Athletes First vs. BABC
BABC made the quarterfinals after narrowly escaping Friday’s
tightly contested game against Louisiana Select. This one was a seesaw
battle that saw Athletes First come out on top with a 61-57 victory.
Athletes First advanced to the semis and will face the NY Gauchos.
UCONN-bound Alex Oriakhi hardly saw the court in this one and was in
foul trouble but his BABC teammates nearly pulled off the win without
their 6-10 big man. Oriakhi actually ended up with four fouls in the
first half. What was he doing in the game with 3? We’re not
sure but he rode the pine for most of this one.
With Oriakhi on the sideline, it was time for Daniel Orton to assert
himself and Saturday morning his teammates found him often. Orton
started out the game with an airball from three-point range but got
into it after a massive block just a couple minutes later. This was the
game coaches and fans have been waiting for from Orton the last couple
of days. After having just one big dunk in the first quarter he scored
six in the second quarter and several big time blocks on the defensive
end. Jamaal Coombs, who is 6-7, didn’t have the strength or
the length to contend with Orton inside especially down the stretch in
the fourth quarter. Orton featured a baseline jump hook, a nice drop
step for a dunk, and a one-hand putback slam. This was certainly his
most aggressive game on the offensive end and he stayed out of foul
trouble. He will be an amazing player when he works with someone who
can help his footwork and add to his offensive repertoire. There are a
bunch of coaches here who would love to assist that. After Athletes
First found themselves down eight after three quarters, it was Orton
who led the fourth quarter charge scoring 11 of his 21 points in the
final eight minutes. The first play of the quarter featured Xavier Henry in a high-low situation getting the ball to Orton for the jam.
Orton’s quarter would’ve been even more impressive
but he struggled from the line hitting only 3-6 free throws.
For Henry, the outside shot continued to be a problem. Henry has a
terrific lefty stroke but most of his shots weren’t in rhythm
and a number of them came up short. It took for minutes for Henry to
get on the board and he did so off an inbounds play. Minutes later it
was the driving floater off glass. It has been quite a long stretch
since Xavier hit a shot outside of eight feet. He likes the jab and
step back three but a lot of those have been coming up short for him
and really he has taken few shots that he can actually step into. His
jumper just appears to be flat.
Early in the second quarter he was hit in the mouth and forced to leave
the game. Henry played the rest of the game with a mouth guard and
never seemed the same. Xavier is so strong and really takes it to the
rim strong but at times he gets himself too deep when he really could
just pull up and take the short jumper. The thing about it is
he’s so strong, that he can get the shot off against two guys
and does draw a lot of fouls. Henry finished with 11 points in this one
and scored five of them in the fourth. He is so much stronger than any
other guard I’ve seen in this tournament. Henry did have a
big block on Coombs down the stretch with the game tied at 55 as a few
key plays by he and Orton secured the game.
Terrance Boyd was a force for Athletes First. When he goes to the rim
he goes hard. He scored 18 in this one and hit 3-4 free throws to help
secure the win for his team.
For BABC it was Gerald Coleman who was on fire in this game. He took it
hard to the goal and also hit a number of threes. He’s got
that pretty lefty stroke from long range and really was the reason BABC
had a lead in this one. Coombs was solid and although Phil Pressey
threw the ball away a few times too many you can see why the big boys
are chasing this kid.
Speice Mo-Kan Elite vs. Illinois Warriors
In Saturday’s first semi final a tough Speice Mo-Kan team
squared off with the Illinois Warriors - two very smart fundamental
teams who are fun to watch because they play team basketball.
Speice Mo-Kan are probably not the most talked about team here in
Orlando but they are definitely one of the one’s
I’ve enjoyed watching the most. They are fundamentally sound
and the ratio of assists-to-field goals has to be an impressive one.
They don’t do a lot of one-on-one break you down off the
dribble – they really play team ball and believe in making
the extra pass. They will trick you with how athletic they really are.
Shaun Adams shocked the crowd with a thunderous one-handed jam in
traffic and a really nice driving hoop. You could tell by the crowd
reaction no one expected the big man to have that kind of athleticism.
Down the stretch with Mo-Kan trying to claw out a win they continuously
ran baseline screen-for-the-screener action to free up Jackie Carmichael. Carmichael jammed it getting Mo-Kan within 2, 58-56. Out of
the timeout, again they went to Carmichael who got fouled, hit both,
and tied the game at 58. But with 47 seconds left it was Drew Crawford
who nailed a big time three to make the score 61-58. That was not
enough to shake Speice. Will Spradling hit a three from the top of the
key to tie it with 23 seconds left.
In a crazy finish, Spradling ended up fouling D.J. Richards on a three
point shot with five seconds left. Richardson made two of three but
that was enough to give the Illinois Warriors the win, 63-61. The
Warriors advanced to the finals which will be played on Sunday at
Athletes First vs. NY Gauchos
In a game lacked zip early, it sure did get interesting in the final
minutes. The Gauchos Durand Scott attempted to pull off a superman-like
effort to give the Gauchos a comeback win, but Athletes First hung on
for a 54-49 win.
Both offenses sputtered at times in this one. The Gauchos found it
tough to crack a 2-3 zone while Xavier Henry and Daniel Orton
couldn’t get it going early. It equaled a 12-8 first quarter
with only 2 points between the two stars and those belonged to Orton.
Terrance Boyd picked up the slack in this game and was extremely
aggressive taking it to the rim. The kid plays so hard, sometimes
it’s a force when he drives the lane but a lot of time he
gets it back in traffic and is able to convert the follow. Tough not to
like his game and he plays with a ton of energy. Boyd scored a
team-high 20 points and was the offensive key in this game for Athletes
Henry did not shoot the ball well once again from the perimeter while
Orton found himself in early foul trouble. With six minutes left in the
second quarter Henry got on the board with a putback hoop. He then
attempted a couple of those patented step back threes but to no avail.
He just didn’t quite seem in rhythmn again and the shot was
still flat. These guys play a lot of games and maybe a long summer is
starting to take its toll. In the third quarter, Xavier found his buddy
Orton inside for a dunk and then drove the lane again showing that
superior strength to hit the hoop and get fouled. The three-point play
gave his team a four-point cushion, 38-34.
In the fourth with 4:42 left, it was Durand Scott’s who ended
a personal seven-point run that cut the lead to just three, 44-41.
Scott was awesome in this game and finished with 24 points. Twenty
seconds later, Orton fouled out after scoring eight points which seemed
to spark the Gauchos even more. A Doron Lamb three gave the Gauchos the
lead at 47-45 and Athletes First appeared to be reeling.
On a critical play, with his team down three, Henry drove the lane hard
and got a questionable foul called and after converting both free
throws the lead was just one for the Gauchos, 49-48. Boyd also
converted a couple free throws after a steal and Athletes First was
back on top, 50-49. With 17.8 seconds left, Henry stepped to the line
and nailed both to give his team a three-point cushion. Donte Foster
added a couple more for insurance and Athletes First comes out with the
win 54-49. They will face the Illinois Warriors in the finals on
Henry ended up going 6-6 from the line in the fourth quarter and
finished with 16 points but he was again blanked from three. KU target
Doron Lamb finished with eight points.
Saturday at the Super Showcase
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