CBC Runs to Rumble in the Bronx Finals
The seventeen-and-under field at the Rumble in the Bronx Tournament included 44 teams, 11 pools, and 9 clubs from New England. Of those nine only one, the New England Playaz, received the first seed in their pool.
The snub obviously lit a fire under the Connecticut Basketball Club as they dominated their pool, winning all three games by 20+ points, including their Saturday afternoon match-up with Sidiki Johnson and the Metro Hawks, a Nike sponsored team from New York who recently went 7-7 in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.
Andre Drummond came alive against the Metro Hawks, dominating Johnson from the very first play of the game when the six-foot-nine two-hundred-and-thirty pound big man attempted to take it right at Drummond’s body inside the paint and literally bounced right off him.
After knocking off the Metro Hawks, CBC earned a bye in the opening round of bracket play, and returned on Sunday morning for a match-up with the New England Playaz. With both teams missing multiple starters, the game turned into a defensive contest. CBC opened with a 7-0 run and took an 18-12 lead into halftime while the Playaz opened with a 12-0 run to start the second half and take control of the game. Kaleb Tarczewski and Markus Kennedy led the way for the Playaz, outplaying the CBC frontline throughout much of the game, and leading the second half surge. But Tavon Allen proved to be the difference down the stretch as he caught fire to lead CBC to a hard fought win and a spot in the semi-finals.
In the semi’s CBC faced off against the New York Panthers with NBA player and New York City legend Rafer “Skip to My Lou” Alston on the sidelines. CBC got strong play from their frontline in the early going as a Dennis Levene dunk along the sideline over top of an unsuspecting Panthers big man brought the crowd to their feet and Vince Van Nes showed some developing toughness finishing in traffic and rebounding above the rim. But playing virtually 8-5 down the stretch thanks to your typical dose of NYC home court officiating, CBC looked doomed when Andre Drummond fouled out with his team trailing by 12 and three minutes left to play on the clock.
Nonetheless, CBC would come storming back, utilizing their full court defensive pressure to force turnovers and capitalizing on the Panthers’ inability to make free-throws. Allen, Kris Dunn, Greg Langston, and Phil Gaetano all hit big three-pointers and with just 20 seconds remaining CBC had evened the score.
On the next possession, the Panthers would earn another trip to the free-throw line and pull ahead by two, giving CBC one last possession with ten seconds left. Phil Gaetano brought the ball up the floor and surprised Maryland bound point guard Sterling Gibbs with a strong drive to the basket that forced the Panthers to foul him hard to prevent the easy lay-up. Gaetano knocked down both attempts to force overtime.
Langston, who had a terrific overall weekend, drew first blood in overtime by flashing to the middle of the Panthers defense and scoring through contact in the lane. CBC would never again trail as the Panthers were deflated from there on out and fell 73-67.
Following the emotion of their semi-final win, already missing Freddie Wilson and Brandon Sherrod, and losing Levene for the final game, CBC entered the finals with East Coast Elite fatigued and under-manned.
The game went back and forth for all 32 minutes with 6’11” big man Malcolm Gilbert making big defensive contributions inside the paint and sniper guard A.J. English putting points on the board. Ultimately, East Coast Elite would hold on for a 63-58 championship and the Rumble in the Bronx championship.
Despite the loss, the weekend was an obvious success for CBC who saw Tavon Allen, Kris Dunn, Phil Gaetano, Dennis Levene, Vince Van Nes, Mark Mallory, and Greg Langston all star at various points throughout the weekend while Andre Drummond showed flashes of his incredible talent.
Other Rumble News from Late Saturday and Sunday
• CBC and the Playaz were the only New England teams to win their pool in the u17 bracket. The Playaz absolutely destroyed the Juice All-Stars on Saturday night, blowing them out by 40 points. Incoming Brewster Academy sharp-shooter Max Hooper had a terrific day on Saturday.
• Connecticut Elite came out of their pool in the u16 division and gave the New York Gauchos all they could handle in the quarterfinals before eventually falling by three. James Jennings rose to the challenge of his individual match-up with Javon Thomas and dropped 32 points on the highly ranked city guard.
• Bridgton Academy guard Dashaun Wiggins was impressive for the Panthers this weekend, showing a versatile scoring game off both the catch and the dribble.
• Prep products Derrick Wilson and Angel Nunez are both running with the New York Gauchos u17 team and have obviously been spending time in the weight room as Wilson is even more chiseled then he was this past season and Nunez starting to expand his previously lanky frame.