Team Texas vs. BABC For Peach Jam Title

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – If you are Nike, you have to love it when a plan comes together. The Peach Jam semifinals featured terrific team and individual matchups. In the end, observers were treated to a pair of games fitting of a top national tournament. Sunday's final will be BABC versus Team Texas.

BABC Rallies For Win

If you were to tell BABC head coach Leo Papile before the game that his biggest offensive weapon would shoot 28% from the field and his team would get out rebounded by 12 and still win, do you think he would have believed you?

Well, that's exactly what happened Saturday night as BABC rallied to defeat Athletes First, 65-64. A pair of Marshall Strickland free throws with 15 seconds remaining sewed it up for the Boston boys. Strickland finished with 16 points but he had to work for them, as nothing would fall early. He had to be wondering what was happening to his stroke as he's played extremely well all week. But, to his credit, he kept with it and hung in there to make the plays down the stretch.

PF Torin Francis picked up the scoring slack. He had 19 points and 10 rebounds in his rematch against Sheldon Williams. If you remember a few weeks ago at USA Camp, Francis halted Williams' hot streak. Tonight, he didn't lock Williams up, but the two did battle. Williams finished with 20 points and 11 boards.

A series of steals in the second half by BABC guards Steve Hailey and Will Blaylock were instrumental in BABC overcoming a six-point halftime deficit.

Hopkins Keys Team Texas Win

PG Bryan Hopkins and SG Bracey Wright hit for 20 points each as Team Texas held off the Illinois Warriors 79-76. Texas was the beneficiary of an outstanding evening from Hopkins. The little guard used his athleticism to spark his team and get things going. He made play after play, often times with flair. He grabbed six rebounds and handed out a game-high 9 assists.

Meanwhile, Wright had Andre Iguodala, one of the country's best defenders, trailing him around all night. At times, Iguodala seemed to have Wright in his hip pocket, but the shooting star made some big time plays.

SG Josh Washington got Texas out of the gate in a hurry by drilling his first two 3s and then making one of his next two. Washington finished with 18 points.

For Illinois, the story was a simple one. PG Dee Brown seemed to run out of gas. He shot 0-7 from 3-point territory and 2-13 overall. It wasn't his night. His penetration work wasn't there either. Collin Falls, a sophomore shooter, led the Warriors with 20 and Iguodala chipped in with 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

News And Notes …

Prior to Saturday's semifinal, Arizona head coach Lute Olson caught up with Andre Iguodala and offered him a scholarship to play for the Cats. Iguodala was Arizona's No. 1 swingman recruit coming out of the Nike All-American Camp. His performance, especially on the defensive end, at the Peach Jam caused Arizona to make its move.

Hopkins' big game in the semis will probably cause more schools to take a look at him but if no one else came into the picture that would probably be fine with Minnesota. The Gophers were in the house for his game and he's one of their top targets.

PG John Gilchrist told BlueChipHoops that he has not ruled Indiana out despite them receiving a commitment from Marshall Strickland. In his own words, Gilchrist said he thinks Strickland is a two guard and the pair could co-exist nicely. St. John's, as we said earlier, is also in there. Georgetown and Maryland are battling to make headway and we hear NC State might be doing the same. However, SJU and IU appear to be at the top of the list right now.

With 2 seconds remaining in the game against Athletes First, BABC head coach Leo Papile summed up his feelings on the pressure situation: "I'm too old for this," Papile said coming out of a timeout. Coach, you are never too old to win.

A botched itinerary will cause us to miss the finals of the Peach Jam. However, we'll report on the winner sometime Sunday.

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