The Family Broken Up in Semifinals of Spiece

The Family (including <B>Joe Crawford, Malik Hairston, and Ron Coleman</B>) finished pool play undefeated and started the tourney on a good note Saturday night with a convincing victory over the Long Island Road Runners. The competition during the second day (Sunday) of the tourney got stiffer and eventually stymied The Family's quest for the title.

The outcome of Family's first game of the day vs. the Hoosier Stars seemed to reflect the time in which it was played. The pre-game warm-ups started at 7:45am, 15 minutes before the 8:00am tip. The game started slow, but Joe-Joe Crawford would not let his team fail. He scored every single Family point in the fourth quarter (14). They earned a hard fought, but plodding, 32-15 victory to advance to the quarterfinals for a match-up with Cincy AAU #1-Black.

Cincy was the antithesis of what The Family saw in their first game of the tourney with the Long Island Road Runners the night before. This team, while not as athletic as The Family, was sound defensively and could shoot the lights out from long range. Their tight D and court marksmanship gained them a 13-11 lead over Speedy Walker's squad at the end of one. The Family, however, would answer the call. They tied the game at 16 with 6:53 left in the second and eventually gained a 28-23 halftime lead. Cincinnati fought back and cut the lead to one point (43-42) with 5 minutes to go in the third quarter, but that would not be allowed to draw even. Malik Hairston knocked down a three and another jumper to fight them off, as The Family went on to a 59-48 victory. Joe Crawford finished with 18 and Malik Hairston finished with 25.

The win over Cincinnati put the family in the semi-finals vs. Philly MJC. This was another team that did not look to have the athletes to match The Family's. MJC looked to have one player that could stand toe to toe with Joe Crawford, Malik Hairston, and Ron Coleman. That said, Philly was proof positive that looks can be deceiving. Philly excelled in ball movement and was excellent at finding the open man. Furthermore, their guards were very adept at driving and kicking the ball out for an open jumper. Then, when all else failed…they called on the smallest man on the court…5'10"-5'11" Kyle Lowry. The kid was simply fantastic. One wouldn't expect a player of his stature to be the most explosive player on the court (from a point production standpoint). As surprising as it may sound, that certainly was the case. Philly led from start to finish. They had a 27-19 lead after one period and a 47-38 halftime lead. The Family would cut the lead to 6 points late, powered by multiple drives to the basket by Joe Crawford. Joe-Joe became very assertive in taking it to the hole and was converting the basket or getting fouled the majority of the time. His efforts still were not enough to offset Lowry. This Tim Hardaway play-alike torched them for 16 fourth quarter points on his way to 41 points overall. When the dust settled, Philly had stopped the Family cold with an 85-69 win. Malik Hairston had 26, Joe Crawford had 24, and Ron Coleman had 13 in the defeat.

We'll have tourney pictures and more comments on the Family's performance from those in attendance in the coming days.

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