|NEO Shooting Stars-8th Grade Champions|
Malcolm Walters’ 2nd ranked NEO Shooting Stars squad may have stumbled in pool play of the Buckeye Prep Summer Showdown on Saturday with an upset loss to the #8th ranked Ohio Bulldogs (58-52), but on Sunday, the Cleveland-based team went on a run that did not end until they had claimed the championship with a 49-41 win over the Rebels. NEO’s trek to the title included wins over Miller Factory and a very scrappy and Mark Wise-led R4L in the semi-finals. Playing well for Walters’ team was Grant Huffman who was tied as the leading scorer with 9 points. Isaiah Kennedy finished with 9 points followed by Darion Henry who added 8 points. It’s important to note that Darion Henry’s weekend-long performance garnered him MVP honors. For the weekend, Devontae Blanton was a monster starting with the opening game when dominated to the tune of 17 points. The Rebels have had a fantastic spring and summer, which has included numerous tournament titles, many of which can be attributed to the outstanding play of Garvin Clarke and Nick Ferguson. This past weekend, the Rebels were rolling with a bolstered roster that included John Hugley and Montori Foster Jr., both of whom made big time contributions. In the championship game, Garvin Clarke led all scores with a game-high 12 points, followed by Foster who finished with 10 markers.
The states of Ohio and Michigan have been fierce competitors for many years on the college gridiron; however, on Sunday, the 2 states battled it out for hardwood bragging rights. Chalk this one up to “the state up north,” as Keon Henderson’s Detroit Doughboys claimed the 7th grade championship with a close 47-46 win over Marty Finta’s All-Ohio Red squad. This game was close from the opening tip with both teams playing with depleted rosters. At the end of the day, the dynamic duo of Pierre Brooks and Keon Henderson proved to be too much for All-Ohio, as the pair led their team in scoring with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Leading the way for All-Ohio were Alex Williams and Isaiah May, both of whom finished with 11 points. Behind them were Wil Sizer (10 points) and Brent Walker (9 points).
We wish we could report that the 6th grade championship game was a nail bitter that took 3 over times to complete, but that was not the case, as Paul McMillian’s #3 ranked All-Ohio Red squad totally dominated the #8th ranked Lima Gators 52-16. Although the Gators made a nice run and improved their reputation with their play this past weekend, they had no answer for Paul McMillian IV who exploded for a game-high 16 points. The only player to finish in double digits, McMillian was unstoppable to the rim. Too big, too strong and too crafty best described McMillian’s play on Sunday.
The 5th grade championship game proved to be another blowout, as Drew Lavender’s #2 ranked All-Ohio team had little trouble getting by a scrappy and #7th ranked MVP Dynasty 58-25. In the end, All-Ohio’s defensive pressure was just too much for the Dayton-based Dynasty to handle. All-Ohio enjoyed balanced scoring, with 3 players finishing with double digits. Davion Bridges led all scorers with 13 points, followed by Bedi Lori and Jade Cunningham who both finished with 12 points. The lone bright spot for MVP Dynasty was Dre’sean Roberts who finished with a game-high 15 points. Although small in numbers, by most accounts, to 2016 Summer Showdown was a complete success, and will continue to grow over the next few years. Also, based on what we saw this past weekend, a number of players raised their stock and will be able to take advantage of some upcoming opportunities to develop their games and increase their exposure! Congratulations to all of the teams that participated in this year’s event.