Reebok Summer Classic East Event Recap
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. - Though more teams will be at the Playaz Ball an hour up the road in the Garden State, a few New England teams played in the Summer Classic East event at Rider.
It didn't take long for a New England presence to be shown, as the Boston Warriors knocked off Team Philly in one of the first games of the tournament by a score of 79-77. Akeem Williams simply couldn't be stopped in the second half, as he scored 23 of his 33 points in the latter frame. Many of those points came on drives, as he often knifed to the basket and finished strong, while his jumper wasn't going like it normally is.
He certainly didn't do it alone, though. Alex Kershaw struggled for a lot of the game with his jumper, but got the game-winning field goal in the final seconds. James Rodriques also played well, scoring 11 points and helping to run the show.
The Warriors lost their next game to Cecil Kirk, in part because the Baltimore-based squad held down Williams at the offensive end. He scored just seven points and never really got on track.
The loss sent them into the silver bracket, but they rebounded to win their next game against the Brooklyn Ballers in coonvincing style, getting a big effort from Jeff Tagger, en route to a 95-69 decision over the Gym Rat Challenge Tournament champions. In the semi-finals of the silver bracket the Warriors then blew out the New Jersey All-Stars 86-64. Their dominance continued in the final as they came away with another big vicotry, knocking off Rise/Sam Rines 90-72 to win the silver bracket championship.
Williams averaged over 30 points per game in the Warriors' three games on Sunday, while Tagger averaged 24. Kershaw, Peter Lynch, and Archie Allen were also major contributors.
With several players elsewhere, including three at Hoop Mountain's Academic All-American Camp, Expressions had a skeleton crew for this event with their 17-under team. They played through much of Saturday, including a win over a good Jersey Shore Warriors squad on Friday night. Mike Marra struggled with his jumper early in the day, but he was hot against the Warriors as he made five three-pointers en route to 28 points. Luke Apfeld was the player he always is, always going full speed and making plays. Corey Wright Jr. had a good showing overall as well, not scoring a lot of points but generally running the team well.
Also, Connecticut Select's showing included a close win over the Jersey Shore Warriors on Friday. Alex Francis was the most impressive player for them, scoring 11 in that game and going for 16 in a loss to the Playaz later on. He was very active and made a lot of plays at both ends of the floor.
Expressions and Connecticut Select will be staying in New Jersey for the Joe Brown Memorial Tournament (formerly known as the Playaz Ball). They will be joined by several other New England teams there. Expressions and the Connecticut Basketball Club will be the only New England entries in the 16-under division there.
Phil Kasiecki is the managing editor for Hoopville. To read more of his work on college basketball and recruiting please visit www.hoopville.net.