Sunday was Championship Day at the Colin Powell Center but plenty to be decided before that in the end of pool play.
Triple Threat vs Magic Elite. Zach Lofton joined Magic who was without Joe Carpenter all weekend. 21-19 Triple Threat at the half and then they open it up to 31-23 on a circus finish by Dan Krutzig with 9:18 left. It looks like they'll coast to a win but Magic applies pressure to go on an 11-2 run as Lofton tries to take over. 42-41 Triple Threat when they get a shot blocked but get the possession arrow with 1:19 left. Daron Garvis misses a 3 with 45 seconds left that was for the lead. James Fort gets a dunk against the pressure and Lofton has a 3 go in and out and Triple Threat wins 49-46.
That loss being close means Magic can still win the pool. Triple Threat was playing their final pool game at same times. Wins by both would force a 3 way pool tie and we'd go to points. Magic would win that with a 7 point win over Wear Out The Net. Initially it looked like nobody would score 7 points in the entire game. WOTN only scores 1 field goal in the 1st 12 minutes but Magic can't take advantage. 17-11 Magic at half. Lofton with 9 points early in the 2nd half and Garvis buries a pair of 3s. 35-18 with 8:38 left and Magic coasts to a surprisingly easy 46-29 win. That gives Magic Elite the 3 way tie breaker to play in the title game.
Magic Purple took on Fury Blue 2 in a pool A game late in the afternoon. Elijah Sabah of Spring Lake Park on the Purple squad. Interesting to see Hamline and St. Olaf looking on (St. Mary's was here the last 2 days). 27-23 Fury at half. Sabah with a sick move from the left wing. He goes left to right behind the back and then goes back to the left hand for the finish through contact and 1. 44-41 Purple with 6 minutes left. Then this game became a clinic in how not to close a game out. Fury with the late lead but bad shot after bad shot in the last 2 minutes result in 3 threes finished off by a 25 foot bomb from Washburn's Jamaal Rolenc with 10 seconds left sends us to OT tied at 60. Columbia Heights Emrah Kadric goes Ali Farokmanesh to put Purple up 67-63 with 45 seconds left in OT. Purple gets a T for 6 guys on the court with 16.5 left in a 3 point game. Fury makes both and gets the ball back but they can't convert 4 chances and Purple hangs on 69-68. Rolenc finishes with 28 points.
In the 15U Title game, SW Slam Green almost gave up a late 8 point lead. Up 1 with 20 seconds, they miss 2 free throws but a horrendous charging call on the other end with 9.8 left bails them out. 47-44 SW Slam Green wins. In the 16U Title game, Urban Stars shot about 2 for 50 from behind the arc. They missed 4 chances from 3 on 1 possession with 2:30 left when they were down 5. Heat Black wins the 16U title 57-49.
To the 17U title game between Magic Maroon and Magic Elite. Elite finishes the 1st half on an 8-0 run to take a 28-24 lead to the break. They take on another start of the second half run of 9-2. 37-26 Elite with 12:06 left. But Maroon was all over the offensive glass and they get a 3 point play off a miss to regain the lead 40-39 with 7:32 left. 44 all before Magic Elite puts this one out of reach with a 10-0 run. Lofton with the 2nd of back to back 3s in the run and Garvis with a dagger from deep as well. 67-57 Magic Elite wins the 17U title.
Players that caught my eye. Shane McSparron with a nice couple of days for WOTN 2. Nick Bobb from Lake City for WOTN 2 is a nice pickup for them too. I like what Trevor Berkley brings to Fury Blue 2. Zach Lofton brings playmaking but he also needs the ball in his hands for Magic Elite. The guy of note was Robert Ndondo-Lay. Impressive weekend. Was sore today from the nasty fall yesterday, but he had another quality day inside. Sam Meyer for the Heat Black 16s. Solid defense and he'll knock down open shots. Guards for Triple Threat. Mitch Wurm wasn't available all weekend and the names don't wow you but the Buffalo and STMA kids are hard-nosed defenders and they knock down open shots. Add in James Fort inside and that squad is a headache to play.