Tuesday, April 29, 2014

King James Shooting Stars Classic-Final Day Report

Brazdeikis, Kabongo, Onyeali, Francis, Reynolds, Mitchell, Frankly & Treacy
The final day of the King James Shooting Star Classic was all about championships.  In the 8th grade division, Canada’s CIA Bounce held off a physical Chicago Select to claim a 57-40 victory and the championship. Although it appeared that CIA Bounce’s significant size advantage at every position was going to result in an easy win, an equally physical Chicago Select team played them toe to toe for much of the contest. In fact, at the break, the game was knotted at 27. CIA Bounce scored first to start the second period, but Chicago answered with a bucket. Later, CIA Bounce went on a 6-0 run and took a 35-29 lead. Another run lifted the score to 41-34 with 6:31 left in the game. From there, Bounce would maintain no less than a 10 point lead before pulling it out by a score of 57-41. Bounce’s Ignas Brazdeikis (6’4 WF Toronto) was smoking hot from the perimeter to the tune of a game-high 18 points. Jonathan Kabongo (6’3 PG Toronto) only scored 8 points, but he ran his team to perfection, and provided several athletic highlight plays to boot. Malik Onyeali (6’0 P/SG Chicago) was the work horse for Chicago Select, and led his team with 15 points, followed by Raekwon Drake who added 10 points.

To get to the championship game CIA Bounce easily defeated the Ohio-based Shining Stars 62-33. By halftime, the game was pretty much over, as Bounce had them down 25-2.  Bounce was just too big, and shot the ball too well (hit 12 treys) for the Shining Stars to get it done. Chicago Select’s ticket to the chip was much more difficult, as they had to squeak out a 36-34 win over Florida Force to advance. Malik Onyeal was the high man with 12 points. Dante Treacy (5’8 P/SG Orlando) was a stud for Florida, finishing with a team-high 12 points.

All-Ohio Red-7th Grade Gold Champions
Much like the pre-game warm-ups for the 8th grade championship game, many observers in the stands to watch the 7th grade championship game assumed that All-Ohio Red would totally dominate a much less heralded Team Teague.  Not so fast my friend! All-Ohio did jump out to a 11-2 lead by the 7:59 mark, but a scrappy Team Teague refused to roll over, and battled back tie the game at 32 by halftime. Team Teague got on the board first to start the second period, but an All-Ohio spurt put them up 43-35 with a little over 12 minutes left in the game. All-Ohio would later make a 14-0 run to establish dominance in the game, them go on to get the 71-59 victory and the championship trophy.  

Jeremiah Francis was huge for All-Ohio in terms of scoring (16 points), defending and rebounding. Gerard Reynolds was equally as impressive, as he was the primary scorer (14 points) in the first half.  Reynolds may be a bit undersized for his position, but his strength and post moves are elite. Also, Jordan Mitchell added a very quiet 16 points in the win. James Frankly (5’6 PG Indianapolis) was the smallest player on the court for Team Teague, but the tough and scrappy little PG ran the show, scored, and set his teammates up for easy buckets. With the championship now under their belt, All-Ohio will take their talent to Atlanta for Session #2 of the NYBL. Their schedule in Atlanta includes a showdown with Texas Express Elite, who finished second at the 6th grade AAU Nationals last year, and a rematch with We All Can Go. In addition to barely getting by DC Premier on Saturday, All-Ohio beat We All Can Go on Sunday to advance. Elite PG Tyger Campbell will get another showdown with Jeremiah Francis in the ATL, as arguably the #1 and #2 ranked floor generals in the country will again go head-to-head!!

There is traditionally very little attention paid to the silver division in major tournaments, however, it’s worth noting that after getting smacked by All-Ohio Red in pool play, National Select made a serious run through the consolation division, where they eventually met and defeated the Michigan Titans 50-29 to claim the title. Because of crowd issues, the game was cancelled with 6 minutes remaining. Tyler Brelsford led with 11 points, while Che Evans added 9 points and Terrance Williams finished with 8 points and 10 rebounds. National Select may have beat down the Titans, but getting by The Family proved much more difficult as they advanced with a 1 point victory (79-78) after Shemar Morrow sank 2 free throws with 2 seconds left to seal the win. Morrow proved he could still dominate playing up a grade, as he led with a game-high 26 points and 13 rebounds. Tyler Brelsford added 17 markers, followed by Che Evans (14) and Terrance Williams (12 points). The NYBL was well represented, as National Select’s top guns dominated, and will also be heading to Atlanta this weekend.

