Good start to the day for the local teams with the Minnesota Comets coming back on Nebraska Select for a 58-54 win. 12-4 Comets run in the last 3:25 wins it. Tyler Vaughan continuing to play well for the Comets. Then the best game I saw all day between DoublePump Elite and Minnesota Pump N Run. Close one all the way. PNR down 48-44 when DoublePump misses a dunk. Will Dunn buries a pair of 3s and its PNR with a 50-49 lead outside of 2 minutes left. Nigel Williams Goss unstoppable off the bounce and his 3 point play puts DoublePump back up 52-50 with 1:27 left. A Sanjay Lumpkin putback ties the game at 52 all with still more than a minute left. What's this?. DoublePump is going to hold for 1 shot. Very shocking. They take timeout with 37.1 left.and miss with 2.6 to play. PNR goes Christian Laettner to Kevin Jensen but his shot is off the iron as regulation time expires. Lumpkin with a tap in to start the OT scoring. Then after a PNR stop, DoublePump has to give 3 fouls before the 1 and 1. Lumpkin buries both with 23 seconds left. Williams Goss to the rack with 16 seconds left and then PNR misses the front end. Williams Goss to the rack to tie and back we come. Its Carnell Sheppard at the horn and YES!!! His jumper at the buzzer is good! MN PNR wins 58-56 in an OT thriller.
Heat Elite without Dave Simmet were down 11 to Ajays Elite but went 14-0 to end the game and won on a Justin Pahl 3 at the buzzer. Pahl has really been shooting the ball well from Iowa in mid May all the way through this July period. Indiana Elite knocked off Southern Select 60-52 and then knocked off the Texas D1 Ambassadors. Texas D1 played without star Alex Caruso who is injured and hopes to be back for Las Vegas. Southern Select forward Reggie Ragland definitely looks the part of a big time linebacker (will play LB at Alabama) but he has game too. Houston Defenders handled the Illinois Warriors in their 1st game. Both Harrison twins playing well.
Indiana Elite Team Indiana gets the publicity here, but Indiana Elite One with Ron Patterson will be no slouch in this tournament either. They pounded Magic Tillman. Heat Biwan knocked out WolfPack from Belgium by 1 thanks to a Darius Wilkerson FT with 0.2 seconds left. Tubby Smith shows up for Atlanta Celtics and MN PNR. Celtics open up a 32-9 lead in the first half running and gunning for easy hoops and force 3 PNR timeouts. In the 3rd timeout, fire and brimstone. It must have gotten their attention as Wally Ellenson started a run to cut the lead to 16 at half. (Then I leave to see end of MN PNR 15s 78-33 win over Triple Threat, only game of day for that pool). I return to the PNR 17s to find that PNR has clawed their way back into it. They cut the lead all the way down to 58-56 with about 4 minutes to go but fall 76-70.
EOTO Gold behind the quality interior play of Tim Gill and a much improved Joe Gill took a 17 point lead on the WI Force in the 2nd half, only to see the Force go to a scrambing trapping defense and cut the lead to 1. The Force also got a pair of big 3s from Brendan Ortiz in the run. EOTO Gold hangs on to win 69-66. 1st game in a long time where I didn't see Tim Gill float on the perimeter which is a very good sign with his big body. But much of that is the sign of the thoroughly dysfunctional Henry team. Dakota Schoolers pounded the Belgium Wolfpack squad. Michael Busack was sitting out in the 2nd half that I watched icing an ankle.
The big matchup of NE Playaz vs Houston Defenders was marred by a late right shoulder injury to star Aaron Harrison. Fairly ugly game anyway. Shaq Cleare really outplayed Kaleb Tarczewski (who I wasn't as big a fan of tonight as other writers) especially in the 1st half. I liked his sound technique when defending ball screens. Nice to see a kid who's not just running aroundBut the Playaz have a ton of shooters around him and play good ball. No fluke in the 47-41 Playaz win.
Ian Theisen of the PNR 16s looks to be slimmer and more mobile. PNR 16s win both their games with no trouble. Houston Select 16s are for real. Khadeem Lattin seems to have length that goes on forever. Justise Winslow is really smooth and has all the athletic tools to boot. DC Assault 16s handled the Hammond Hurricanes in a game that was hard to watch with major jersey confusion. Navy Blue, green, white. No idea what was going on there.
- PNR going back to the bright yellow shoes that have been hated so much previously.
- Kid with the Nike Swoosh cut in the back of his head.
- Czar almost taking a header on my 1st trip down the bleachers and jakking up my left foot in the process. No fear folks, the Czar does play hurt.
- The highlight games switched from court 1 to the main gym during the 2nd game on court. No surprise that the games were moved, but thought this would have been done before play began.
- Actually knowing a kid on a Canadian roster. Abu Conteh (formerly of Stillwater and St. Paul Como Park) playing for Academy CT out of Manitoba.
- Team NIBA (Aurora, IL) brought their 16 team, but somehow their 15s backed out at the last minute