This past weekend, Columbus was at the center of the Ohio basketball universe. Not only did Columbus play host to the 1st and 2nd rounds of the NCAA men and women's tournaments, and the Ohio High School's post-season tournaments, but also the 1st big AAU tournament of the season debuted. The 2004 Central Ohio Nike Tournament drew over 100 teams from around the Midwest in seven different age divisions.
ACTION FROM THE NIKE TOURNAMENT
The 5th grade division, which was arguably the most competitive division in the tournament, hosted the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best teams in the country. In the 1st semi-final game, the Ohio Showstoppers defeated the Prince William Metro Thunder. In the second semi-final game, the Indy Hoyas defeated Virginia Pride. In the championship game, Virginia Pride defeated the Showstoppers. The Showstoppers' Javon Clark was named tournament MVP, and Kris Taylor and Will Weeks were named to the All-Tournament Team.
In the 6th grade division, 18 teams vied for the championship. In the first semi-final game, Dayton's All-Ohio Westwood defeated Canton's Moore Sports Tigers. In the second semi-final game, the Columbus Jaguars defeated Akron's A.A.A. Basketball. In the championship, the Columbus Jaguars soundly defeated the All-Ohio Westwood to claim the 6th grade championship. Kevin Gray, Nick Kellogg, Stevie Taylor, Juwan Statten and David Robinson were selected to the All-Tournament Team, and Kevin Gray was named MVP.
The seventh grade division drew 13 teams from as far as Chicago. In the championship game, Chicago's First Step defeated The Family from New York. James Prater was named MVP and Mindell Buckert, Fred Yates, Devon Pall, and Fink and Shawn Bulger were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Despite All-Ohio's decision not to admit the Cleveland Basketball Club into the tournament-they showed up anyway to represent- the eighth grade division was the second most competitive division in the tournament, and attracted 18 teams. In the first semi-final game, the Indiana Ravens defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats. In the championship game, the top two teams from Indiana slugged it out for the title. In the end, the Indiana Rising Stars were crowned 8th grade champions. Indy's Walter Offutt was named tournament MVP, and John Bulger, Chancey Stone and James Almes-all from the Rising Stars- were named to the All-Tournament Team (the Ravens don't accept individual awards).
In the Ninth grade division, Upstrong defeated the Queen City Prophets in the 1st semi-final game, and All-Oho Red defeated Mean Streets in the second semi-final game. In the championship, Upstrong proved stronger than the hometown favorite, All-Ohio Red. Upstrong's Mario Edwards was name MVP, and Mike Porrini, Ronald Peake, Mike Parrish, Shadow Joiner, and John Diebler were named to the All-Tournament Team.
To be so early in the spring/summer season, the field in Nike tournament was very strong. After 3 competitive days of basketball, players and coaches alike learned where the fit in the basketball pecking order, and what they need to do work on when they return to their gyms. Continue to follow Ohio Prep Scene as we cover the major tournaments around the state and the Midwest.