Expressions Freshmen Win King James Classic
While most New England teams took the weekend off for the Easter holiday, Expressions Elite sent their u15 team to Ohio for the prestigious King James Shooting Stars Classic.
It ended up being well worth the trip as Expressions came out of a loaded freshmen bracket (including D.C. Assault, All-Ohio Red, New York Gauchos, CIA Bounce, CP3 All-Stars, Derrick Rose All-Stars, and the Michigan Mustangs) as the champions.
The team’s three guard tandem of Patrick Benzan, Jalen Adams, and Kahari Beaufort proved to be too much for most teams, and the big man trio of Jeremy Miller, Drew Shea, and Aaron Falzon put the squad over the top.
After crushing the Michigan Titans and OIC Ball Dynasty of Ohio in pool play, Expressions faced the Derrick Rose All-Stars in the First Round of the Gold Bracket and came away with a 60-57 win. Next up was national power Team Melo out of Baltimore, who tried to control the game with their full court pressure defense until to have it broken at will as Expressions took a decisive 56-42 victory.
A formidable opponent laid waiting in the quarterfinals in Mid America Elite, a team comprised of the best players from Northern Kentucky and Illinois. The Expressions big men held their own against an opposing frontline that started at 6’11” and 6’8” but it was the guard play that pulled out a big double overtime win. Jalen Adams was the standout in this one while Patrick Benzan played hero, hitting a jumper over the opposing 6'11" center to force overtime. It took two extra sessions but ultimately Expressions advanced to the semis with a 60-57 win.
The final four brought a match-up with one of the nation’s most prestigious programs in All Ohio Red but Expressions rose to the challenge, clicking on all cylinders and controlling the game from the tip while Kahari Beaufort scored a game high 20 points.
The challenge was no less daunting in the final as Expressions faced the host club, King James Shooting Stars, whose smallest starter came in at 6’3”. With the team’s three-guard line-up continuing to pace the offense and the big men protecting the paint and controlling the defensive glass, Expressions opened a double digit lead late in the first half. Jeremy Miller’s shot-blocking sparked transition run-outs on three consecutive possessions early in the second to push the lead to 18. Ultimately, Expressions secured a 64-50 outcome for the championship while Miller finished with a triple double of 12 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots.