ARDSLEY, NY -The Rumble in the Bronx continued on Saturday with a games taking place at numerous venues in and around New York City.
The main venue for the tournament is House of Sports and that's where we were on Saturday to catch a days' worth of action. It was a day of solid pool play games in the 17u Division along with opening round playoff games as well. The action was great from start to finish, and here is a recap of the games from Ardsley.
One of the top local NY teams of Saturday proved to be The City. Even though they were limited to having just 5 players, they seemed to be firing on all cylinders as they eased past the NJ Panthers early in the day. They struggled a bit more against Stamford Peace of Connecticut, but Elijah Davis (IMG Academy, FL '15) was a scoring machine, pouring in 19 in the opening half, and scoring a couple big buckets late. Wolfgang Novogratz (Poly Prep '16) was the consummate floor general late creating and getting into driving lanes to finish. He also knocked down 4 FT's late to help push The City to a 9 point win.
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Their last game was not what they expected though. Facing an 0-2 Dallas Hoyas team from Texas, fatigue seemed to wear The City down. Davis, who again had a strong opening 16 minutes, didn't have the same lift on his jumpers late, and Novogratz struggled to finish in the lane like he did earlier. (St. Anthony's, NJ '15) at 6'8" did a solid job on the glass and on putbacks to close the deficit late, but it wasn't enough as the Hoyas pulled out the 50-45 win.
The City still advanced to the Gold Playoffs though winning out in a tiebreaker that sent them on and they made the most of their second chance.
Playing Hoop Heaven Heat from New Jersey, which is Gill St. Bernard's H.S., a team that was led by top 2016 prospect, 6'4" guard Tyus Battle, The City played far and away their best game of the day, with Novogratz finding his way to the lane time and again, Davis scoring at will, especially when putting the ball on the floor and using his strength, and Reggie Quezada (Cardinal Hayes '15), while slender, showed toughness on putbacks and offensive rebounds in the paint.
It was a back and forth contest that could've gone either way, but a big drive with under 2 minutes to go put The City up for good, and he and Davis combined for 51 points as The City moves onto Sunday's quarterfinals with a 74-70 victory.
One of the bigger shocks of the day and tournament came from Pool A where on Friday night, the B.C. Eagles shocked the Juice All-Stars with Rashond Salnave (Cardozo '16) and Travis Atson (Christ the King '15) on a three pointer with 2.2 to go to claim the 48-47 upset win. Juice cruised in two wins over Open Season and Douglas Brothers of Georgia on Saturday, and to advance, the Eagles were going to need to match them.
They had Open Season to start the morning and though they fell behind 11-2 to start the game, Paton Gibbs (Saugerties '15) came up big late in the first half as B.C. closed the half on a 14-2 run to take a 6 point lead. Eric McCollum (Newburgh Free Academy '14) used his size on the inside to control the paint in the 2nd half, and Isaiah Strickland (Brooklyn Collegiate '15) was solid from the perimeter and they closed out the game late for a comfortable win.
The 2nd game of the day for B.C. was much more challenging, with the team comprised of mainly Section 9 players struggling from the perimeter, and Douglas Brothers were able to find space to shoot, grabbing a 12 point lead in the first half, and maintaining that lead for much of the 2nd half as well. It was 43-34 Douglas Brothers with 5:10 to go when B.C. for the 3rd time in 3 games, made a run.
Darnell Edge (Saugerties '15) was a spark off the bench knocking down a couple big jump shots, and solid defense all around, be it McCollum in the front court, or the combination of the many guards the Eagles had, they were getting the job done. Douglas Brothers seemed to wear down against the constant pressure and in the last 4 minutes of the game, the B.C. Eagles closed with a 12-0 run, including 6 late from Gibbs, including a pair of big FT's to seal the win and the pool, 46-43.
Gibbs had 31 points in his 2 games on Saturday as the 6'4" wing continues to prove to be an underrated offensive weapon in pushing B.C. to the pool victory and a Gold Bracket playoff berth.
The Eagles moved over to Mott Haven for their playoff game where it proved to be the end of the road for them as they ended up falling to the NY Gauchos in the Bronx to end their tournament.
No other 17u local New York team advanced into the Gold Bracket, but a couple more looked very good and will advance into the Silver Bracket where the 2nd place pool teams will go.
The Juice All-Stars may not have achieved their goal of going deep into the Gold playoffs, but they did have a good Saturday with Atson scoring 26 while grabbing 14 rebounds early in the morning to beat Open Season. They then cruised over Douglas Brothers from Georgia by 22, and while the Silver Bracket wasn't what the team was hoping for when the tournament started, they are making the best of it, with Salnave leading the way as they took down Starting 5ive of Texas at Mott Haven H.S. on Saturday night. They look to keep it going on Sunday when they get the NJ Roadrunners in the Silver quarterfinals.
The New York Falcons lost to the Iowa Barnstormers in a game that was pretty tight until the last 8 minutes of the game, and went 2-0 otherwise routing both Albany City Rocks (Oshea) and the Connecticut Playmakers. Troy McLaughlin (Old Tappan, NJ '14) was a potent scorer taking it to the rim using his quickness at 6'3" to get by defenders and finish going in, while Connor McGuinness (Clarkstown South '15) was a lethal threat from deep connecting on 9 threes in the teams two wins to propel them on. They fell through to the Roadrunners in a right one by 7, with McGuinness leading the way with 22 in the loss.
ICC Truth won't advance, but the team from Western New York State has nothing to hold their head down about. They gave both Hoop Heaven Elite and South Florida Elite competitive games, with Donte Williams (Bishop Timon '14) going on a scoring outburst against South Florida, scoring 29 points, and proving that even against high level competition, that the 1st Team All State performer can thrive.
City Rocks (Oshea) won't advance either, but they had big 6'4" point guard Kevin Huerter (Shenendehowa '16) who showed good burst and court vision against tough defenses, while Clifton Tracey (Utica-Proctor '15) once again thrived from behind the arc, and with his 6'6" size, definitely stood out.
It was a truly compelling and interesting day with great action all day on all four courts. House of Sports will host all the playoff games on Sunday on the 15u, 16u, and 17u Divisions, so Ardsley, NY is truly the place to be for good basketball Sunday. Here are the quarterfinal matchups in the 17u Gold Bracket on Sunday to whet your appetite for what is to come.
NY Gauchos vs. Iowa Barnstormers
House of Sports vs. The City
Sports U vs. Wisconsin United
NYC Jayhawks vs. Southern Kings