Mass Rivals win Adidas Gauntlet championship
The Mass Rivals were crowned the champions of the 2016 Adidas Gauntlet circuit on Saturday by defeating Team Loaded Virginia in the finals of the Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The Rivals run began on Thursday with an opening 89-54 win over Just Win. Makai Ashton-Langford led the way with 22 points and 7 rebounds while Wabissa Bede and Tamenang Choh chipped in with 14 and 12 respectively. Friday was a day of dominance from the Rivals as they scored three straight double figure wins over some of the top programs under the Adidas umbrella.
It began with a 79-52 blowout over the Atlanta Celtics. Ashton-Langford led the way again with 21 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds while Choh continued to anchor the interior with 13 points and 9 rebounds and Azar Swain chipped in with 11. Next came a 69-53 win over the Eric Gordon All-Stars, who featured the 2nd ranked player in the national class of 2018 Romeo Langford. Ashton-Langford continued his hot scoring with 26 more points while Swain had 12 points and 8 boards. Friday night's semi-finals saw the Rivals hold off Baltimore Elite. Ashton-Langford and Swain finished with 17 and 16 respectively while Aaron Wheeler also had his best offensive outing of the week with 11 points. The defensive effort was also key as the guards held ESPN 60 point guard Immanuel Quickley scoreless.
Saturday's final against Team Loaded was a rematch of the nationally televised final at last summer's Adidas Sumer Championships in Las Vegas. That was a game in which the Rivals built up an early first-half lead only to see it evaporate down the stretch. This year proved to be a different story though as they hung on to score some retribution with a 57-48 win. Swain had his best outing of the week in the final, finishing with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Ashton-Langford added 16 and 6.