Top Minnesota 17 Teams Win Kingwood Opener

The two top 17-and-under AAU teams in the state of Minnesota won their opening game of the Kingwood Classic in Houston Friday night. Howard Pulley defeated the Atlanta Celtics 72-69 and Minnesota Magic Elite bested Blessed IJN Elite 63-47 as they pulled away in the second half after trailing by two at halftime.

Howard Pulley was tied at halftime 32-32 after having jumped out to an early lead. They opened up a 50-41 lead that was expanded to double digits. However, the Atlanta Celtics refused to go away as they hit several late three-pointers to cut the lead to three points. Unfortunately, their comeback was stopped as they were unable to get off a shot attempt after Anthony Humphrey from De LaSalle missed the front end of a one-on-one with one second left.

Angelo "Bear" Johnson, who played at Minneapolis North and Henry before transferring to a prep school in Georgia, led Pulley with 22 points. Trevor Mbakwe of Henry Sibley, who is being highly recruited by Minnesota, had 17 points and five blocked shots. Matt Janning of Watertown-Mayer, who missed the Boo Williams Invitational, hit five three-pointers as he finished with 17 points. Janning is still looking for a Division I offers and if he plays as well tomorrow in front of the college coaches, that will likely change.

Howard Pulley plays Saturday against the Urban DFW Elite Gold at 3:00 p.m.

The Minnesota Magic Elite is without Kansas verbal Cole Aldrich, who is playing in the Albert Schwitzer Games in Germany. However, they pulled away for a 16-point win in their Kingwood opener. The Minnesota Magic Elite won the 16-and-under bracket last year. They were paced by 21 points by Blake Hoffarber of Hopkins, who made five three-pointers and 13 points from Jon Leuer of Orono. They face the Alabama Challenge Saturday at 11:30.

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