Team Melo beat Rens in the 8th grade silver bracket championship. In the 6th grade gold division, We All-Can Go downed the New York Gauchos 61-47 to grab the hardware, while Team Glory got by We All-Can Go 40-48 in the 5th grade gold bracket. At least in the middle school divisions, the King James Shooting Stars Classic offered many teams some great competition.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

King James Shooting Stars Classic-Day 2 Report

Jack Cravaack, TK Robinson, Trey King, Brandon Johnson, Seth Goodson & Isaiah Payton
Day # 2 early on Saturday consisted of pool play, while the first 2 rounds of bracket play tipped off in the early afternoon and evening. Unique to the King James tournament is the fact that teams can be heading home as early as Saturday afternoon. Early in the day, Buckeye Prep's 8th grade squad faced off against Tier 1's "B" team. Buckeye Prep got out of the gates quickly and was up 14-8 by the 8:40 mark, and 30-10 with 4:33 left in the opening period. At the half, the score was already out of reach at 37-18. The second half mirrored the first, and Buckeye Prep would later cruise to an easy 52-29 win. Buckeye Prep was led in scoring by Teays Valley's Garrett Tipton (6'3 WF) who finished with 10 points. Behind him were TherRon Jennings (8) and Seth Goodson (7). Nick Moorman (6’0 WG Ottoville) paced Tier 1 with 14 points.

Later in the afternoon I caught the second half of the Shinning Stars vs Maryland Hawks game (8th grade). By the time I arrived, the Stars were up 20-21. By the 8:45 mark, the Shinning Stars had opened a 33-22 lead. With 1:11 left in the game, Maryland had pulled to within 4 points (43-39). Despite the Hawk run, the Shinning Stars would hold on to get the 46-39 victory. Johnny Miller's (5'8 SG Cincinnati) game-high 12 points came on 4 treys. Isaiah "Sleepy" Payton added 11 points, while Jack Cravaack contributed 8 and Tate Goodyear finished with 7 points.

Later in the first round of bracket play Buckeye Prep and Shinning Stars would face off for the 2nd time in 2 weeks.  Buckeye Prep found themselves down 9-4 quickly after committing 3 straight turnovers to start the game. By the 4:56 mark, the Stars had extended the lead to 8 points (13-21). The Shinning Stars would maintain a lead for the rest of the half, but Buckeye Prep would battle back to trim the lead to 30-26 to close the 1st half. With 11:05 left in the contest, the game was knotted at 31. As was the case in the first half, Buckeye Prep was plagued by turnovers late in the second period and would eventually go down to the Stars 51-42. Jack Cravaack was a monster in the post and led his team with 12 points. Seth Goodson was the high man for Buckeye Prep with 13 points, followed by Garrett Tipton who added 11 points.

Chuck Painter’s Dayton Metro team had to overcome a huge first half deficit against the Lexington Future to advance to the second round of bracket play. At one point in the first half, Metro was down 22-8, and by the break, the score was a lopsided 30-18. Despite the big hole they had dug for themselves, Dayton started to fight their way back early in the second period. Sparked by TK Robinson’s (5’11 SG Dayton) three trey bombs, Dayton was able to trim the lead to 3 points (32-29) by the 5:57 mark. While Robinson was getting it done from beyond the arc, Jordan Coovert (6’2 PF Dayton) was getting busy in the paint. In the end, Dayton Metro got the win by a final score of 48-47. Coovert finished with a team-high 12 points, while Robinson finished with 11 points. Trey King (6’5 C Lexington) paced Lexington with a game-high 13 points.

Earlier in the day, Chicago Select (8th grade) hooked up with the Cincinnati Lakers. It appeared that Chicago would run away with this one after jumping out to an 8-0 lead. However, back-to-back treys by Corey Davis (6’4 SG Walnut Hills) jump-started the Lakers and the game would remain close most of the 1st half. However, Chicago’s superior size and strength would become evident, and by halftime they were comfortably ahead 14-26. Raekwon Drake (6’4 C Chicago) was a force inside and made it very difficult for the Lakers to score at the rim. Chicago went on to get the victory and advanced to face Dayton Metro.

