I started my day off checking out teams in the 6th grade division. When I walked into the gym, DC Assault was already well ahead of OBC 34-16. Unfortunately for OBC, things did not get much better from there, as DC Assault simply overpowered OBC on their way to a lopsided 40-18 win. For the record, OBC was formally known as Team Get Ryte out of Cincinnati. The player of the game for DC Assault was Jonathan McGriff (5'7 PG Bowie, MD).
|Josiah Hudgins, Ratez Roberts & Andre gordon|
Next up was a match-up between Ohio Rising Stars and the Indiana's G3 Hoosiers. The Hoosiers got on the board first which sparked an 8-2 run. The Rising Stars responded with a mini run to cut the lead 8-10 to close the 1st quarter. The Rising Stars tied the game at 19 midway through the 2nd quarter. A Josiah Hudgins (5'9 C Sidney) jumper put the Rising Stars up 22-20, but G3 came right back with a trey to take a 1 point lead (23-22). By half time, the game was knotted at 25. The Rising Stars struck first in the 3rd quarter both teams shared the lead. A Rising Stars spurt put them up 37--34 heading into the 4th. The Rising Stars started where they left off to start the final period. The Rising Stars stepped on the gas early and extended their lead to 41-34. A few minutes later, sensing time was running out, G3 turned up the heat, then turned over the Stars' guards to close the gap and keep the game close. In fact, G3 cut the lead to 46-44 with 2:50 left. The Rising Stars would hold off a hard charging G3 Hoosier to claim the 54-48 win. Ratez Roberts (5'8 WF Sidney) led a trio of scores with 16 points, followed by Josiah Hudgins (5'9 C Sidney) with 16 points and Andre Gordon (5'7 PG Sidney) who added 11 points. G3's Dexter Shouse was the man for his squad, finishing with 16 points. I was very impressed with the Ohio Rising Stars. They have good length, are well coached, and their point guard play is as good as any in the state. Look for Gordan to be added to our top 30 list when we publish it later in the year. Also, there is little doubt how Sidney MS went 16-0 last season with the 3 studs from the Rising Stars.
|Phillip Jurkovec, Torian Leak & Robbie Carmondy|
Later, I caught up with Buckeye Prep in their 2nd pool game against Caveman Basketball out of Pittsburgh. I had heard a lot of good things about the Caveman, and everything I saw during this game confirmed what I had heard. The general consensus is that Caveman is the top 7th grade team in PA. Although Buckeye Prep tried to hang close early, at the end of the day, Caveman was much bigger, much more talented, and much deeper. In addition their size, just about everybody on the floor can shoot. Also, they have great guard play. Oh yea, Caveman busted Buckeye Prep by 20 plus. Phillip Jurkovec (6'3 WF Pittsburgh) was big for the Caveman, finishing with a game-high 19 points. Robbie Carmody (5'11 SG Pittsburgh) added 11 points. Toriaon Leak (5’6 PG Pittsburgh) may not have put up big numbers, but he ran the heck out of the point. Leak does a good job of running the offense; he controls the game and makes good decisions. Seth Goodson was the high man for Buckeye Prep with 11 points.
|Braden Norris Got Hot|
Excel (7th) found themselves in a dog fight with Michigan's Just Do It Again (JDIA) in the second pool game. The game was nip and tuck well into the second half. About that time, Upper Arlington's Braden Norris went off, knocking down 5 treys for the game. He not only shot the cover off the ball, Norris got to the cup several times as well. Excel eventually pulled away to grab a victory. Norris dropped a game-high 24 points. David Kellah (6'0 WF Grand Rapids) paced JDIA with a team-high 16 points. In their second game of the day, in bracket play, Excel beat Indiana Gym Rats 47-35. That win set up a rematch with Murphy AC. Earlier in the season, Murphy held on to beat Excel in the Grassroots tournament in March.
|Alfonse Hale-Maple Heights|
Early on Saturday, the 7th grade Ohio Hoopsters went down by 2 points in OT to Indiana Faith. The loss was even more disappointing because the Hoopsters were up at one time by about 18 points. Team Toledo's 7th grade team lost a close one to a team out of Redding PA. Toledo made a furious comeback to erase a 12 point deficit, but fell just short of the complete comeback. Christian Smith and Dallas Grant played well in the loss. In the first game of the day, Murphy AC's 6th grade team got by Illinois Gold rush 50-30. Josiah Hitchens and Alfonse Hale had monster games, scoring 18 points apiece. In game two, Murphy defeated Maryland Playmaker 40-33. Alfonso Hale and Justin Smith lead the way. Kevin Jackson's 7th graders got a 65-51 win over Eastside New York early Saturday, Tyree Harris and Yeal hill both finished with 18 points.
