West Coast Recap 2: Rivals 16s Take Silver in L.A.
In Los Angeles, the Rivals were reportedly playing some of the best basketball of their season after advancing to the Super 16 of the annual Double Pump Best of the Summer tournament, which annually features many of the top programs on the west coast.
After going 3-1 in Las Vegas, the Rivals opened with five straight wins in Los Angeles and advancing to the tournament’s Round of 16.
The Rivals began the tournament by winning their pool, sweeping Branch West Elite, Colorado Shining Stars, and IEBP. Then, after defeating California’s Villa Park in the opening round of bracket play, the Rivals scored a huge 79-59 win over the prestigious Pump N’Run Elite team from California before falling by a narrow margin in the round of 16.
Jordan Laguerre was his typical dominant self scoring the ball from the perimeter as head coach Vin Pastore used words like “amazing” to describe Laguerre’s combination of aerial acrobatics finishing around the rim and deep jumpers from behind the three-point line.
The Rivals finished their west coast swing with a record of 10-2 without their star forward Zach Auguste, who went down with a broken wrist earlier in the month. But Scott King has stepped up in a big way and been the beneficiary of the increased opportunity. His stock continued to rise in L.A. after netting 24 points in one game and drilling a pair of NBA threes against Pump n’Run. King now claims offers from conferences as high as the Atlantic 10 and is returning home with a bunch of additional interest from west coast schools.
Ryan Canty was the standout against Villa Park as he threw down some of his signature dunks while scoring a team high 18 points. Cedric Kuakumensah added a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds against Villa Park while grabbing 15 rebounds and scoring 11 points against Pump n’Run while Joe Mussachia contributed 16 points with a three-pointer, a couple of mid-range pull-ups, and some offensive put-backs.
Ryan Romich has been a staple of consistency inside as he pulled in double-doubles in four of the Rivals’ five wins this week.
The Rivals 16s also starred in Los Angeles, going 2-1 in pool play with their only loss coming to the eventual tournament champions, Reach Legends from Michigan. Following the loss the Rivals went on to capture the championship in the silver bracket, defeating Aim High in the championship game and finishing the tournament with a 6-1 record.
In the finals, Alec Brennan continued his physical play controlling the boards and blocking shots. Brennan tallied 12 points and 15 rebounds on the evening. Steve Haladyna was the spark for the Rivals the entire tournament as he continued to come up with lose ball after lose ball and had some huge put backs on the offensive end. Ryan Hartung was the leading scorer for the Rivals with 20 points as he knocked down the big three every time Aim High seem to make a run. Sam Dowden (14 points) played extremely well knocking down shots and getting to the rim and finishing. Derek Collins showed that he is a complete player that can score the ball in a variety of ways including knocking down the three, using the pull-up, and finishing around the rim. Collins also had a couple of length of the court bounce passes that were on the money.
Other contributors to the Silver Medal were Eric Davis who was the Rivals play maker, Joel Barroa who athleticism at the wing was critical at both ends of the court, and Mike Carbone who knocked down critical shots for the Rivals throughout the tournament.