Orlando - Monday Recap
Orland, Florida - Action was winding down in the 17u showcase and got underway in the 16u nationals at Disney's Wide World of Sports on Monday. The Granite State Warriors were the only New England squad still alive in the Super Showcase as they scored two wins on Monday to advance to the semifinals of the iron braket scheduled for early Tuesday morning. Here's a look at how the rest of Monday's local teams finished up in the showcase:
Expressions Elite, Quarterfinals, Silver Bracket - Expressions jumped out to an early lead before the Jersey Shore Warriors were able to slow down the temp of the game and eventually score a slim win. Chris Sherwood impressed in both games today showing good economy of motion in his halfcourt slashing game and putting big numbers up in the morning, but the guy who really impressed this afternoon was Khem Birch. It wasn't necessarily his stats, but instead the noticeable strides he has made within the last month, showing a bulked up physique and expanding face-up game.
Boston Warriors, Quarterfinals, Silver Bracket - Ousmane Drame's stock is rising quickly and the Warriors match-up with Team Takeover's B team drew virtually every program from the NEC as well as a handful of other division I schools. While the Warriors were unable to pull off the win, Drame's stock has certainly gone to a new level with three division I scholarship offers reportedly under his belt now.
Middlesex Magic, Round of 16, Bronze Bracket - The Pat Connaughton show drew roughly 50 college coaches this afternoon including ten division I head coaches and Notre Dame's Mike Brey. Connaughton responded with his latest 30 point game including a running three-pointer to beat the buzzer of regulation and force overtime as well as the first five points of the extra period. Unfortunately it wasn't enough as the Magic fell to Old Gold Dream Team.
CMAC Hawks, Quarterfinals, Copper Bracket - Cinderella danced late into the night on Monday as CMAC Hawks stayed alive early in the day with a win over Team Truth and then lost a heartbreaker 48-46 to the Georgia Hawks.
It almost wasn't fair watching BABC punish their first opponent in pool play, but they got their first real test of the nationals on Monday night as they faced a talented King James teams from Ohio. Holding only a four point lead at the half, the game would go down to the wire and not be decided until Jaylen Brantley came up with a key steal on the defensive end and converted the break-away lay-up. Nerlens Noel led the way with 26 points including some explosive dunks while Domonique Bull impressed as well, being efficiently creative with his dribble and making plays for himself and others.
We didn't get to see Connecticut Elite play personally as they were scattered at various gyms outside of the Disney Complex. But we'll get a good look at them tomorrow as they earned a spot in the gold bracket by going 3-0 on the day. Timajh Parker-Rivera was reportedly the star of the day, earning his first Big East scholarship offer from Seton Hall.
The Rhode Island Breaks had a tough day, going 0-3 in pool play, but almost scored a major upset inside the Milk House (the arena at the Wide World of Sports) against the New York Gauchos. While Rob Hazard continued to be the team's offensive sparkplug, Mike Neal was the read game changer as he blocked countless shots inside the paint and was a tremendous defensive force.