I had a chance to checkout the Spiece Indy Heat for a second time this tournament, as they totally dismantled and out executed the New Yorked-based Rens. Last year at this time Rens was a final 4 team, but they were totally overmatched by Spiece, and eventually went down 59-28. Brandon Johnson (6’0 WF Ft Wayne). Led all scorers with a game-high 11 points.

In the 7th grade division, All-Ohio Red ran through field with little resistance on Saturday. Their first victim, a National Select team based out on Maryland, but loaded with nationally ranked talent. Some of the talent included: Team Takeover’s Terrence Williams, and Tyler Brelsford, Tyrese Jenkins, Sche Evans, Gerard Mungo, Jordan Beckett, the Oakland Soldiers’ Shemar Morrow and Devin Hightower (6th graders). Despite their collection of talent, National Select was no match for All-Ohio Red, who went on to collect an impressive 58-34 win. Although National Select was up 5-2 early, a 17-2 run to close the first half pretty much set the table for the win. Terrence Williams led National Select with 13 points and 12 rebounds and Tyler Brelsford added 7 points. There were no point totals for All-Ohio, but Sidney’s Andre Gordon and Columbus’ Jeremiah Francis were reported to have been the standouts in the game. All-Ohio would continue to win, and will face We All Can Go early on Sunday morning. National Select won their second pool game against VAC Air Attack 62-56, then made a run through the Sliver division bracket and will face The Family Sunday morning.

Championship Sunday should feature some very competitive games. I hope to check out the action in some of the younger divisions.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

King James Shooting Stars Classic-Day 1 Report

Trejan Didier, Seth Goodson & Alex Heath
The King James Shooting Stars Classic in Akron, Ohio has been a premier event for many years, and the 2014 edition appears that it will live up to that grand tradition. On Friday night a number of Ohio-based teams were in action. I arrived in Akron in time to catch the game between Ohio’s Another Level and Indy Speiece Heat Red (2018). Although Another Level would race to 6-0 lead, and lead 11-6 by the 11:05 mark in the opening half, Indy’s superior size and skill would start to pay dividends, and Indy would later close the lead to 14-10 with about 9 minutes left. By halftime, Speice held a 29-20 lead.  In the second half, Speice would capture then later extend the lead to-29-49 with 7:55 left in the game. By the time the horn sounded, the Heat was ahead 35-59.  The star of the game for Indy was Trejean Didier (6’1 SG Ft Wayne) who paced his team with 9 points. Didier was productive at both getting to the rim and knocking down the outside jumper. Alex Heath (5’3 PG Euclid) was a standout for Another Level, and although he did not put up big numbers, he did a good job of penetrating and finding open teammates.

Ed Lysh’s Buckeye Prep team got off to a great start to the tune of a 56-17 blowout win over Illinois Speed Black. From what I understand, the outcome of the game was never in doubt, as Buckeye Prep jumped out to a big lead and never looked back.  The leading scorer in the game was Gahanna’s Seth Goodson who finished with 12 points, followed by Garret Tipton (10), Teon Jennings (10) and Chase Rankin (9).  Next up for Buckeye Prep is Tier 1 Sports Tomorrow’s action should be competitive, as pool play concludes and the first 2 rounds of bracket play tips off.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stars Shine at All-Star Saturday Event

Payton, Hunter, Cravaack, Hickman & Palmer were All Standouts
On Saturday, the 16th edition of the annual All-Star Saturday event tipped off at the Bruce Howard Recreation Center in Columbus. The weather was perfect for the Easter egg hunt that preceded the 5 all-star games, and the talent for the middle school and high school games was top notch. Although the event has traditionally been more of a local event, for the second straight year players from other areas of the state participated in the event.

The middle school game was very competitive and was won by the West squad who defeated the East 69-62. The leading scorer in the game was Isaiah “Sleepy” Payton who shot his way to a game-high 15 points and MVP honors. Right behind him in scoring for the West was Thomas Hickman (10), Trey Bumgardner (10), Garrett Tipton (9) and Isaiah Spellman (9). The East squad was led in scoring by Jack Cravaack who scored a team-high 13 points, followed by Deondre Palmer (11) and Seth Goodson (8). Jerome Hunter only scored 6 points, but 2 of those points came on a break away dunk over an opponent that got the standing room only crowd on their feet. It was a big time play that established Hunter as a serious prospect going forward.

