Although the team names were different- Penn Station, Columbus Basketball Club, and Salvation Army- the blood, sweat and tears shed during the three day tournament reminded basketball fans of the classic battles fought between the Cincinnati Royals, Columbus Jaguars, and Westwood Ballers in the AAU State Tournament last May. At the 2003 U-11 AAU Nationals, these three teams finished 5th, 6th, and 12th, respectively.
Although the 6th grade division consisted of 12 teams, only 3 teams had a legitimate chance at the title. Penn Station, Columbus Basketball Club and Salvation Army's rosters consisted of players who played for the Royals, Jaguars and Westwood Ballers, respectively, this past summer.
In pool play, Penn Station coasted to a 3-0 finish. The Columbus Basketball Club finished 3-0, including a eight point victory over Salvation Army. The Centerville Hustle finished 3-0 and advanced to the championship round, and Salvation Army finished 2-1 in pool play but advanced to the semi-finals as a wildcard.
In the 1st semi-final game, Salvation Army soundly defeated the hometown Centerville Hustle.
Because of the tournament format, the top two teams in the tournament, Penn Station and Columbus Basketball Cub, staged a classic battle to advance to the championship. At the conclusion of this slugfest, Penn Station was still standing with a five point victory. In the championship game, Penn Station went on to defend their 2002 title with a 64-34 victory over Salvation Army.
This writer's All-tournament team would have consisted of the following players: Marcus Davis; Marcus Rush; Deon Stewart; Stevie Taylor; Cody Smith; Jarred Sullinger; Oliver McGlade; Juwan Staten; Tavon Maclin and Pat Crawford.
As a side note, in the 5th grade division, Avon Attack (Indianapolis) defeated the D-1 Greyhounds by over 15 points in the championship game.
Continue to follow OhioPrepScene.com for coverage of youth basketball tournaments and events this season, including individual player rankings which are due out in a couple of weeks.