|Anthony Johnson, Jerry Higgens & Tyree Harris|
Ohio teams flexed their muscles on the opening day of the AAU Nationals in Memphis on Monday finishing 8-3 heading into day two. I caught the tail end of the Murphy AC vs N.O. Elite game, and by the time I got there, Murphy was already up 39-57 with 58 seconds left in the first half. By the end of the 3rd quarter, Murphy had extended the lead to 61-42, and closed the game out with a 72-52 win. From what I could tell, both teams were mirror images of each other, both athletic, liked to bring pressure and both teams liked to get up and down the court; the problem for the Louisiana AAU State champs, Kevin Jackson’s squad was simply better at those things than they were. Murphy AC was led in scoring by Tyree Harris who had a game-high 17 points, followed by Anthony Johnson with 15 and Jerry Higgins who finished with 13 points. Although they did not put up big numbers, Coryon Rice and Dwayne Cohill had big games defensively, caused a lot of turnovers which led to easy buckets. For N.O. Elite, Devonta Jason (6’1 WF New Orleans) was the leading scorer. It should be noted that Murphy AC was seeded 4th in the pool and N.O. Elite was seeded 1st. I watched the other 2 teams in the pool play and I think it’s safe to say that Murphy will the pool and face a second place finisher in the first round of bracket play on Thursday.
The Ohio Hoopsters had a tough one on Monday against a tough Alabama Bravehearts squad. The Bravehearts jumped out in front of the Hoopsters and grabbed an early lead which they kept for almost the entire game. According to Coach Lamonte Tillman, the Hoopsters shot “horribly,” going for about 0-12 from the 3-point line. Although they were down going into the 4th quarter, the Hoopsters went with a smaller lineup, turned up the pressure and started forcing turnovers. From there, they got some easy buckets, got the lead, and held on the get a 6 point win (61-55). David Madison and Juan Elmore played well down the stretch to help bring home the win. It does not get any easier for the Hoopsters, as they have to face the Spice Ky Gators at 10:20am Tuesday Morning.
Team Excel ran into a buzz saw on Monday against a very athletic Team Ramey, losing 66-44. Excel shot poorly, had too many turnovers and simply did not play well. Next up for Excel is Florida Family Purple who was already a tough team before picking up another 2-3 top players from another Florida-area team before Nationals. This will be another tough battle for Excel. All-Ohio Red lost to Basketball U 13 Black 61-57. According to Coach Jeff Blackwell, All-Ohio was up by about 6 points 2 minutes into the second half when Jimmy Wierwick received his 4th (personal) and 5th (technical) fouls and was relegated to the bench for the rest of the game. From there, after converting a series of free throws, Basketball U was up 1, and would eventually go on to get the win. “Rusty” is how Coach Blackwell described his team’s performance.
The Shining Stars jumped all over the Virginia Havoc on Monday and had them down 22-1 by the end of the first quarter. With 5:42 left in the second quarter, the Shining Stars had extended the lead to 32-2, and at the half, the Stars were already up 45-6. By the time it was all over, the Stars were 1-0 with a gaudy 75-21 opening day win. Jackson See was the leading scorer with 14 points, followed by Jack Cravaack with 12, Cory Davis with 11 Johnny Miller with 8, Thomas Arrington with 9, Javon Hicks with 7, Tate Goodyear with 6 and Isaiah Payton with 5 points. Next up for the Shining Stars are the Memphis Eagles at 6:30pm on Tuesday.
Buckeye Prep got out of the gates quickly and found themselves up on the Georgia Hawks 12-0. Early in the game Prep’s pressure caused the Hawks problems, which led to turnovers and easy transition buckets. By half time, Buckeye Prep was up by 17 points and never really looked back from there. For the first time this season, Buckeye Prep dominated the boards as Teon and Therron Jennings grabbed a ton of rebounds, many of which were offensive and led to put backs and points. Not only did Prep play great defense, they move the basketball well and found open guys for easy scores. Teays Valley’s Garrett Tipton, celebrated his birthday with a game-high 18 points, followed by Seth Goodson with 13, Cameron Carlisle with 12, Therron Jennings with 8 and Teon Jennings with 7 points. Buckeye Prep will meet the Memphis Sonics on Tuesday at 5:00pm. Julian Larieu 5’4 PG Dacula, GA_ had a big game for the Hawks scoring a team-high 17 points, most of which game from beyond the 3 point line. Oh yea, the final score was 67-32.
Dayton Metro defeated Randallstown R. Rebels 52-43, while Truth Basketball got by Pure Basketball 68-45. Stay tune for more AAU Nationals coverage on Tuesday.