|Ohio Select-2013 NYBL Champions|
The inaugural season of the National Youth Basketball League (NYBL) is almost in the books (except for the NYBL All-Star Game in September), and the feedback from the finals this past weekend in Columbus has been overwhelmingly positive! Of course it helps when you have some juicy upsets; and then the league’s 2 top teams hook up in the championship game for an epic rematch. The three month, 3 session NYBL concluded with the championship game Sunday afternoon with a rematch between the undefeated and #1 ranked North Carolina Preps and the #2 ranked Ohio Select. As most of our readers will recall, North Carolina knocked Ohio Select from the ranks of the undefeated during the league’s second session in North Augusta, GA. in May.
As expected, the game was close from the opening tip. Like a heavy weight prize fight, both teams took turns throwing head shots and trading body blows. During the game, both teams shared the lead at times, but by the half, Preps was up 31-25. By the end of the 3rd quarter, Ohio had erased the deficit and was up 40-35. For the most part, North Carolina appeared to control the game for more minutes and seemed to be on their way to the championship into the 4th quarter. However, Ohio Select role players came up with a couple of big shots, which coupled with a heavy dose of pressure late gave Ohio the late push they needed to get the 51-41 win and the first ever NYBL championship. Gerard Reynolds was big for Ohio and led all scorers with 12 points, followed by Jordan Mitchell with 11 and Jeremiah Francis with 9 points. Chaz Gwyn paced North Carolina with 15 points followed by Kobe Langley with 8. MVP honors went to Reynolds, and the All-Tournament Team included: Greg Tribble, Chris’Seon Stringer, Chaz Gwyn and Keyshawn Langley.
|North Carolina Preps-Runner-ups|
In the semi-finals, Ohio Select had to get by a hot Deron Williams Elite who was coming off a big win at the Nolo Super 60 the previous week, and whom many thought might have had a shot at the upset. Although Deron Williams was still fighting late in the game (the score was 49-42 with 3:32 left), Ohio Select proved to be too tough, and would go on to get the 54-45 victory and advance. Leading scorers in the game were Gerard Reynolds and Jeremiah Francis for Ohio Select with 11 points each, and Rese Maxey and Chris Harris Jr. for Deron Williams with 20 and 12 points, respectively. Ohio’s trek to the final game included wins over the S.C. Hornets (55-50) in the Elite 8 and a Sweet 16 win over the New York Gauchos/HOS (78-48). North Carolina Prep’s road to the championship included an easy 59-27 win over the Arizona Monsoon in the second semi-final game; a 74-37 victory over Future Phenoms in the Elite 8, and a 59-31 win against the Arkansas Soldierz in the Sweet 16.
|Deron Williams Elite-3rd Place|
I have to mention the Southern Stampede vs S.C. Hornets match-up early Sunday. This was one of the better games of the weekend and featured 2 of the league’s better teams. Because these 2 teams played in the league’s South division, this was the first time they got a chance to go head to head. Southern Stampede got the 47-45 win to advance to the 5th/6th place game where they later defeated Future Phenoms (61-57). Chris Hinton exploded for a game-high 18 points for Stampede, while Juwan Gary went for a team-high 16 points for the Hornets. It should be noted that later, Hinton dropped 33 points in the Future Phenom game to lead all scorers, and Tyron Henry led Phenoms with 20 points and Jarvis Johnson added 15.
The league’s order of finish is as follows: 1st-Ohio Select; 2nd-Carolina Preps; 3rd-Deron Williams Elite; 4th-Arizona Monsoon; 5th-Southern Stampede; 6th-Future Phenoms; 7th-S.C. Hornets; 8th-Team Rio Elite; 9th-Garden City All-Stars; 10th-6th Man Warriors; 11th-ETU Select; 12th-Gauchos/HOS; 13th-Carolina Chaos;-14th-Team Izod/Sports U; 15th-Arkansas Soldierz; 16th-Metro Flyers; 17th-New Heights; 18th-Upstate Warriors; 19th-MJ Mavericks; 20th-Murphy AC; 21st-Enplay Elite; 22nd-WV Xplosion; 23rd-Truth Basketball.
|NYBL MVP & All-Tournament Team|
As good as the inaugural season was for the NYBL, season two promises to be even better, as the league will expand to two, 32-team divisions (2019 & 2020) and will include a 4th session. The 4th session is slated to be somewhere out west. Next up for the league will be the NYBL All-Star Game which will feature the league’s top 40 players in a “Top 20” and “Top 40” all-star game which will be held in conjunction with the Buckeye Prep Elite Showcase in Columbus, Ohio the weekend of September 21st and 22nd. The games will serve as another platform for the league as well as another excellent exposure opportunity for our players. The all-star selections will be published over the next several weeks. Thanks to all of the players, coaches, parents and fans that helped make the NYBL a great success this year!!