Early yesterday morning, I caught some of the action at the Ohio Hoopsters' Cap City Hoopfest. Although the 40-team event attracted mostly local teams in grades 3-8, there was still some quality teams and players on the court. Right out of the gate on Saturday morning, the much anticipated match up between the 6th grade Ohio Hoopsters and Buckeye Prep jumped off at New Covenant Church. Although Buckeye Prep drew first blood, the much more physical and aggressive Hoopsters quickly seized the lead and never looked back. By the end of the game, the Hoopsters had amassed a convincing 57-19 victory.
|David Fitzgerald-Player of the Game|
Key for the Hoopsters was their dominance in the post, stellar shooting from the perimeter, and solid guard play. The Hoopsters dominated the rebounding battle and scored easy buckets in transition. Westerville's David Fitzgerald, a 5'8 wing from Blendon Middle School, paced the Hoopsters. Fitzgerald scored at every level, including the trey ball, floater and put backs. Fitzgerald displayed constant motor, the ability to defend and he finished at a high rate. The Hoopster's Juan Elmore is a force in the paint. Although not a super athlete at this point, he is big, aggressive and he knows how to use his attributes. Ty Wiley did another solid job at the point and consistently found open guys. After their success the last couple of weekends, it's safe to declare the 6th grade Hoopsters as the top 6th grade team in Central Ohio.
|Matt Allaco and Braden Norris-Dynamic PG Duo|
I finally had a chance to check out All-Ohio's 6th grade team as they matched up against a scrappy Excel squad. Excel got on the board first with a Dane Goodwin trey. All-Ohio answered right back on a three pointer by Tavion Kanzy. Both teams would trade buckets early in the first half, before Excel went on a run, finishing the 1st half up 32-23. The second half was all Excel, as All-Ohio would only score 5 points as late as 2:29 left in the contest. Simply put., the Excel kids put on a basketball clinic against All-Ohio, as they totally out executed Red. Excel was led y the backcourt duo of Matt Allaco, a 5th grade PG from Hastings Middle School, and Braden Norris, a fearless floor general from Memorial Middle School in Hilliard. Add to that the rugged play of Dane Goodwin, a 5'9 PF from Jones Middle School in Upper Arlington, and it is easier to reconcile the fact the Excel totally out classed All-Ohio in their impressive 62-31 victory. Excel was led in scoring by Allaco who dropped a game-high 16 points, followed by Braden Norris (14 points) and Dane Goodwin (14 points). The top guy for All-Ohio was Columbus' Tavion Kansy who finished with a team-high 12 points.
Both Buckeye Prep and All-Ohio would both bounce back from blowout defeats earlier in the day, as Buckeye Prep would take their anger out on a defenseless OSYP Lions (46-23), and All-Ohio would win big over a under-matched Rodgers Neighborhood (46-16).
|Trey Pugh-Player of the Game|
In the 8th grade division, the Ohio Hoopsters defeated King of the Court 39-32. Tamal Watkins, a crafty PG from Columbus finished with 14 points. Justin Sylver, a 6'5 C from Cleveland, is a kid to keep an eye on. Sylver is a wide body and a space eater with upside potential. In their second game against the Ohio Hoopsters/Cardinal, Sylver's front court mate, Rayvon Lewis, logged in a nice performance as well. Lewis, a 6'3 PF from Lynchfield MS in Akron, let his team with 12 points. Speaking of the Cardinals, they easily handled King of the Court to the tune of 64-40. Hilliard Weaver's Trey Pugh continues to dominate the competition, as he led all scorers with 18 points. I also liked Antwon Smith, a 6'3 C heading to Dublin Coffman High School. Tyrell Ajian also played well, finishing with 10 points. Ajian attends Madison Middle School in Mansfield, and will likely attend Madison High School next year.