BABC Wins National Championship
Orlando, Florida - The Boston Amateur Basketball Club defeated All Ohio Red on Friday afternoon in the finals of the AAU sixteen-and-under national championships.
The win marks the thirteenth championship in BABC’s storied history, earning distinction among the most elite AAU clubs in the country.
The New England Recruiting Report was in Orlando, Florida all week to take in the action as BABC earned big win after big win en route to the finals.
Friday’s championship game was a fitting conclusion, as BABC founder and head coach Leo Papile led his club to a win over last year’s defending champions behind the contributions of Nerlens Noel and Georges Niang, two players who had been dominant all week long.
Noel established himself as one of the top players in the national class of 2013 this week and perhaps the very best shot-blocker in the entire country. But his best performance may have come in the final ninety seconds of Friday’s final, as he was a virtual one man zone, blocking four shots, including two open lay-ups, to protect BABC’s one possession lead.
Only moments after sprinting back into a play to block a break-away lay-up off the backboard, Noel scored two more consecutive blocks with 1:30 and 1:20 left to play in the game and his team leading 52-49. The first was what appeared to be another easy lay-in until Noel flew in from out of nowhere to swipe the ball away. When All-Ohio Red tracked down the loose ball and chose to attack the rim, the Everett native would again turn them away.
But perhaps the play of the game, came with just 15 seconds left to play in the game and BABC holding a 55-53 lead, All Ohio’s star swingman Jacob Kretzer made a strong drive to get past his defender on the perimeter and took the ball strong to the rim, Noel rotated over and held his ground, elevating with perfect timing to spike the ball back to the floor with incredible force.
Jaylen Brantley tracked down the loose ball and made one of two free-throws, giving BABC a 56-53 lead, and when All-Ohio’s bid to draw a foul on the other end came up empty, BABC had won their thirteenth national championship.
Offensively, Noel had some flashes of brilliance this week, proving himself to be a truly exceptional passer from the low post, coming up with all sorts of bouncy dunks around the rim, and showing glimpses of his offensive development with jump hooks with both hands and quick spin moves.
However, the offensive star this week for BABC was Georges Niang. To state it plainly, the undersized power forward scored the ball virtually every time he touched it around the paint, working hard to establish deep post position and showing an incredibly soft touch with both hands on a variety of different maneuvers. In the final, Niang took over the game in the third quarter, scoring 8 straight points for BABC as on-looking college coaches could only shake their head at his tremendous efficiency.
While Noel and Niang were the stars both on the week as well as in the championship game, BABC’s depth was certainly a key to their success. Domonique Bull put together a string of impressive performances serving as the team’s primary creator off the dribble, and being the team’s offensive standout at times. Jaylen Brantley continued to provide composure with the basketball and knock down shooting from the three-point arc while Rene Castro proved his playmaking ability at the national level. Jake Layman changed games defensively and showed flashes of his vast potential as someone who is really just beginning to realize how good he could be.
Shaquille Jones contributed all week and made a crucial play in the last minute of the championship game, saving an errant pass that would have resulted in a turnover and in one motion hitting Brantley with a 60 foot baseball pass, resulted in a huge four point swing.
Frontcourt depth was a key factor for BABC as well and Andrew Chrabascz and Egi Gjikondi both stepped up at various points, with Chrabascz consistently battling inside the paint and rebounding outside of his area and Gjikondi making notable contributions in both the quarterfinals and the final.
Ultimately, the pieces all came together this week for BABC as the deep and talented team had various players step up at different points, shared the basketball, and did it on the defensive end by forcing turnovers and controlling the tempo of the game.
The end result was an incredible 13th national championship for Leo Papile’s club as they once again proved themselves the very best in the country.