|Ohio Hoopsters-11th Grade Champions|
The second day of the Pre-National Championships was complete with stellar play, upsets and the usual drama that is AAU basketball. In the upset department, All-Ohio’s U-17 squad, ranked in the top 20 nationally, took an “L” at the hands of All-Ohio Purple 60-52. Purple’s Jalean Lowe helped his team to an early 10-2 lead after 3 quick treys. Although Terry Rozier was getting busy early, and finished with 10 half time points, Purple enjoyed a 32-23 leading by the end of the first half. Red started the second period strong, scoring on their first 3 possessions; limiting Purple’s scoring, and cutting the lead to 32-30 by the 18 minute mark. Purple would not score until about 16:45 left in the period. The game would remain close until late when Red was forced to foul. Big Adlophus Washington was a force down low, finishing with a team-high 17 points. Lowe would eventually cool down a little, but he still managed to add 15 markers. Although he did not put up big numbers, Orlando Berry Jr. had a great floor game, and exhibited tenacious defense. Red was led in scoring by Terry Rozier (17), followed by Elijah Macon (13), Teddy Hawkins (9), Jalen Robinson (8) and Jordan Lauf (2). As a side note, despite their win against Red, All-Ohio Purple would back their bags and head south back to Cincinnati, giving up their spot in the final four.
In the first semi-final game, the Ohio Hoopsters avenged their earlier loss to the Columbus Hawks. Although they had revenge on their minds, the Hawks would not go down easy, as the game was still tied with only 6:09 left in the contest. Thou they had to battle, the Hoopsters would go on to claim a 54-50 victory and a spot in the championship game.
In the second semi of the 11th grade division, All-Ohio Red ran into an inspired All-Ohio Black team. Every kid wants to someday beat big brother, and that is exactly what they did, as they clipped Red 51-50. Red had a chance to get the win, but an errant shot by Terry Rosier as time expired lifted White to the championship game where they would face the Ohio Hoopsters. Pickerington Central’s Caris Levert did the most damage, dropping a cool 20 points, followed by Ryan Carter’s 10. Dayton Dunbar’s Teddy Hawkins led Red with 14 points, followed by UD verbal Jalen Robinson (12), Jordan Potts (9), Jordan Lauf (7), Terry Rozier (4), Devin Scott (2) and Elijah Macon (2).
The championship game pitted the Ohio Hoopsters against All-Ohio Black. Although Black was winning for most of the game, the Hoopster’s stifling defense forced Black’s guards into to turnovers, and resulted in a Hoopsters run with about 13 minutes left that did not end until the lead was cut to 46-41. A Tyler White trey at the 9:45 mark knotted the game at 46, and a free throw by White gave the Hoopsters their first lead of the game. All-Ohio Black answered with on a run of their own and would retake the lead and go up 61-56 with 2 minutes left. The Hoopsters answered by cutting the lead to 61-60 at 1:09. Andre Yates knocked down a pull up trey to tie the game at 63. Black still had a chance at the upset, as they had the ball with 30.4 seconds left. However, Levert turned the ball over on an errant inbound pass which Andre Yates intercepted. Yates would then hold the ball for the last shot, but after missing a rushed pull up, the game was sent into overtime (63-63). Yates would hit a 3-pointer to start the overtime period. Remember that "drama" I mentioned earlier? From there, technical fouls and a near bench brawl tainted what had been a real good game. Oh yea, the Hoopsters would get the 77-70 win to claim the championship. The leading scorer and eventual MVP was Thurgood Marshall's Joe Thomasson who dropped a game-high 21 points. Right behind him for the Hoopsters was Andre Yates (14) and KeChaun Lewis (12). Caris Lavert was the high man for All-Ohio Black with 16 points, while Roy Alexander added 15. The All-Tournament Team consisted of: Joe Thomasson, Andre Yates, Gary Akbar, Roy Alexander, Caris Lavert.