Providence Jam Fest Sunday Recap
Several of New England’s most accomplished programs found themselves in contention on championship Sunday at the Providence Jam Fest. Here is a recap of some of the headlines:
BABC Takes u15 Title
Dominant is the best word to describe BABC’s run through the fifteen-and-under field. Their margin of victory on Saturday was simply staggering and they weren’t far behind on Sunday as they easily defeated ANU Generation in the quarterfinals, pulled away from one New Heights team in the semi-finals, and blew out another New Heights team in the final.
Their full court defense was absolutely suffocating throughout the tournament as players like LQuan Arnum, Makhai Mason, Aaron Calixte, and Xavier Garcia all forced the tempo on the opposition. Meanwhile Kamari Robinson and Kenny Ramos were equally active on the interior while Bobby Ahearn provided a low post scoring threat.
The nucleus of the team is really the trio of Wayne Selden, Goodluck Okonoboh, and Rene Castro who are all capable of stepping up to lead the team at any point. Selden and Castro take turns lead the offense while Okonoboh is the last line of defense on the opposite end with his mobility and shot blocking prowess.
Expressions Reach u17 Final
After a disappointing finish last weekend in Middletown, Expressions reloaded and came to play this weekend with Ricardo Ledo and Khem Birch back in action and Michael Carter-Williams making his season debut. They scored a very impressive win over the Connecticut Basketball Club in the semi-finals as they played with good energy for all 32 minutes and poured points on the board with sixteen made three-pointers in the game.
In a game that was billed as a match-up between Birch and Andre Drummond, Ledo stole the show. We said on Saturday that when he is making shots, he is virtually un-guardable and that was certainly the case in this game as he poured in 27 points and seven three-pointers.
Also impressive was Jules Tavares, who made his customary athletic drives while also shooting the ball well from the perimeter, and Khem Birch who continued to be a game changer on the defensive end as well as on the offensive glass.
Expressions’ run would ultimately come to an end in the final with the Westchester Hawks taking the advantage in the final few minutes to score a slim victory. Ledo was again the leader for Expressions with 23 in the final.
Three of Four in u17 Semis
Three of the four semifinalists in the u17 division came from New England as Expressions and CBC squared off on one side of the bracket and the Westchester Hawks faced the Connecticut Knights on the other.
The Knights certainly had a Cinderella run this weekend as they continue to prove their worth and defy expectations. Tylon Smith continues to be one of the most consistent scoring guards in the field while Hartford native Mike Anderson also starred throughout the weekend showing a variety of tools. Cyrus James and Mike Deffley helped to make names for themselves as James is a mobile and athletic big man who can change the game on both ends and Deffley a skilled guard with a good three-point stroke and tight handle.
The Knights opened bracket play with a win over Bay State Magic, only to set up a match-up with New Heights in the round of 16. After the Knights scored the upset they moved onto the quarterfinals where they knocked off the Long Island Lightning to advance to the semis.
Tavon Allen was the story of the weekend for CBC as he had his best performance in recent memory. Not only was Allen a consistent scoring presence throughout the weekend but he demonstrated versatility in the ways he could put the ball in the basket as well as a consistently high motor.
Playaz Take Silver Chip
After being upset by the Granite State Jayhawks on Saturday, the Playaz appeared determined to make a statement on Sunday. Getting production from a variety of places, the Playaz weren’t seriously challenged on Sunday as they defeated CBC Black, Connecticut Select II, and Mountain Basketball to win the silver bracket. Aaron Cosby and Kaleb Tarczewski stood out in the championship game as Cosby continued to defend the opposition’s best perimeter scorer while also putting in points of his own while Tarczewski showed flashes of his tremendous long term potential by being especially aggressive inside the paint.
Breakers Reach u16 Semis
The Rhode Island Breakers scored a win over the Mass Rivals in the quarterfinals to advance to the semis of the u16 gold bracket before running into Hoop Heaven. Rob Hazard was the offensive catalyst for the Breakers as he has a lethal three-point shot to go along with the handle to breakdown his defender.