NEW YORK, NY - After two overtimes and three minutes of sudden death, the Rumble in the Bronx 17U gold championship would literally end in a rumble. Sports U would go up against their arch rival, Playaz Club and emerge from the rubble with a 57-55 win at John Jay College.
"This was especially good cuz we beat [the Playaz Club]," said Josh Brown, who scored the winning basket during an ending that more resembled a rugby match.
The two New Jersey rivals navigated their way through a large tournament field from all over the nation, which was top heavy with over 20 New York squads. Playaz topped the NY Lightning in the semis, 56-53 while the Sports thumped the Rens Hargrave by 20 points.
After jumping out to a 33-23 halftime lead, Coach Eric Harrield instructed Sports U point guard Kasim Chandler to milk the clock and wait for a good shot on almost every possession. Baskets by DeAndre Bembry and 6'7" Jahleem Montague did a good job of providing much needed offense to keep Sports U out in front.
Looking to pick up the pace, Shane Rector, the only New Yorker on the court, would cut into Sport U's advantage with aggressive drives to the hoop. As a result, the Playaz Club eventually took their first lead, 47-46 with 3:39 left in regulation.
Hallice Cooke quickly drain a 3-ball to regain Sport U's lead by two but a counter by Mike Young knotted it up at 49.
Kavon Stewart slashed to the hole with 17 secs left in regulation but Rector would take the game into OT at 53 apiece scoring yet another clutch bucket.
With a 2 minute OT followed by a 1 minute second OT, both teams could only find the rim once.
Tied at 55 at the end of the second OT, the Playaz Club went for the win but Reggie Cameron missed a trey and the game was potentially heading into a third overtime.
After a quick call to RITB director Jim Hart, it was decided that the game would end in sudden death.
Tensions grew as each team became increasingly aware that their opponent was only one bucket from taking home the hardware. First basket wins the game.
Both teams crashed the boards with reckless abandon but eventually Brown rose to the top of the heap and scored the winning basket in the paint.
Inexplicably, during both OT's and almost three minutes of sudden death with loads of physical play the refs swallowed their whistles and no fouls were called.
The physicality escalated until after the game, "heated words" along with some shoving ensued. Fortunately, it was squelched by security.
Cook led Sport U with 15 points followed by Brown who knocked down 10 points. Young was the high man for the Playaz Club and the game with 19 points and 8 rebounds while Rector added 16 points.
Dallas Mustangs win 17U Silver chip, 77-75
Out of the20+ New York teams to compete in this year's RITB, the Westchester Hawks would end up being the last NY team standing; that is until they faced a hard charging Dallas Mustangs.
Led by a dunkfest from 6'4" Soma Edo, the Mustangs built a 9 point halftime lead and topped the Hawks, who never led in the contest, but never gave up the fight.
Marcus Foster was high man for the Mustangs with Edo contributing 16 points. Danny Upchurch paced the Hawks with a game high 23 points.
Team SCAN redeems NY; Wins 16U Gold
The 16U championship would be between two New York teams. The City would get to the championship round by defeating the Philly Ballhawks in the semis while Team Scan beat CIA Bounce 53-52. In the chip, Team SCAN would dominate The City, 57-39.
New Jersey Playaz take the 15U chip
Team SCAN would demolish the Riverside Hawks, 83-60, in the semifinals and the NJ Playaz would defeat B.A.B.C. , 49-41 setting up a meeting in the championship round. In a closely contested match, Team SCAN would fall short as the Playaz advanced, 61-59 to win the championship hardware.