- Joel Francisco
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Super 64 17U Open Championship:
Grassroots Canada Elite 88, Compton Magic 79 2OT
Grassroots Canada entered the adidas Super 64 17U title game looking to become the first Canadian travel ball program to win a major summer AAU title. The Compton Magic had their own title aspirations, but clearly did not play their best game of the five-day tournament.
Still the Magic had all the momentum after guard Roberto Nelson nailed a three-pointer with 8.8 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 68-68. The Magic had trialed by nine points (53-44) with 6:30 remaining, but Grassroots Canada didn't fold in the first five-minute extra period.
"Don't give up…they might have the momentum but our coach told us we could to get it back," remarked tournament MVP Tristan Thompson, who scored 19 points and nailed some clutch free throws in both overtime periods. "He told us don't think about the score."
Grassroots Canada even had a chance to win the game at the end of the first overtime, but missed an uncontested lay-up at the buzzer with the scored tied at 75-75. The Magic's chances to win the game were severely hurt when center Joe Burton picked up his sixth foul and was disqualified from the game only 30 seconds into the second overtime. Burton had scored 23 points and was the only player on the Magic's roster making any impact on the interior. The Compton Magic only scored four points in the second three-minute overtime while Grassroots Canada Elite put 13 points on the board to secure the win.
Most of those points came off free throws from Thompson or drives to the hoop by guards Jason Calliste and Junior Cadougan. That duo gave the Magic's defensive-minded guards more trouble than any other they faced at the tournament. Calliste scored a game-high 29 points while Cadougan, one of the most well-rounded guards in Las Vegas, capped off an excellent week with a 22-point performance.
"He [Cadougan] showed everyone he could play with the best guards in the country and lead his team to a major tournament title," Thompson remarked.
Nelson finished with a team-high 26 points for the Compton Magic, but he and the rest of the team looked completely drained near the end of the second overtime period. They went as far as a team could, but had come up just short against one of the most consistent teams at any of the three tournaments.
In the highly-anticipated semifinal match up against the Atlanta Celtics earlier in the day, the Compton Magic fell behind early but picked the defensive intensity in the second half to record a 96-87 victory.
The Celtics took a 27-16 lead as the outside shots of Andre Malone and Trae Golden were falling early. The Magic cut the lead to 27-22, but the Atlanta Celtics regained the momentum and took a 41-33 lead into halftime.
The tide of the game changed when the Magic's Shannon Sharpe was assigned to guard Golden. He stopped his deep penetration and the Celtics had a tougher time getting off a high percentage after the rest of the team followed Sharpe's lead.
A three-pointer by Roberto Nelson cut the lead to 59-57 and the Compton Magic took the lead at 64-63 on a big three-pointer by Justin Hawkins. On the next possession, Joe Burton whipped one of his signature outlet passes to a streaking Hawkins for a scoop lay-in and the Magic were in business. The lead eventually grew to ten points (74-64) but the Celtics, who played without bruiser Terrence Shannon, got back in the game behind Derrick Favors.
He showed everyone why he is the top 2009 prospect in the country, as he scored on a variety of baseline spin moves and dunks where he simply got off the ground too quickly for Burton or anyone else. When he threw down a power dunk off a missed free throw with 2:28 to play, the lead had been cut to 80-78 but the Celtics could get no closer. Favors finished with a game-high 33 points and five blocked shots. Golden finished with 13 points and Noel Johnson added nine points.
Nelson pumped in a team-high 28 points for the Compton Magic. He scored on a variety of shots around the paint, although against the trees of the Celtics he did have some of his signature pump moves blocked. Burton had some trouble with Favors on the defensive end, but he also made some nice offensive moves of his own and finished with 20 points. Hawkins netted 16 points and Sharpe nine points while the Magic also got a solid all-around effort on both ends of the floor from Xavier Thames. He finished with 17 points.
Grassroots Canada Elite advanced to the finals with a surprisingly easy 79-55 victory over Pump N Run Elite. Grassroots Canada was riding an emotional high after their quarterfinal victory over Seattle Rotary and were in complete control during this game.
Their lead was 42-28 at halftime and they never let up against a weary Pump N Run club. Junior Cadougan led the way with 22 points and Tristan Thompson had a solid game with 10 points. Christian Kabongo also played well, scoring 16 points for the victors.
Chase Tapley scored 19 points in a losing effort for Pump N Run Elite.
Main Event 17U Platinum Championship:
California Supreme 79, Houston Hoops 70
As expected, Houston Hoops played for the Platinum chip at the Main Event, taking on a talented California Supreme squad that squeaked by opponents during pool play. The Supreme put together a solid all-around effort in the title game and finally found their rhythm from the outside during the second half.
"I think it might have been fatigue," remarked Supreme point guard Gary Franklin, who nailed three second half three-pointers. "I think our team caught a second wind in the second half of the tournament."
Both teams had heavy legs and the jump shots were not falling early, but both teams kept firing away. Not until Franklin nailed a three with legs underneath him did California Supreme take its first lead at 15-14. The teams traded buckets for a majority of the first half until Andy Brown nailed a three pointer to give the Supreme a 38-31 lead. Houston Hoops' Jamal Fenton answered with a triple of his own and the score read 40-34 at halftime in favor of the California Supreme.
