The showdown was set as Friends of Hoop, New York Gauchos, The Family and Team Memphis were the last teams standing at the 2004 Nike Memorial Day Classic. Monday morning at 10 a.m. two semi-final games were played with the winners advancing to the championship game at High Noon.
Team Memphis 66 The Family 44
After handing the Georgia Stars their first loss of the summer season Saturday night, The Family hardly looked like the same team in Sunday's semi-final game against Team Memphis.
Fatigue had apparent set in for The Family and their early lack of energy sealed their fate as they only managed 16 first half points on the way to a 14-point deficit.
Memphis on the other hand has a deep roster of at least 10 players who can impact a game. They looked fresh and took a methodical approach of high percentage shots near the basket in their 65-44 win.
Memphis: Jay Watkins 15, Thaddeus Young 12, Wayne Chism 11, Pierre Niles 10, Shawne Williams 9, J.P. Prince 6.
Family: Tajuan Porter 15, Ramar Smith 10, Deshawn Sims 9, Chris Douglas-Roberts 8.
New York Gauchos 76 Friends of Hoop 71
While the other semi-final game was somewhat of a disappointment the New York Gauchos and Friends of Hoop match-up lived up to the hype with the Gauchos pulling out a 76-71 win in the closing minutes.
The Gauchos sensational backcourt of Jessie Sapp and Saiquon Stone continued their impressive tournament run with Sapp serving up defenders from the outside and Stone using his strong body and quickness to drive to the basket and finish seemingly at will. Curtis Kelly put an impressive performance in the paint with 14 points.
Hoop big man Jon Brockman was held to only two points in the first half but his team still held a slight advantage heading into the break. However, the second half was a different story with Brockman attacking the rim with strong drives and posting up hard on his way to 17 points.
Shooting guard Ryan Staudacher knocked down six three-pointers but in a bit of irony his only miss of the game came with under a minute to play and would have tied the game. Kansas commitment Micah Downs was his usually reliable self scoring 14 points from the field.
Gauchos: Saiquon Stone 28, Jessie Sapp 25, Curtis Kelly 14, Michael Davis 2.
FOH: Ryan Staudacher 20, Jon Brockman 17, Micah Downs 14, Spencer Hawes 8, Mitchell Johnson 5.
Team Memphis 68 New York Gauchos 63
While New Orleans may be known as the "Big Easy" winning the championship was anything but that for Team Memphis who trailed for much of their game with the New York Gauchos before making a late run to pull out a 68-63 thriller.
Memphis started off the game with a comfortable double digit lead before the Gauchos rallied midway through the 1st half behind guards Jessie Sapp and Saiquon Stone who combined for 22 1st half points while leading the Gauchos to a 34-31 lead.
The start of the 2nd half saw much of the same thing with Gaucho guards Sapp and Stone leading the team with a combination of outside jumpers and strong drives to the basket. However, the momentum shifted after Stone fell to the floor while suffering his second leg champ. He briefly left the game but favored his right leg the rest of the day.
Meanwhile Memphis point guard Willie Kemp emerged from his quiet tournament and took over the game by penetrating the lane and attacking the rim. As a result of his aggressive offensive mindset Kemp went to the free-throw line eight times in the final half when he scored 10 of his 13 points.
With Kemp penetrating teammate Jay Watkins, who finished with 13 points, began cutting to the basket where the Memphis point guard found him for easy baskets.
Memphis: Shawne Williams 14, Jay Watkins 13, Willie Kemp 13, Pierre Niles 11, Thaddeus Young 7, J.P. Prince 6, Wayne Chism 5.
Gauchos: Jessie Sapp 26, Saiquon Stone 20, Michael Davis 10, Curtis Kelly 6.