BRYAN, Texas -- Few teams in Texas can say they have come out on top against the highly respected Houston Hoopstars.
The Texas D-1 Ambassadors-San Antonio can now boast that it has not one but two wins over the Hoopstars.
The Ambassadors used a big 3-pointer late to defeat the Hoopstars, 63-60, in the NBA Division championship game of the Bryan/College Station Great American Shoot-Out on Sunday. The win Sunday gave the Ambassadors bragging rights for the second time in the tournament. The two teams were in the same pool, and the Ambassadors beat the Hoopstars, 63-58, during pool play Saturday.
The difference in Sunday's win versus Saturday's win came in a 6-foot-10, 260-pound package of Hoopstars' standout Cameron Ridley. The five-star center did not play throughout the GASO because of his participation with adidas Nations over the weekend. Ridley, however, did suit up for the team in the finals.
With Ridley in the lineup of a deep Hoopstars roster -- and the Ambassadors suiting up only seven players (a couple of players missed the tournament because of the SAT) - many felt the odds were against the Ambassadors on Sunday. But the Ambassadors showed poise and character, overcoming an eight-point halftime deficit and scoring one of its biggest wins of the summer.
"We were a little short-handed, but we agreed to make no excuses," Ambassadors coach Paul Josephs said. "We went to Kansas City in May and didn't play great, but since then, we've really played well. We stayed composed, and we didn't get rattled."
The Hoopstars led, 31-23, at the half, but the Ambassadors rallied at the nine-minute mark of the second half. The Ambassadors' Connor Lammert tied the game at 51 with 5:49 left to play.
The biggest basket of the day came with one minute remaining, Cole Martinez drained a 3-pointer on the left corner of the court to break a 60-60 tie. The Hoopstars tried to play for the tie but turned the ball over with time running out.
"They [the Hoopstars] are a great team," Josephs said. "The tournament was loaded with great teams. But we said we were coming here to win. All of our guys play a lot of minutes in high school, and they're not intimidated, which is good."
The Ambassadors, for the record, outscored the Hoopstars, 40-29, in the second half. Lammert, Martinez and Jeffrey Rodewald each had 14 points in the win for the Ambassadors. Ridley led the Hoopstars with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
BRYAN/COLLEGE STATION GREAT AMERICAN SHOOT-OUT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME BOXSCORE (At Bryan High School) NBA DIVISION HOUSTON HOOPSTARS 31 29 - 60 TX D-1 AMBASSADORS-SA 23 40 - 63 Houston Hoopstars: P.J. Hardwick 5, Evan Cooper 10, Gary Smith 3, Atif Russell 4, Kavin Tilbury 2, Christian Crockett 11, Kyndahl Hill 8, Aaron Durley 2, Cameron Ridley 15 D-1 Ambassadors: Cole Martinez 14, Uche Ofoegbu 8, Adam Perez 11, Connor Lammert 14, Jeffrey Rodewald 14, Nikko Maxwell 2
NBA DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET RESULTS FIRST ROUND Game Point Elite 58, Houston Fever 52 Texas D-1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 83, Islanders Basketball Foundation 71 Houston Lynx Blue 68, Galveston Hornets 66 (OT) Austin Ice 74, Texas D-1 Ambassadors-Hardge 63 Ray Jackson Rising Stars 2013s 63, Ichiban 2012 Black 60 (OT) Dallas Showtyme Elite 67, CHB Rangers 62 South Texas Irish 51, Team Texas-O'Dell 50 Houston Hoopstars 70, Top Achievers Pistons 52 QUARTERFINALS Texas D-1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 60, Game Point Elite 50 Houston Lynx Blue 57, Austin Ice 48 Dallas Showtyme Elite 50, Ray Jackson Rising Stars 2013s 47 Houston Hoopstars 73, South Texas Irish 39 SEMIFINALS Texas D-1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 68, Houston Lynx Blue 61 Houston Hoopstars 69, Dallas Showtyme Elite 59 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME Texas D-1 Ambassadors-San Antonio 63, Houston Hoopstars 60