|Ohio Hoopsters-8th Grade Champions|
Championship Sunday of the 2014 Buckeye Prep Invitational Tournament featured down to the wire action and produced several interesting story lines VJ Sports was the last team added to the tournament and only got in after a last minute cancelation. They were rumored to have good talent, and the Cleveland-based team did not disappoint. After a great weekend of basketball VJ Sports left Columbus with the 11th grade title and a lot of respect. In the championship game, VJ Sports downed All-Ohio Black 65-60. MVP honors went to Montell McCray (6’6 C Cleveland Central Catholic) and the All-Tournament team included Simon Texidor, Mike Parks, Deshawn Jackson and Ryan Hoying.
The Columbus-based NOVA Village made a great run that ended with the 10th grade title after a win over All-Ohio Black. Jason Carter took home the MVP trophy and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Kyran McClure, Daylan Haynie, Clay Guillozet and Warren Yates. Hidden Gems Black took down All-Ohio White (59-48) to claim the 9th grade championship. Reece Strohm was selected MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament by Jay Joseph, Carson Vanlynn, Jonathan Williams and Sgawn Christian.
The 8th grade division was arguably the most competitive in the tournament and hosted all but 1 of the top teams in the state. Lamonte Tillman’s Ohio Hoopsters Future was the last team standing after a 61-63 win over SMAC U. Ross Ryan was selected as MVP, while Thomas Hickman, Cory Baker Grayson Green and Jaret Pallotta all made the All-Tournament Team.
|Team Teague-7th grade Champions & Runner-ups|
The Indiana-based Team Teague dominated the tournament in the elementary and middle school divisions. Prior to the tournament Program Director Kim Felder boasted that he would come to Columbus and “take all of your trophies,” and that’s just what he did, winning the 4th-7th grade championships. The 7th grade White team defeated their “A” team 65-44; the 6th grade team got by OBC/Dayton Swish 49-41; the 5th grade team squeaked by the Mid-Ohio Pumas 58-56; and the 4th grade squad beat the Lima Gators 58-32.
I would be remised if I didn’t mention the stellar play of Jalen Blackmon. His bother James recently competed in the McDonalds All-American Game, and from what we saw this past weekend, Jalen may eventually suit up for the prestigious game in a few years. Blackman shot the cover off the ball as he hit big shot after big shot to lead his team to the championship. Not only can he shoot the rock, has a has a great handle, can get to the rack and find open teammates. He is poised, confident and a fiery competitor. A joy to watch!
I also have to give props to Coach Sam Anderson and his OBC/Dayton Swish team. On their trek to the championship game OBC had to take down a couple of the state’s top teams. Their runner-up finish in the Buckeye Prep and their win at the Nike Grassroots makes them one of the top 6th grade teams in Ohio. Thanks to all of the teams and players who participated in the tournament, and congratulations to the 8 champions.