NY Ravens Big Time Champions

Eight teams began the final day's play at the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament. Some were surprises, and others expected to make the Great Eight were absent.

A few of the better teams missing from the Great Eight: The Juice All Stars led by Sebastian Telfair, considered by many to be the best player in the Class of 2004; the Southeast Pump N Run led by Top Five superstar Jackie Butler; and the Atlanta Ice, a team featuring Travis Outlaw and super-sophomore JoeyCameron.

The eight teams that made it tothe quarterfinals did so by playing team basketball and it paid dividend when it counted most.

The Michigan Hurricanes, led by super-athlete Olu Fatutimi, was the first team to be eliminated. The Florida Hoopsters, paced by its dynamic guard tandem of Darius Washington and Taurean Green, were too much for the Hurricanes and advance to the Final Four.

The New Orleans Jazz, with its superstar forward Brandon Bass, got by the DTA Wisconsin Gold and met the Hoopsters in the afternoon semi-finial. The Hoopsters won that contest to advance to the championship game.

In the others bracket, the first game matched two of New York's finest, the Long Island Panthers and the New York Raven. MVP-candidate Charlie Villanueva led the Panthers. However, the rest of the team did not have enough combined firepower and the Ravens came out on top.

The Billy Shepherd Sports took on the Ft. Sooy-No Limit in the other quarterfinal. Ft Sooy, led by 6-6 junior point guard Shaun Livingston and the high-scoring Richard McBride (Illinois verbal) were no match for the Sports. The Raven beat Ft. Sooy to advance to the championship game.

The Ravens jumped to an early lead and looked as if they might run off with the Big Time title. The Hoopsters played most of the game without Green, who had taken a hard fall five minutes into the contest, bruised his tailbone and could not returned.

The Ravens pushed the lead to 15 points early in the second half, but Hoopsters went to a full court press and got back into the game. Washington hit five three-pointers and tallied game high 37 points to lead the Hoopsters charge, but in the end it wasn't enough.

The New York Raven came away with a 71-69 victory to claim the Las Vegas Big Time Tournament title.

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E-mail Doug Carr at cattraxdc@aol.com

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