Dymiere Finch-Poses with Chris & Richard Crockett & MVP Trophy
The boys high school game was another vey competitive contest as many of central Ohio’s top seniors took the floor.  Although the East led for most of the game, by the time the horn sounded the West squad was ahead of the East 90-79. Dymiere Finch’s (Walnut Ridge) game-high 22 points was the high, and was good enough to garner him the MVP trophy. Charles Holland (East) added another 19 points in the win, while South’s Chris Byrd paced the East with 12 points. Behind him in scoring were Gahanna’s Manny Powell and Mario Davidson (Mansfield Senior) both of whom finished with 11 points apiece. In the first-ever girls high school game a Sierra Harley led West squad defeated the East team 35-30. Harley led all scorers with 17 points.

Sierra Harley Grabs MVP Hardware
All in all it was a great day of basketball, and the many fans in attendance seemed to really enjoy themselves. Congratulations to Richard Crockett, Capital Transportation and his many volunteers for sponsoring a fantastic event!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

All-Star Saturday Returns for Year 16

For the 16th consecutive year, Capital Transportation’s All-Star Saturday will tip off on Saturday April 19th at the Bruce Howard Recreation Center (2505 N. Cassidy Ave) in Columbus. As has become a tradition with this popular event, the day’s festivities will begin with a community Easter Egg Hunt, followed by a series of all-star basketball games in several age groups. DJ City from Power 107.5 will be returning this year to add his mix of hot music and comedy. Those who have attended the event in the past know how highly anticipated this event has become. All festivities are free to the public and include free food, drinks, face painting and many other fun activities for the kids.

Make no mistake, All-Star Saturday is more than just an Easter Egg Hunt, it’s also about competitive basketball as well. Five games will tip off immediately after the Easter Egg Hunt starting with the 6-8 year olds, followed by the 9-11 year olds, the middle school game (1:00pm), the first ever girls high school game (2:30pm) then the boys high school game (3:30). The Buckeye Prep Report has again been asked to select the rosters for the middle and high school games. Participation in the games is totally free, and each player will receive a nice award and a game t-shirt.

For the second year, Victor “Coach Vic” Dandridge has assembled the high school rosters. This event has always attracted the top players from central Ohio. Some of the past players who have participated in the games include: BJ Mullins, Jamel Cornley, Yancy Gates, Elijah Allen, Devon Moore, Jarred Sullinger, Trey Burke, Stevie Taylor, Rob Brandenburg and Elijah Macon. The following are the rosters for the boys high school game:

East All-Stars: Many Powell (Gahanna), Akil Cornish (Africentric), Jahmal Hughes (Eastmoor), Chris Byrd (South), Javon Bess (Gahanna), Babe Murphy (Licking Heights), Shamonty  Manning (Eastmoor), Kenny Sloan (Northland), Donovyn Benson (Mansfield Senior), Brandon Manley (Bloom Caroll), Nate Jameson (Eastmoor) & Mario Davison (Mansfield Senior). Coach: Robbie Taylor.

West All-Stars:  Shamar Waugh (Northland), Corey Howard (Gahanna), Brandon Paschal (Walnut Ridge), Dymiere Finch (Walnut Ridge), Charles Holland  (West), Alex Stephens (Delaware Hayes), Ronnie Williams (Brookhaven), Chris Harris (Toledo Scott), Nate Allen (Toledo Browser) & Fadil Robinson (Toledo Browser). Coach: Chris Crockett.

The middle school game continues to attract elite talent from central Ohio and beyond. This year, the following players will be participating in the middle school game:

East All-Stars: Corey Baker, Seth Goodson, Jack Cravaack, Keaton Upshaw, Donnie Plamer, EJ Williams, Colin Woodside, Tion Jennings, Chase Rankin, Malique Lyshe, BJ Patrick & Brice Todd. Coach: Demarkio Lyshe.

West All-Stars: Darius Quisenberry, Cameron Carlisle, Garrett Tipton, Ross Ryan, Isaiah Speelman,  Isaiah "Sleepy" Payton, TheRon Jennings, Thomas Hickman, BJ Miller, Tripp Hopkins & Eli Hall. Coach: Stevie Taylor

Although the event will showcase some of the top high school and middle school players in the state, the games are really about having fun and just enjoying the festivities. If you are in town and want to see some of Ohio’s top young players, make your way over to the Bruce Howard Recreation Center and check out the action!