The Rumble in The Bronx is considered the start of AAU summer basketball, where college coaches come looking for new talent, and if that is the case, look new further as the New York Gauchos look to make some noise this summer.
After the first two days in a three-day stint of competitive basketball, playoffs began Sunday, and the Gauchos emerge from underdogs to a team to be reckoned with this summer, as they were crowned the 2011 Rumble in The Bronx champions in the 16 and under division.
It was not an easy task for the Gauchos, as their first opponent Sunday was Team Family from Florida. A much oversize team, the Gauchos were outmatched when it came to crashing the boards, but were only down seven at half time. Looking to lead a comeback were the combination sophomore Jordan Fuchs, (11 points) plays from Christ The King HS, and rising senior, Dayshon Smith, (16 points) plays for Rice High School, which is set to close at the end of June.
Trading basket for basket, the Gauchos squad was able to cut the lead to four after a three-point play in the second half. After another stop made by the Gauchos, Smith made a three to cut the lead to within one, 52-53, with just two minutes left in the game. Team Family unable to capitalize on missed opportunities caused Gauchos on the other end of the floor, which left the door open for the Gauchos, until Tyler Wilson for Gauchos, who also plays for Rice, turned the ball over with seconds left in the game. A missed opportunity for Team Family to win the game in regulation put the game into overtime, where Gauchos took the lead for the first time and for good, as they won 57-54.
The Gauchos' championship opponent was Sports U from New Jersey, which were considered favorite, as they manhandled Team Next from Philadelphia in the other semifinal game.
From the start of the championship game, it looked to be a repeat of the semifinals for the Gauchos, as they again buried themselves into a deficit early in the game. Unlike their previous opponent, Sports U looked to finish the game from the start of the second half, as they were up six. However, as the Gauchos did before, they worked to dig themselves out from a possible defeat.
First, it came from Smith (10 points), who hit a three to cut the lead to six. Next, another player from Gauchos made a three point play to cut the lead to within three, 37-40. Sports U looking to regain some moment, failed, as they caused a turnover, which led to Smith capitalizing with yet another three to tie the game with a minute left.
Spencer Weisz (11 points) of Sports U had a chance at the buzzer, but missed, which meant overtime yet again for the Gauchos. As they did in the previous game, the Gauchos scrap together some plays on both sides of the court (a block shot by Fuchs, and some contested shots made in by Wilson) to pull out a lead 42-41. A pair of free throws made by Wilson (10 points) finished the game, and the upset, as the Gauchos won 44-41.
17 and Under Championship
While Tyler Harris, brother of Tobias Harris, led all scorers with 31 points, it did not help Albany City Rock win the championship, as the Playaz Club claimed those rights. Kyle Anderson (a junior who plays for St. Anthony's) of Playaz Basketball Club continued his impressive weekend at the Rumble, as he scored 19 points, and came away with MVP honors.