’s pool play performance stating, “We surprised a lot of people winning our pool as the 4th seed.” Coleman is also excited about his team’s overtime victory against the Arkansas Soldierz. In that game, although up 11 points with 6:25 remaining, and after a 30 minute game delay due to a Soldierz injury, Arkansas came storming all the way back to send the game into overtime. In OT, MaCio Teague hit a big shot late, and Esa Ahmed scored to preserve a 2 point victory.

With their stunning defeat over the Cincinnati Knights in the Ohio State AAU State Tournament back in June, Dayton Salvation Army was the highest seeded Ohio team in the tournament. However, they were unable to hold on to the seeding, and were relegated to the Classic (consolation) bracket with a 1-2 pool play record. So far, Army has won two games in consolation bracket play, with wins over the Brevard Storm (forfeit) and Florida TGFB (50-46). Army will face the Southern Kings Tuesday evening at 7:30pm. For the record, Army has been forced to compete with only six players and an injured Kyle Ahrens (hand injury). Ahmed Waggnor is reportedly playing well for Army.

The Cincinnati Lakers finished 1-2 in pool play and missed an opportunity to match up with Salvation Army in the second round after being knocked out of the Classic bracket with a 57-53 loss to Florida TGFB. All-Ohio Purple is out of the tournament after a 1-2 pool record, a trip to the Classic bracket and a final 72-53 loss to Team Nola. Club Ohio Maroon finished 1-2 in pool play and won 1 Classic bracket game against Alamo City Diamonds before dropping a 68-43 loss to the Alabama Dream Team. Columbus’ Ohio Elite went 0-3 in pool play and were bounced from the tournament (Classic bracket) after an 81-66 loss to Richmond Metro Gold.

In division II action, four Ohio teams participated, and three teams are still alive. The Cincinnati Rockerz went 2-1 in pool play, but a 67-48 loss to the North Carolina Warriors  in the first round ruined any chance of a championship. The Rockerz’ first game of the 1st round consolation bracket is against T-M-T Express. Ohio Varsity finished 2-1 in pool play, but a first round loss to the Tennessee Edge (83-45) resulted in a trip to the 1st round consolation bracket. Ohio Varsity will face the Carolina Rebels Tuesday Afternoon. The Family II finished 1-2 in pool play and is into the 3rd round of the Classic bracket where they will face the Jacksonville Pistons Tuesday night.

1 comment:

  1. Esa Ahmed and MaCio Teague dominated this past week at Nationals. Esa under the basket and Teague driving to the hole or shooting jumpers. Both scored anywhere from 15-22 points a game.When the team needed them they came through. Esa Ahmed, MaCio Teague and VJ King were tagged as top players from the beginning of the tournament . JaQuan Harris was outstanding on defense. He is a great defender. "IF" his man got the ball he wasnt able to do much if anything. This being your 1st time at nationals, A Job well done !