|All-Ohio Elite-6th Place Finish AAU Nationals|
Coach Leon Ellison and his 8th grade All-Ohio Elite (AOE) team was one of 8 Ohio-based teams to participate in the AAU Nationals in Orlando, FL. last week, but the Cincinnati-based squad was the only team to place at the event. Although All-Ohio Elite finished the week with an overall 5-2 record, they played their way into an impressive 6th place finish. All-Ohio finished 3-0 in pool play with wins over the Atlanta Celtics (70-53), North Florida Spartans (63-41) and MADC Bengals (56-33). AOE started championship bracket play with a 65-31 victory over the Maine Athletic Club and a 58-28 win over Sports Authority. In the quarterfinals, AOE suffered a 6 point lost to the eventual tournament champion, Dunk Dog Elite-LA Select (65-59). All-Ohio rebounded in the quarter-final consolation bracket with a 59-31 victory over WITTS Elite to advance to the 5/6th place game. In their final game, All-Ohio was downed 54-43 by Team Penny to take 6th place. In that game, AOE was leading for 3 quarters, but allowed a 4-5 point game to balloon to 11 points late in the contest.
|Jarron Cumberland-Led AOE in Scoring|
According to Ellison, All-Ohio was lead in scoring by Jarron Cumberland. In addition to Cumberland, newly acquired Anthony Christian added an additional scorer to his defensive minded team. Christian had been running with King James this summer, but hooked up with AOE when the Shooting Stars decided not to attend the nationals. “It was grown men ball down here,” offered Ellison when talking about the size of the 2 teams that defeated AOE. Sports Authority’s top player, and arguably the top player in the class was 7’1 and a force in the paint. Despite the size disadvantage, All-Ohio actually had the former champs down 3 points with only 4 minutes to go, but could not hold on.
|Anthony Christian Added Scoring|
Quincy Simpson’s Team Lima Panthers started the tournament strong with a 2-1 pool record, and then knocked off Saint Michaels 59-43 to advance to the second round of the championship bracket. However, from there, Lima took a tough 66-29 loss to Team Scam, followed by a 45-40 hit from the ETU Panthers to close their season. AOE’s coach Ellison thought it was important to note that Coach Q and his Team Lima players were a “class act,” gave big time support to his team, and was at every game cheering and rooting his team on.
All-Ohio Red got out of their pool 2-1, then quickly dropped their first championship bracket game to CP3 All-Stars (96-51), then was bounced from the tournament after a 43-35 loss to X Factor Black.
Every team that participates at the AAU Nationals wants to either win it, or at least bring home a medal by placing in the top 10-15 teams. Nobody wants to play in the Classic/consolation bracket. However, if your team is unfortunate enough to find themselves there, they have to win the thing to save a little face back home. With a 1-2 finish in pool play, the Cincinnati Lakers could have packed it all end, both figuratively or literally, and headed back to Cincinnati. However, the Lakers did the next best thing; they went on a 6-game winning streak that did not end until they were Classic Champions. The Lakers defeated Minnesota Heat Elite 49-44 in the championship game to grab the hardware.
The Ohio Warriors (2-3), Cincinnati Bulldogs (2-3), Dayton Heat (2-3) and Nova Village (1-3) all joined the Lakers in the consolation bracket, but none of them could make the kind of run the Lakers did, and were forced into early exits. Congratulations to All-Ohio Elite and all of the Ohio teams for going 8 deep at the Nationals.