SOUTH JAMAICA, NY - It was palpable that it was playoff time at the iS8/Nike tournament on Sunday. The audience was packed, the games went down to the wire, and as the IS8 slogan read, players brought their game, not their name. The energy in the stands was elevated from the early morning, into the later hours of the afternoon; and with good reason.
From lead changes to spectacular plays, the games on Sunday were definitely must-sees and those in attendance were not left without satisfaction. When it was all said and done, some teams moved on, while others went home.
Team Hersh Reigns On Lightning
In the second game of the day, Team Hersh (Players from Thomas Jefferson Campus) took on the Lightning in their first round match-up. Both teams started off very careless with the ball. Though the Lightning would jump out to an early 8-2 lead, Team Hersh would battle back and end the first quarter with their first lead of the game, 13-12. The difference maker in this bout would be Team Hersh's guard Davontay Grace. He'd finish with 10, but his playmaking and timely scoring would prove to be an x-factor for Team Hersh. At the end of three, Team Hersh would extend their lead over Lightning to 9 and would eventually go on to win 78-61. Team Hersh's Tyquan Goodlett led all scorers with 19 points. Zach Lewis led the Lightning with 14, who received a quiet effort from their top gun Kuran Iverson, who finished with just 11 points.
Defending Champs Claw Past Princeton Day
Game three saw the Panthers and Princeton Day take battle. The Panthers would look to their big man, Djurisic Nemanja, for offense early. He had an early 6 points in the first quarter and finished with 20 for the game, proving to be a presence down low while also showing range. However, Princeton Day had an offensive power of their own; Chris Thomas, who had 8 points in the first quarter, including 2 3-pointers leading Princeton Day to a 24-20 lead after one. The Panthers would snatch the lead back in the second and after three, would build a 15 point lead. Thomas would finish with a team high 25, including 4 from down-town, but he was the lone shining star for Princeton Day, as the Panthers would finish with a 78-67 win. The Panthers' Jeffrey Short would finish with a team-high 22 points.
Connecticut B'Ball Club Gets Juice'd
One of the best games of the day came between the Juice All-Stars and CBC. CBC was led by their athletic big man, Andre Drummond. Drummond dominated the defensive end for CBC, finishing up with 5 blocks in the game. He also showed off his athleticism on the offensive end with one handed alley-oop of an inbound pass that brought the house down. The Juice All-Stars, on the other hand, were led by their little man, point guard Shaquille Stokes. After CBC extended their lead as much as 17 in the third, the All-Stars went on a 10-0 led by Stokes' sharp shooting, pulling within 9 after 3. The Juice All-Stars would pull within 1 in the 4th, but wouldn't get any closer, as CBC would cling to a 61-56 victory. Stokes finished with a game-high 24 points. Tevon Allen led CBC with 16 while Drummond finished with 14 of his own.
Team Hersh Douple Dips; Beats OSNA In 2nd Round
Team Hersh played again later in the day, taking on Long Island's Our Savior New American in their second round game. Our Savior jumped out to a big lead in the 1st quarter. Daouda Soumaar's jumper at the buzzer gave Our Savior a 23-6 lead after one. The play of the game came after Lebrent Walker crossed up Shamel Williams, missed the lay-up, and Chris Obekpa cleaned up with the tip-in slam. But it wouldn't faze Team Hersh, as they'd respond with a 12-0 run to pull within 4. At the half, the game was knotted up at 28. In the third, Team Hersh outscored Our Savior 22-14, including a buzzer beater by Williams (14 points) to give them their largest lead of the contest, 50-42. In the fourth, Our Savior would pull within 1 after a 3 from Jevon Thomas with 1:20. Our Savior would never regain the lead though, as Team Hersh would hold on to a win 71-67. Thomas led all with 24 points. Edson Avila led Team Hersh with 19.