43 Hoops too much for Pump N Run

To 43 Hoops for a 17U showdown between Pump N Run and 43 Hoops.  All the notables in the building including the obvious ones (Monter, James, me) along with JohnnyGopher, UWOle and GopherLady of GopherHole fame.  Willie Vang from the MN Heat makes an appearance as well.  Lots of notables including Randy Carter, Eric Coleman, Zach Towle, Ryan Duxbury, Anthony Tucker all playing tonight in the early games just to name a few.  Men meet boys.   Sorry folks, no food or beverage at the game but I did have a messy Pulled Pork sandwich with Sierra Mist for dinner prior to venturing over to 43.

Funny moment before the game as I was one of many people who moved back and forth between courts about 5 times until we finally got it right that the curtain would be opened and we'd have action on court 2.  The court lined with fans all the way around with 3 quality officials working the game.  Gotta like that.  PNR without Estan Tyler (unknown), Eric Robertson (ankle), Joel Lindberg (Wisconsin camp) and Kyle Noreen (west coast college tour).  They added Carlos Emory and Jonathon Crockett from last year's 17U PNR squad.  No Jordan Smith for 43 as he was suffering from tendonitis and just resumed work outs today.  Let the record show with Matt Sellers' mom as my witness that I predicted an 8 point 43 Hoops win right before tip. 

Game Time
Jake White gets the assignment on Jonah Travis in this one.  Travis immediately spins and is fouled.  He shoots the 1st free throw and its good.  But the ball is trash so let's put that one out of play and pick a new one.  Travis drives for 2 more, Emory for 3 and then the alley oop from Crockett.  13-5 PNR leads at the 14:45 in a very low scoring half  (these are 25 minute running time halves).  But 43 cranks up the pressure and without their regular point guards PNR struggles to get into offense.  Schalk with 2 free throws and a 3 ball and 43 has the momentum and the crowd on their side.  Emory strong for 1 free throw as he's fouled on a dunk attempt to try and stem the tide.  Zach Romashko for 2 and Freddie Young with a steal for 2 and PNR wants time.  14 all with 9 minutes left in the first half.  20-19 43 Hoops leads after 1 Jonah Travis freebie at the 3:40 mark.  Raijon Kelly with a pair of big 3s that counter a pair of Travis dunks.  28-23 43 Hoops at the half.  Marquel Curtis and Jonah Travis each with 9 points in the half to lead their teams.

Jonah Travis stays hot as he knocks down a pair of left wing triples but the lead is still 5 for 43.  A Curtis steal for 2 free throws pushes the lead to 39-33 with 18 minutes left.  PNR won't go away.  Roosevelt Scott with a 1 handed hammer and Crockett with a layup.  Ross Travis emerges with a strong 2 and the foul through Mike Yahnke.  Curtis puts in a miss for a 44-39 lead with 14 minutes left.  Jonah Travis with 1 free throw, Crockett with 2 freebies of his own and a tough step back jumper.  Alex Richter with a layup, Scott with 2 free throws and Emory goes strong and makes 2 more PNR free throws.  Its an 11-2 PNR run over 6:30 with 7 free throws and it gives the Pumps a 50-46 lead with 7:30 to play.

Then 43 steps it up.  Ross Travis for 3 and a layup.  Curtis with a steal for a dunk.  Scott misses a layup.  Curtis offensive rebounds an airball and puts it back just in time to beat the 30 second shot clock with 3 minutes left.  That concludes a 9-0 43 Hoops run and they lead 55-50 with 3 minutes left.  Jonah Travis with 2 free throws but 43 is on the offensive board again.  This time its Jake White grabbing a Ross Travis miss and making 2 free throws from it at the 1:47 mark.  Ross doesn't miss on the next trip as he hammers home a dunk at the 1:10 mark for a 7 point lead.  A Crockett steal for 2 cuts the lead to 4 but it doesn't matter.  Curtis with the exclamation point dunk and 43 Hoops wins 63-55.

Post Game
For Pump N Run, Jonah Travis leads the way with 18 points and 7 rebounds on my officially unofficial (but I use it anyway) stat sheet.  Carlos Emory with 16 points but his turnovers down the stretch were critical.  Trying to take over is great but it can be said on this night that he tried to do too much.  Jon Crockett 9 points, Roosevelt Scott 8 points, Alex Richter a rough night of 4 points on 1-8 shooting to round out the PNR scoring.  Surprisingly PNR gave up critical buckets on the offensive glass.  Not surprisingly, when Crockett wasn't handling the ball, 43 did have success with pressure defense and that included Emory.

For 43 Hoops, Marquel Curtis is your game MVP with 21 points.  His numerous forays to the rim and off handed finishes (lefty on right side too) had no answer.  12 of those 21 in the 2nd half.  6 in the last 6 minutes to put 43 over the top.  Raijon Kelly lived large in this one too with 13 clutch points right across the halftime boundary.  Ross Travis a quiet first half but had all 12 of his points in the 2nd half.  Versatile too with a putback, an old-fashioned 3 point play with power and then a 3 ball.  Tack on a steal for a dunk to show off the athletic ability. Jake White quiet with 8 points and 6 boards but a board for 2 free throws late was large.  Tom Schalk 5 points, Zach Romashko 2 and Freddie Young 2 to round out the scoring for 43 Hoops.  All in all, a hard fought battle of 2 high quality teams that was greatly enjoyed by all.  43 was the better team on this night and no griping about missing players etc.  PNR had plenty of chances in this one and had a lead just outside 6 minutes to play.  Let's hope they again in July in Chicago and/or Las Vegas.

Marquel Curtis photo courtesy of MNPhotoNet.net

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