In the second half, the California Supreme extended its lead to double digits (46-36) with 13:15 left but Houston Hoops made one last push. When Tommy Mason-Griffin knocked in a jumper, the score was 51-48 with 8:45 remaining, but that's when Franklin made his mark.
He knocked down a triple to make the score 56-50 and his NBA range three-pointer a few possessions later made the score 63-53 with six minutes to go. Houston Hoops had its chances down the stretch, but they missed some free throws and were called for an untimely intentional foul for knocking Franklin into the scorer's table. Franklin knocked down both free throws to make the score 74-67 and the California Supreme was on their way to victory.
Franklin finished with a team-high 21 points, including four three-pointers and seven of eight made free throws. Jamaal Franklin, a Serrano of Phelan sleeper prospect that shined all week long, converted some big-time finishes around the rim and finished with 18 points. Brown, the team's glue man, scored 12 points.
"We started playing like a team," Brown said of his team's performances over the last two days of the tournament. "At the Peach Jam we played with seven players so we had to get used to each other."
California Supreme center Jeremy Tyler, who didn't check into the game until the 9:57 left in the first half and 11:57 in the second half, picked up two quick fouls trying to check Keith "Tiny" Gallon of Houston Hoops. He played a fairly smart defensive game the rest of the way but wasn't as aggressive on the boards as you would expect from such an elite level big. Tyler finished with 12 points on five of 12 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Gallon finished the tournament strong, canning seven of 14 free throws and eight of 14 free throws good for 23 points. He also grabbed 13 rebounds. Fenton finished with 12 points and Mason-Griffin scored eight.
The California Supreme played solid defense down the stretch to hold off a pesky Mac Irvin Fire club in the semifinals. Mac Irvin trialed 69-65 with the ball in its possession with just over a minute remaining, but couldn't get a good look at the basket.
California Supreme took control when Andy Brown came up with a steal at mid-court and went in for a lay-up after guard Gary Franklin had hit two free throws. That sequence gave the Californians a 73-65 lead and the Mac Irvin coaches informed their players not to foul in the last 30 seconds as the clocked winded down on a 75-65 game.
Gary Franklin and wing Jamaal Franklin led the way with 17 points each. Gary also dished off three assists and Jamaal came up with two steals. Jeremy Tyler also played a focused game, as he scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots. Brown contributed 14 points.
Reggie Smith was the only player to hit double figures for Mac Irvin Fire with 11 points.
In its semifinal contest, Houston Hoops had no problem with the Drew Gooden Soldiers, as the Texans rolled to a 80-55 victory. Six-foot-7 Augustine Rubit led a balanced attack with 24 points in the relatively easy win. Gallon also hit double-figures with 14 points.
Strongman Kevin Greene and guard Will Cherry scored 12 points apiece for the Drew Gooden Soldiers in a losing cause.
Summer Championships Open Division:
Team Breakdown 81, D-One Sports 64
D-One Sports won the Create N Finish Cup Challenge, a mini-tournament on Tuesday and Wednesday involving the open division's top eight seeds, so it was only fitting that the North Carolina-based summer team advanced to the open division final on Saturday night.
Team Breakdown was trying to erase the memories of last year's heart-breaking overtime championship loss to Belmont Shore and they were able to do that and prevent a clean sweep of both tournament titles by D-One Sports. Team Breakdown was able to avenge last year's loss behind the play of its stellar backcourt duo of Brandon Knight and Kenny Boynton. Two of the very best guards in the nation, regardless of class, combined to score 50 points and were named co-MVPs of the tournament.
Boynton, a top five player in the ESPN 100, scored 26 points on 10 of 19 shooting, including five three-pointers. Knight, a top five player in the 2010 ESPN Super 60, netted 24 points while making 10 of his 19 field goal attempts.
Team Breakdown led 43-33 at halftime and got an uplifting performance from Keith Clanton, who scored 12 points on six of seven shooting. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots.
The Open Division championship was a rematch of a Create N Finish Cup semifinal game on Wednesday that was won by D-One Sports by a 78-71 margin. Wall nearly had a triple-double performance in the first game against Team Breakdown with 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Boynton, meanwhile, scored 21 points but made only eight of 25 shots while Knight scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Throughout the Summer Championships, Wall showed the fans at Foothill High School why he was arguably the best lead guard in Las Vegas this past week. He didn't have his greatest performance in the title game, however, as he didn't make a three-point shot and only six of 17 field goals. His 20-point performance included three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Post Ryan Kelly was the team's only other double-digit scorer with 12 points, but he made only four of 13 field goals.
In the Open Division semifinals, Team Breakdown beat D.C. Triple Threat, 68-53, as Knight nailed four three-pointers and netted 22 points. D.C. Triple Threat was the club that lost to D-One in the Create N Finish Cup title game.
In its semifinal game, D-One defeated Houston Elite, 79-67, as Terrell James canned all 11 of his free throw attempts and scored 29 points. Wall finished with 22 points.
Check out Saturday's blow-by-blow action from Las Vegas.