Tuesday, April 29, 2008

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.