Day one of the Playaz Spring Fling revealed a good mix of breakout performances from a crop of new rising stars and solid efforts from the big name players in attendance. Wayne Ellington, pictured right, led the home team Playaz Basketball Club to a hard fought victory and freshman sensation Tyreke Evans had his coming out party with a dominating show of offensive firepower.
Playaz win despite big effort from Saunders
The Playaz survived a pool play scare against the underdog Rhode Island Breakers and cruised to a 65-50 win on Friday night. The Breakers actually led this game at the half thanks to 20 points from 6-foot-4 sophomore Rakim Saunders from St. Andrews School in Barrington, RI. However, 6-foot-4 junior 2G Wayne Ellington scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and the Playaz tightened the screws defensively down the stretch to preserve the win.
Saunders led all scorers with 31 points, including 7 bombs from beyond the arc.
The Playaz were led by Ellington with 17 points. 6-foot-9 combo-guard Earl Clark added 13 points, a 6-foot-5 sophomore WF Corey Stokes had 10 points.
Evans drops 40 in a loss
Sam Rines All Stars got 40 points from 6-foot-4 freshman PG Tyreke Evans from American Christian School in Aston, PA, but it wasn't enough as the New England Playaz, behind 26 points from 6-foot-7 WF Kiwan Smith hung on for a 63-61 victory.
Evans just keeps impressing with each outing. Tonight, the New England Playaz simply had no one in the backcourt capable of containing the precocious star.
6-foot-8 C/F Travis George added 12 points for the Playaz in the win.
6-foot-7 PF T.J. Lundy from Pocono Mountain West in Pennsylvania had 9 points for Sam Rines in the loss.
Loaded DC Assault pounds Trailblazers
6-foot-8 sophomore forward Mike Beasley scored 14 points to lead a balanced DC Assault attack as they mauled the NJ Trailblazers 67-32. 6-foot-5 sophomore G/F Austin Freeman from DeMatha Catholic added 13 points, 6-foot-2 sophomore 1/2G Adrian Bowie from Montrose Christian had 11 points, and 6-foot-3 sophomore Nolan Smith from Riverdale Baptist had 9 in the blowout win.
The Assault crew is deep and talented this year with 6-foot-9 sophomore C/F Julian Vaughn, 6-foot Ray Brewer, and 5-11 Navarro Bowman rounding out the group. They should challenge for multiple championships in the spring and summer despite their relative youth.
New Jersey Elite upsets Cecil Kirk
With top player Casiem Drummond sitting on the sidelines and Cecil Kirk jumping out to an 18-2 lead to start the game, things looked bleak for the New Jersey Elite. However, the coaching staff's instructions to turn up the defensive pressure paid off, as they clawed their way back into the game and trailed by just 1 at the half.
The second half was a pitched battle, but the Elite completed their comeback and held on for a 55-52 win. 6-foot junior PG Kenny Watson from Hillside HS in New Jersey led the way with 14 points. 5-foot-11 junior Frank Turner from Atlantic City HS had 13 points, and 6-foot-8 junior C Abdullah Ouedraogo from Science HS in Newark, NJ added 10 points and did a great job on DaJuan Summers.
6-foot-5 junior guard Jahmar Young from W.E.B. Dubois in Baltimore, MD led all scorers with 19 points in the loss. Summers added 13 points, but struggled to get into a good rhythm offensively.
Tiki Mayben is playing with DC Assault in this event. Mayben told us that it's about 50/50 that he'll be on campus at Syracuse in the fall. In the event that he doesn't make it academically, South Kent School in Connecticut is where he'll prep next season.
The Long Island Lightning's 6-foot sophomore PG Corey Fisher turned his ankle in a game against the Connecticut Select. It is unclear whether he'll be able to play in a highly anticipated matchup with Philadelphia sophomore Antonio Jardine on Saturday.
Earl Clark told us that Miami, Connecticut, Syracuse, and Kentucky are the four schools at the top of his list. He's got offers from the Hurricanes, Villanova, Rutgers, Seton Hall, and UNLV.