|All-Ohio Phenom 2025 All-Ohio Nike Grassroots Champions|
We returned to the All-Ohio Nike Grassroots Tournament on Sunday to check out some 5th and 6th grade teams, and we had a chance to catch a couple of really competitive semi-finals and championship games. In the 5th grade division, we watched the Cincinnati-based Panther Elite get by All-Ohio White 38-33 in a quarterfinal game. We were really impressed with Jesse Eubanks (5’4”/C/2025/Cincinnati), who was too big and too strong to keep out of the paint or to keep from getting point blank range shots at the rim. Even when he missed his first shot, he easily grabbed the rebound and either finished with guys draped all over him or was fouled and sent to the free throw strip where he converted at a high rate. Eubanks led all scorers with 13 points. Later in the day, All-Ohio Red would easily dispatch Panther Elite to punch their ticket to the 5th grade championship game. In that game, Arness Lawson and RJ Bates were standouts.
The 5th grade championship was a barnburner as Jason Bates’ All-Ohio Red (AOR) faced off against Darryl Peterson’s nationally ranked All-Ohio Phenom (AOP) team. AOP would draw first blood and race out to a 5-0 lead. After converting a pair of free throws, Red would close the lead to 5-2. At about the 3.15 mark, the game was knotted at 10, before AOP re-took a 12-10 lead. Just prior to the break, Red’s Arness Lawson went down with what appeared to be an ankle injury, resulting in an AOP 6-0 spurt to run the score to 16-10 and take a 6-point lead into halftime.
In the second period, Lawson retuned to the game and Red converted a pair of free throws as part of a 4-0 run to cut the lead to 16-14. By midway through the second half AOP had extended their lead to 22-16 and would not look back from there. By the time the clock showed 00, Peterson’s team had secured a 30-18 victory and the 5th grade championship. Darryn Peterson led AOP in scoring with 9 points followed by Clay Harvey who added 8 points late. Steph Thomas, Russell Young, Reed Sims Jr., Arness Lawson and Mykell Murphy where all selected to the All-Tournament Team, while Darryn Peterson took home MVP honors. From what we saw on Sunday, All-Ohio Phenom should be our #1 ranked 5th grade team when we release are Power Rankings next week.
|Cincinnati Royals 2024 All-Ohio Nike Grassroots Tournament Champions|
After squeaking by the Lima Gators in the semifinals (47-45), the 2024 Cincinnati Royals found themselves face to face with Cleveland-based Marshall Warriors who advanced to the final game with a 43-35 win over All-Ohio Red in a semi-final game. The Warriors would get on the board first as part of a 3-0 start, but the Royals would tie the game at 3 before mounting a 10- run with 13.21 left in the first half. About halfway through the first period, Cincinnati had run the lead to16-7, then finish the half up comfortably at 33-16. Although the Warriors would start the second period with a 6-0 run (33-22), A Branson Copas lay-up would halt the run, followed by a Cincinnati 5-0 answer. The Warriors would make one last stand with a run that cut the lead to 8 p oints (39-31); however, the Royal’s execution and balanced scoring was just too much, and they went on to claim the 6th grade title with a lopsided 54-30 win. Jaylan Rigdom, Travis Kroman, Ryan Woods, Calvin Little and Darryl Bush all made the All-Tournament Team, while Branson Copas was selected as the game’s MVP. You can expect a few potential rematches between some of these teams as they will be participating in the Buckeye Prep Invitational April 13th-15th!