|Coach Keyford Langley Talks to his Carolina Preps Team|
The final day of NYBL's session II more than lived up to expectations! One of the most anticipated match-ups of the day included Ohio Select versus the South Carolina Hornets. Let me say right from the jump, this game did not disappoint! Unfortunately, I arrived at the game late, but when I got there, Ohio Select was already up 33-29 with 1:57 left in the 3rd quarter. Although I was late, the drama was really only just beginning. By the end of the third quarter, Ohio Select was up 43-37. Ohio drew first blood to start the 4th period, but the Hornets responded right back with a bucket to close the gap to 45-40. At about the 4:39 mark in the third, South Carolina tied the game at 45 with 4:09 left. A Chris'Sean Stringer lay-up put Select back up at 47-45. A J.R. Edmonds-bucket knotted the game at 47. After a 4-0 run Ohio Select started to pull away, and would eventually get the 53-51 win to move to 4-0 and a final showdown with Carolina Preps. Pickerington's Jeremiah Francis was BIG in this game (15 points) in terms of knocking down huge shots and playing lock down defense, but Chris”Seon Stringer was the leading scorer with 16 points, and Jordan Mitchell added 12 markers. Jawan Gary led the Hornets with 18 points and J.R. Edmonds backed him up with 16.
After only about an hour and a half, and after having been taken to the wire by the Hornets, the much anticipated showdown between #1 ranked Ohio Select and the second rated Carolina Preps was finally here. Although Ohio Select was the pre-season favorite to not only win the NYBL championship, but to capture the AAU National title, the Carolina boys had different plans. Needless to say, the gym was packed out as every corner of the gym was filled with onlookers trying to witness an upset. As you might expect, the game was tight from the opening tip, but Carolina maintained the lead throughout the opening quarter. By the end of the third period Carolina was up 9-7. A Jeremiah Francis jumper put Ohio Select up 10-9 at the 6:20 mark. Both teams knocked down shots in the second, but Preps controlled most of the period, and was up 18-12 with 1:27 left in the half. If you have followed the teams in this class the last couple of years, you had to know this game would be highly contested, and that the top kids from both squads would step up big in the big games. Well, Francis obviously got the memo, as evidenced by the fact he hit big shot after big shot to keep this game close. Exhibit #1, with time running out in the first half, Francis got off a half court heave that found the mark and knotted the game at 18. I just told you Francis was huge early; he had 13 halftime points. As big as Francis was for Ohio, Chaz Gwen led Carolina at the break with 6 points.
Although Preps started the second half with 2 turnovers, Ohio could not capitalize, but a Wendall Moore layup put Carolina back ahead 20-18 to start the second period, and a 5-0 run lifted Preps to 23-18. The score went back and forth for most of the 3rd quarter, but Carolina was ahead 33-35 to close the 3rd period. A 4-0 spurt put Preps ahead 42-34. Just about then, Chaz Gwyn heated up and took control of the game. Down the stretch, Gwyn got 2 crucial steals to seal the deal. Francis would keep Ohio in the game with big buckets, but Gwen matched his success and ultimately led his team to an upset of "Goliath" by a score of 48-40. The difference in this game was Preps’ overall skill, poise, and their ability to handle the press. Unlike they do with most teams, Ohio Select could neither speed Carolina up nor turn them over enough to cash in on easy buckets. Chaz Gwyn raised his stock big time based on his 28 point outburst. He may not have led his team to victory, but Francis established himself as one of the top PGs in the league with an equally impressive 28 points. As one last note on this game, Carolina Preps are the real deal and will be a tough out when they arrive here in Columbus at the end of the month. With their win, Carolina will be the number #1 ranked team when we revise our power 24 rankings later this week, and should now be the favorite to take it all at the NYBL Finals! Earlier in the morning, before facing Ohio Select, Carolina Preps took down another Ohio-based team in a 62-33 rout. In that game, Mike Green had 17 points; Wendell Moore and Keyshaun Langley both had 14 points. Josiah Hitchens led Murphy AC and Alonzo Gaffney finished with 10.
|Jawan Gary Had a Great Weekend|
To be honest with you, the final day of the NYBL was really all about Ohio Select's bid to run through the rest of the south division on Sunday. There may have been other games, but the country's focus was firmly on what happened in the two above-mentioned games. With that said, I caught a couple of more games that proved very entertaining. I did not catch the beginning of the ETU Select versus SC Hornets game, but what I did see was some really good stuff. By the time I got there, ETU was already up 35-37 with 4:10 remaining in the 3rd quarter. However, a Hornets' 8-0 run late in the third tied the game at 35. Later in the third period ETU would seize a 37-36 lead, as Juwan Gary was balling. ETU regained the lead at 41-40 and Select held the ball for the last shot in the quarter, but turned it over resulting in a 3rd quarter score of 41-42. The game remained close in the final period as the lead was only 3 points (47-44) by the 4:59 mark. With about 3 minutes left in the game, South Carolina stepped on the gas and took the 56-48 victory. Gary led all scorers with 20 points, while Thomas Brunner added 10 and Naseem Khled notched 9 markers. ETU Select was led in scoring by Terese Jenkins with 11 and Josh Watts with 8 points.
Kevin Jackson’s Murphy AC squad needed a win on Sunday and the squeaked out one against a very good Upstate Warriors team. This was another dog fight that was not settled until the closing seconds of the game. Tevin Jackson hit a big bucket and followed it with a crucial steal to get his team the 70-68 win. Alfonse Hale paced Murphy AC with 21 points, while Dorian Williams led the Warriors with 16 points and Cam Jackson contributed 15 points. The Warriors have a solid front court featuring Jaloveon Lagroom (6’1 C Anderson, SC) and Cam Jackson (6’0 PF Greenville, SC). Both have good size, are athletic and are defensively active. In their first game of the day, the Warriors went down to E1T1 by a score of 63-52. E1T1’s Nathan Louis had 13 and Hunter Cattoor finished with 9 points. Cam Jackson was the leader with 15 points, followed by Dorian Williams with 11.
Team Izod got by Garden City All-Stars 67- 53 on Sunday. Jalen Gaffney was big for Izod with 20 points, but Anthony Hoggard’s 17 and Jordan McCoy’s 13 points were key. Scotty Lewis had 14 points but Charisse Hunter led with 16 points. The Metro Flyers got a 56-37 win on Sunday against the Arkansas Solderz. Daniel Rodriguez went off for 21 points for Metro, while Kevin Cross led the Solderz with 14 points. Deron Williams Elite outclassed New Heights 71-33.Tyree Maxy had 19 and Chris Harris finished with 14 points. Ed Sanchez had 14 for New Heights. The Arizona Monsson finished 4-1 on the weekend which included a 67-32 win over the MJ Mavericks on Sunday. Monsson enjoyed balanced scoring, as 4 players finished in double digits. Jason Harris led the way with 14; Trent Brown and Dillon Depina both had 11, and Max Guinn had 10 points.
By most accounts, session II of the NYBL was a HUGE success! We received a ton a positive feedback on the league and people are already calling for an expanded league next year. Also, the excitement is already building for the NYBL Finals that are scheduled for Columbus, Ohio the weekend of May 31st. From here, each of the 24 teams in the league will be seeded from 1-24 based on the overall standing though the 1st 2 sessions. Teams will initially be placed into 3-team pools, will play 2 pool games, and then be placed in either the championship or consolation brackets based on their pool record. In the finals, we may see some different match-ups, as teams me face off against teams in their current divisions. There is no doubt that the NYBL Finals will surpass the passion and excitement than was experienced this past week. Pack your popcorn folks, it’s going to be madness!!