WESTBURY, NY - On a windy Wednesday evening, Team Underrated went up against the Shore Shots. At stake, the NIKE Swoosh 16U championship. Each team executed their own strategy and the game remained close throughout. In the end, the Shore Shots would take down TU, 48-43, winning the battle of the fundamentals.
"We didn't hit our foul shots," said Team Underrated head coach Andre' Edwards.
A patient Shore Shots offense struck first as a Jordan Fuchs (11 points) drained midrange shots to quickly put Team Underrated in a 4-0 hole.
Crafty point guard C.J. Davis (16 points) countered with buckets and a nice pass to Amityville's Mike Alston (8 points) would soon put TU on top. Baskets by Commack's Nick Arnold (10 points) and a put back Kyle Williams (8 points) capped off a 12-2 run and with a 1:34 left in the quarter, the Shore Shots found themselves down 12-6. Long Island Lutheran's K.J. Lee (12 points) ended the quarter strong to close the gap.
After relinquishing their early lead and going into the second quarter down 12-10, the Shore Shots found it difficult to crack Team Underrated's zone defense. The weather further compounded the situation, making perimeter shots difficult, but the Shore Shots remained close as and even briefly regained a 1 point lead as LuHi's 6'8" Ryan Denicola (10 points) became effective inside.
Ahead 21-20 to start the second half, Williams began to dominate inside and with 2:54 left in the third, TU was up by five points.
Denicola battled against Team Underrated's bigs and as the final quarter began, the Shore Shots remained in striking range, still only down 36-31.
Lee spearheads a run that reduced TU lead down to a point with 4:30 left in regulation and at the 3 minute mark Nigel Carter (3 points) would drain a 3-ball to give the Shore Shots a 2 point lead.
The Shore Shots would extend that lead to 8 points with 56 seconds but poor foul shooting Team Underrated down the stretch would be the undoing of TU as forewarned by Coach Edwards.