Panthers advance; Earl Clark a no-show at IS8

The anticipated matchup between Louisville signees Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark in the semifinals of the Queens, New York-based IS8 tournament Saturday morning never materialized. has the more.

The anticipated matchup between Louisville signees Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark in the semifinals of the IS8 tournament Saturday morning never materialized.

Clark, the 6-9 forward who helped the Playaz advance to the semifinals last weekend, didn't show up for Saturday's mornings game against Caracter and the New York Panthers. Clark was said to have missed the game because he attended his high school prom the night before.

In Clark's absence, the Panthers advanced to Sunday's final with an 80-70 win. The 6-foot-9 Caracter finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.

Jimmy Salmon's Playaz Club encountered some inside and outside problems in their quest to advance to the final of the IS8 Spring event. The inside problem was the talents of North Carolina recruit Tywon Lawson, the McDonald's All American guard from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.

Lawson, part of the New York Panthers team Saturday, scooted past the Playaz defenders for 23 points to lead his team to victory.

The outside problem was Salmon's team got off to a rocky start due to the late arrival of North Carolina recruit, Wayne Ellington, also a McDonald's All American.

The sharpshooter from the state of Pennsylvania, got entangled in typical weekend traffic in the New York metro area. Ellington, who possesses NBA three-point range on his jumper, was stuck in traffic on a bridge connecting New Jersey to New York.

By the time Ellington arrived, there was 3:58 left in the second quarter and the Playaz were down by six points. Still, the lead was not insurmountable.

Ellington provided some magical moments with his deep threes. He finished the game with 27 points, including four three-pointers. However, each time Ellington would drain a jumper, the Panthers would counterattack with either Derrick Caracter, Vernon Teel, Lawson or Lance Thomas.

Thomas scored 17 points and also added 15 rebounds. Teel hammered the interior of the Playaz defense with 10 points, mostly on swift drives to the basket.

But the big story in the first half was Lawson, who wowed the crowd with his polished perimeter skills and his knack for finding his open teammates with his passes. Lawson had 17 of his 23 points at the half as the Panthers built a 42-25 advantage.

The Panthers will face the winner of the Bingo All-Stars - Starret City semifinal on Sunday.

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