Orlando Thursday Recap
The BABC scored two huge wins on Thursday, defeating a highly talented South Kings Gold team in the quarterfinals and then knocking off Rising Stars Gold in the semi-finals, to earn the right to compete for a national championship on Friday.
While Nerlens Noel has taken Orlando by storm, he got plenty of help today. Georges Niang was phenomenal throughout the day, and especially important against the South Kings, a team made up of long and strong athletes. Even when giving up as much as three inches, Niang made absolutely everything inside the paint, showing a complete offensive repertoire with his full complement of pivots, counters, and finishes.
Also impressive against the Kings was Jake Layman, who came off the bench to spark BABC for the second consecutive day. Layman simply makes things happen atop BABC’s pressure and in such a physically competitive game, his athleticism stood out as it also allowed him to make plays going to the rim.
Another player who stood out with his ability to make plays in such a high level game was Rene Castro. The rising sophomore arrived in Orlando just in time for the quarterfinals and made a quick impact as he was able to get the ball into the teeth of the defense and create offense.
The semi-finals brought a match-up against the Rising Stars, a highly skilled and intelligent bunch that looked to space the floor with shooters and stretch BABC out.
Noel was up to his usual tricks in this game, putting together another shot blocking festival including one that he blocked so hard that it bounced off the ground and back above the pack of players on the court.
Regardless of which specific players were stepping up, defense has continued to be the key to BABC’s success as they have held opponents to an average of 36 points per game this week.
Tomorrow’s final will be played at 6pm on center court at the Milkhouse at Disney’s Wide World of Sports as BABC takes on All Ohio Red, who knocked out Boo Williams in the quarterfinals and the Arkansas Wings in the semifinals.
The BABC/All Ohio Red final is also a rematch from the semifinals in last week’s Super Showcase, a game in which All Ohio took by a five point margin with Noel and Castro out of the line-up. Should BABC claim the victory, it would mark the club’s 13th national championship.
In the u17 AAU nationals, CBC scored two more blowout wins in the opening round of the championship bracket, defeating Team NJABC 87-55 and then the Connecticut Kingz 57-41. They became the sole New England program to advance to the Round of 32 as Connecticut Select, Bay State Magic, Granite State Jayhawks, and Middlesex Magic were all knocked into consolation brackets with losses on Friday, after qualifying for the championship bracket with their pool play results.
Things get much more difficult for CBC on Friday as they begin the day with a match-up against the Georgia Stars and standout point guard Kedran Johnson.