Tuesday, April 29, 2008

King James: 17-under

The Mustangs, The Family, and Reach Legends all played up in the super pool. None of the three teams made big runs but they all represented Michigan by showing they could play and handle the nation's elite.

Reach finished 1-2 with their lone win coming over Derrick Rose's Chicago Express team. Reach was led by wings Keith Appling and Dion Sims. The Family finished 2-2 before being knocked out by the Ohio Basketball Club in the second round of bracket play. Derrick Nix and Donovan Kirk played well for The Family. The Mustangs finished the weekend 1-2 after a one point loss to Chicago Express in the playoffs. Chicago Express had Rose sitting on the bench and I think the refs were star struck as they gave Chiago a majority of the calls. Doug Anderson and Drew Valentine played hard for the Mustangs. Valentine is staring to show his value as a high major player.

Michigan was also well represented in the 17-u division regualar pool brackets. Team Detroit, Detroit Fire, Michigan Hurricanes, West MI Lakers, and Common Bond all won their pools. Motor City Mavericks, Michigan Mavericks, and Camp Daryl all finished in second in their respected pools. The Michigan Mavericks made the longest tourney run as they advanced to the silver semi-finals.

King James: 16-under

The Michigan Mustangs advanced all the way to the gold championship but there they fell to All-Ohio 53-77.

Reach Legends and Common Bond played each other in pool play but Common Bond proved to be too much for Reach to handle as they took a 20 point win, CB went on to win their pool but they were bounced in the first round of bracket play.

Both The Family and the Mustangs won their pool games with ease. The Family fought through the gold bracket by winning three games by a total of 10 points. The games were all tight and close but guards Michael Talley and DeAndray Buckley led the way. A one point win over DC Assault gave The Family a semi-final birth where they faced long time rival the Mustangs.

The Mustangs were rolling all on all cylinders, even without Jon Horford, who missed the trip due to an illness. In bracket play the Stangs overwhelmed Mac Irvin Fire by 20 points. Sultan Mohammed ran the floor to help lead the way.

In the next round the Stangs topped the New York Gauchos and their fast pace guard play by countering back with guards Dedo Jackson and Maurice "Pookie" Jones. The Stangs went on to win by a score of 61-56.

In the quarter-final game the Stangs beat Triple-Threat behind the play of 6-9 Alex Guanna. The big man dominated the paint as the Stangs won the game 60-53.

In the semi-final match-up, between the Stangs and The Family, the Stangs left little doubt that they were the better team and boasted the better players. Both Pookie Jones and Dedo Jackson played with a chip on their shoulder as they wanted to prove that they are better point guards than Michael Talley. The dynamic duo took turns going right at Talley. While Pookie and Dedo were dominating the perimeter, LaDonte Henton was dominating the post with his athleticism. The Stangs overwhelmed The Family with a final score of 76-59.

In the championship game the Stangs missed Horford as they struggled to match All-Ohio big man for big man. All-Ohio's Jared Sullinger, top 10 player nationally that's committed to Ohio State, gave the Stangs problems on the block. A 3-pointer from Dedo Jackson cut the halftime lead to 5 points but All-Ohio wore down the Stangs in the second half.

King James: 15-u division

Michigan teams struggled in the 15-u division, of the nine teams that participated only the Mustangs and The Family found any kind of success.

Common Bond and The Grand Rapids Storm were both knocked out in the first round of the silver bracket. The Mustangs had some big wins on their way to the championship game, early on as they beat the Chicago Express fairly easily in front of some big time coaches that included Tom Izzo. The Stangs got up early by double digits and Chicago never threatened again.

The Mustangs then pulled off a dramatic three point win over the D-1 Greyhounds. Juwan Moody played strong from the opening tip-off but showed his big time playmaking abilities by draining a 30 foot game winning 3-pointer with 4 seconds left to break a tie game. The point guard took the inbound pass with less than 10 seconds on the clock, pushed it up the court, and stopped and drained it from the deep on top of the key.

The Mustangs were far from done as they quickly rushed over to another site to beat the DC Blue Devils and their 7-0 center. 6-7 Percy Gibson and 6-8 Darren Washington took turns guarding the big fella and both dominated him. Patrick Lucas-Perry finished off the Blue Devils by connecting on 6 free-throws in the final minute of the game.

In the semi-final game the Mustangs edged the Milwaukee Running Rebels. Denzel Valentine came off the bench to chip in with a double-double in points and rebounds. Valentine also helped the Stangs handle the Running Rebels full court pressure.

The Family got into the semi-final game with a 5 point victory over CBIZ from Ohio. It looked like The Family was about done in their semi-final game till they rallied back from a 15 point deficit. Down by one point with 3 seconds left The Family had to go the length of the court but managed to get the ball into the hands of Carlton Brundidge who made up a three point floated as time expired to advance The Family.

So the stage was set for the two Michigan powerhouses- the Family and the Mustangs. The gym was packed with fans and over 25 high major college coaches. The Stangs took the early lead thanks to the long range shooting of 6-4 combo guard, Brandan Kearney. Kearney knocked down four 3-pointers in the early going.

Ray Tillman came off the bench to give the Stangs a spark and a 10 point lead. Pee-Wee Barnes and Brundidge kept The Family close with their drive and kick abilities. With five minutes to play Brundidige caught fire and started hitting long shots from all over the floor. With less than two minutes to play The Family tied the score. Moody answered right back for the Stangs with a pull up jumper but Brundidge again tied the score. The Mustangs missed a shot in regulation to win the game forcing overtime.

The family scored first in the extra session but the team teams exchanged baskets back and forth. Down by one the Mustangs had two shots to win the game but both bounced in and out giving The Family early bragging rights in this early AAU season.