BRONX, NY --Pool play at the Roundball Classic Live began on Thursday at the Gauchos Gym in the Bronx, NY right smack in the NCAA live period. While the amount of college coaches in attendance did not rival other big name events throughout the northeast, there were quite a few and there was talent to be seen.
Some of the schools in attendance included, Villanova, George Mason, Marist, Oklahoma, Hofstra, Fordham, Boston College, St. Francis and CW Post.
NYCHoops.net was on hand to see five of the eight opening day 17U games to see how the teams played and which players stepped up their game.
L.I. Lightning vs. CT Flames
In the first game we saw, the Long Island Lightning Dingle-Blue soundly defeated the Connecticut Flames, 58-38 behind the solid 30 points scoring from 6-foot-4 Kevin Punter (30 points), a rising senior from Salesiah High School. The Lightning also received solid rebounding from 6-foot-8 Jamal James from Brooklyn College Academy, who also added 10 points of interior offense.
NY Gauchos (Orange) vs. New Jersey Road Runners
When the Gauchos (Orange) went up against the New Jersey Road Runners they clearly they were not prepared for the 74-49 trouncing they received which started out as an 18-2 run at the beginning of the game. Down by only 38-27 at the half, the Gauchos could not contain Al Kim who scored 1/3 of the Road Runners points with 24 in a variety of ways.
NY Gauchos (Smith) vs. NYC Heat
The next two games featured the Gauchos (Smith) vs. the NYC Heat and right after that, versus CT Flames. In addition to back-to-back games, it would be the first game back for Choz shooting guard, Omar Calhoun who was return from an injury. Feeling a bit gimpy at first, the effect was short lived as Calhoun went to work against Heat, dropping 27 points on the way to a 70-63 lead.
NY Gauchos (Smith) vs. CT Flames
Calhoun showed the versatility in both the first and the second game against CT Flames by not only scoring perimeter shot but by slashing inside as well as making assists and doing the little things that win games. Clearly running on empty by game two, the Gauchos showed intestinal fortitude and pulled off a 75-72 come- from-behind win with Calhoun besting his earlier performance with eye-popping, 38 points. Not bad for the first time playing in a while.
L.I. Lightning vs. NYC Heat
The last game we saw was between the L.I. Lightning Dingle-Blue against the NYC Heat. Both team played and lost in earlier games without their full contingent of players. But with Chavaughn Lewis ( 6-foot-5 SG from St. Mary's HS) present for the Heat and NKereuwem Okoro ready for action with the Lightning, we knew that someone's '0' would have to go.
The '0' to that was replaced by a 1 would be in the Lightning's winning column as their up-tempo game caused the Heat problems on the regular. As we said earlier, James was a critical factor for the win but the play of, Chavaughn Lewis, albeit on the losing end of a 66-57 score, was impressive. Rarely missing, Lewis a rising senior, dropped a game high 30 points with relative ease and could have scored more but did not receive enough touches considering how hot he was. Punter once again led the Lightning with 19 points.
Friday's games begin at 8:15am at the Gaucho Gym with the majority of the 16U game to be played at Tech Academy starting at 8:15pm. Check the schedule for details.