|Sincere Carry Came Up Big|
King James (7th grade) took a big hit from Metro Sixers early on Saturday with a 56-38 drumming. King James raced out to a 12-0 lead, but the Sixers mounted a 17-0 run of their own to take the lead. By halftime, the Sixers’ lead was only 23-25. However, later that night in silver bracket play, King James would mount a serious late game comeback to knock out my Buckeye Prep Team. The game was tight throughout, as both teams shared the lead on multiple occasions. By halftime, the game was tied at 25-25. It was the same situation in the second half, as both teams refused to lose. The game was still tied by the 7:09 mark, but Buckeye Prep would go ahead 47-43 with 2:07 left. That’s just about when the drama began. Although it briefly appeared that Buckeye Prep would avenge and earlier loss to King James in the Grassroots, King James instituted a run and jump, forced Prep into turnovers, and quickly erased a 4 point deficit to tie the game at 47 with 10.9 tics left on the clock. After a King James desperation shot missed its mark, the game was forced into overtime. King James dominated overtime, holding Prep scoreless to claim to 52-47 victory. Credit Sincere Carry for the win, as he was big down the stretch for King James. He made a number of big plays, finishing with a team-high 12 points. Seth Goodson was the man for Buckeye Prep and finished with 16 points. Teon Jennings had his best game of the season, finishing with 11 points and a handful of big rebounds. King James will face the Shining Stars tomorrow in the third round of the silver bracket.
|Dwayne Cohill Jr.|
Quincy Simpson’s Tier 1 Sports team is still alive in the silver bracket and will face Team Final in round 3 on Sunday. To get there, Tier 1 defeated the Cincinnati tar Heels and the Akron Bobcats. Team Final knocked out the Ohio Hoopsters to advance to the game. The Mansfield Cavs are also still alive in the same bracket with wins over Team Toledo Illinois Speed Blue. They will face the Michigan titans on Sunday. In gold bracket play, Murphy AC and SMAC U will hook up for a good one on Sunday in the 3rd round. Murphy AC defeated the Gym Rats and Excel to advance. While I’m on the subject of the game, I caught the very tail end of the same. When I got there, Murphy AC had just gone up 59-57 with 1:18 left in the game. By that time, Murphy was ahead for good, and would eventually take it, 65-57. From what I understand, the game was close all the way until midway through the second half, when Murphy started making money with their press, and was successful at speeding Excel up. Dwayne Cohill Jr. and Tyree Harris led Murphy with 14 points, followed by Yael Hill who added 12 markers. Isaiah Speelman had another big game with 22 points.
|Korbin Spencer-Elliott County, KY.|
I had the chance to catch the match-up between Murphy AC's 6th graders and Kentucky's Derby State Racers in the second round of bracket play. When I arrived, Murphy was already down 16-6 in the first quarter. Murphy started the 2nd quarter strong and used that start to get back in the game. By the end of the 2nd quarter, Murphy had cut the lead to 28-25. Jackson's team scored first to start the second half on an Alfonse Hail layup. The lead would change hands several times during the period, and the lead would only be by 1 point (42-40) to close the third period. The 4th quarter was a back and forth affair as both teams took turns possessing a lead. In the end, Derby State would open it up late to claim the 64-55 win and advance to the third round of bracket play. Elliott County’s Korbin Spencer (5’8 PG) was stroking it for Derby State, and finished with a game-high 19 points. Alfonse Hale (5’7 PG Maple Heights) was the leading scorer for Murphy AC and he looked great. This game was the first time I really had a chance to sit back and watch this dynamic PG, and I was more than impressed. I loved the kid’s vision and willingness to make the pass. Also, he did a great job of getting into the paint and finding guys for easy buckets. He also made great decisions with the rock and he has ample dribble moves to get by his man. A no doubt top 30 player when we release our rankings in a few weeks. For the record, Derby State defeated Team Nelson in the first round, and would later knock out the Ohio Rising Stars in the third round to move on to face Team Takeover Brown in the semi-finals.
|David Kellah-6'0 WF Grand Rapids, MI.|
As you would expect, DeMarco Bradley’s All-Ohio Red team is running through the 6th grade division with little resistance. In fact, most teams in their wake have been unable to put more than points 20 on the board. Well, add Huntsman Select Black to that list. Most people in attendance at this game already knew what was in store for the Urbana-based team as they took the floor against the #1 team in the country. As expected, the first half was ugly, as Huntsman was rarely able to advance the ball across half court. By half time, the game was already out of reach at 38-4. I have to give credit to Huntsman, as their players never seemed to quit. In fact, they actually went on scoring spurt to start the second half. Of course that spurt only consisted of 4 points, but it showed they were still trying to compete. There should be no shame in the final score (61-15), as many teams have, and will eventually experience the same pressure before the season is over. Only the Ohio Hoopsters Elite, Derby State Warriors and Team Takeover Brown remain in the path of All-Ohio’s crown.