BRONX, NY - The Rumble in the Bronx started up on Friday evening with some high level games in the 17u division at Mott Haven H.S.
Some of NYC's top teams were in action, and it wasn't all great for our locals with a few going down in surprising fashion. Even with the losses, it was a great start to New York's premier AAU event. Here is a recap from the evening's action.
The biggest surprise of the day was in the game between New Heights and United Sons and Daughters from Connecticut. The two teams had faced each other Memorial Day weekend at the Super 16 Showcase, but here in the Rumble, they were drawn in the same pool. In their previous matchup, New Heights came back from a 2nd half deficit to win a tight one, and this one ended up going down to the wire as well.
USAD-66 got off to a quick start behind the play of Schadrac Casimir (South Kent, CT '14) who was able to slash into the lane to create offensively, while also spotting up from beyond the arc and connecting from deep to see his team go up 28-18 midway through the opening half. New Heights fought back though behind the wheels of a 9-0 run on which Bashir Ahmed (JFK '13) scored 5 in the run, including a monster breakaway dunk. New Heights grabbed a lead late in the half, but Isaac Vann (Burnell, CT '14) hit on a short floater before the buzzer to see USAD go up 35-34 at the half.
New Heights looked in control for most of the 2nd half as they opened up a lead of 47-40 with Jordan Washington (Pathways '13) doing most of the damage, with an array of spins and finishes in the paint. USAD would not let the game get away though. They kept the game tight and eventually tied the game up at 60 when Casimir hit in his 4th three of the game.
Washington put New Heights back in front with an outback off a Glenn Sanabria (St. Peter's '14) miss, and Ahmed hit on a short jumper in the lane off a turnover. When Paul Jorgensen (Don Bosco Prep, NJ '14) picked off a pass and went all the way for a lay up to make it 67-62 with 58.8 to go, it looked all but over, but in reality, it most certainly was not.
Vann would score on a tough outback against two defenders, and then off a turnover, Casimir went down the right wing for a bucket, and with 39.7 to go, USAD was within 1 at 67-66. Tough defense by USAD was able to create a turnover and they held for one, hoping for a winning shot. Casimir made his move, and as he drove, the double came over and he made a beautiful slip pass inside to Taddeus Janek who scored with 3 seconds left to give USAD the 68-67 lead. Jorgensen got the ball and hoped to get off a half court heave, but he was stripped just before the shot as time expired and USAD got their revenge from the loss two weeks ago and got the win.
Casimir scored 22 and Vann had 19 in the win for USAD, while Washington led all scoters with 25 for New Heights in defeat.
It also wasn't good for Brooklyn Badgers (Red) on Friday either when they took on the NJ Thunder. Playing as a mixture of Badger kids and The City kids, they got off to a good start behind the play of Marko Kozul (Molloy '13) but they struggled with the perimeter offense of Donovan Wright (Hotchkiss, CT '14) who lit it up for a good portion of the 1st half.
Doudmy Saint Hilaire (South Shore '14) looked to get it going and was able to penetrate onto the lane and do damage early on in the 2nd half as the Badgers took a 6 point lead, but the play of Austin White (Blair Academy, NJ '14) was too much. The 6'5" versatile forward was able to score on the insider time and time again. Mike Silverthorn (Blair Academy, NJ '14) also hit a big shot late, as his range and ability to score from anywhere behind the arc proved to be a valuable weapon. The game winner ended up coming in the closing seconds as White caught an alley oop pass and finished with authority to close out the game as the Thunder shocked the Badgers in this one 79-77.
White had a game high 20 for the Thunder, with Wright adding 16 and a number of beautiful assists. Kozul led the Badgers in the loss with 17.
A couple of bright spots did come out of Friday. The Rens, who were down 7 at the half to the NY Gauchos (Williams), showed a lot of character and fight, even without the services of Rawle Alkins (Christ the King '16), to come back and defeat the Choz, 68-66.
Lastly, Scotia, a high school team from upstate NY that travels and plays a lot on the AAU circuit, surprised Syracuse Select, 100-66. It was a blowout of monster proportions, and two players stood out for Scotia. Joe Cremo (Scotia '15) is an athletic 6'3" with good range and a nice touch on the inside. He showed toughness and versatility finishing with 30 points in the win. The other is Scott Stopera (Scotia '15). He is on the smaller side of PG's at 5'7", but he shot the ball well from deep showing above average range, as well as great court vision. The team is coached very well and should be a team come H.S. season to watch for upstate in the Class "A" Division.
It was a great first night of action at Mott Haven in the 17u Division, and Saturday's games should prove just as good, if not better. An exciting weekend of great basketball is surely on tap.