NASHVILLE, Tenn.- After traveling across country to Arizona and winning the Cactus Classic last weekend, the New York Gauchos worked their way into the finals of the NIKE Memorial Day Classic against the Georgia Blazers. The Gauchos failed to capture a consecutive championships, however, as the Andre Young led Georgia Blazers took the crown with a 63-61 win.
A 5-foot-8 combo guard in the mold of Oregon's Tajuan Porter, Young led the Blazers in scoring with 15 points in the championship game as he did in virtually every game of the tournament. Athletic and fearless, Young has a quick trigger release and shoots the deep ball extremely well. As with Porter, Young is a bubble high-major prospect, and I have a suspicion one high-major school will be glad they took a chance on him.
Also coming up big for the Blazers in the championship game was athletic left handed wing Kelvin Martin. He scored six critical points down the stretch run of the game to end up with 13 points.
Once again the Gauchos had a balanced scoring attack led by Jordan Theodore with 16 points, Darryl Bryant with 15 points and Kemba Walker with 13.
The Blazers stayed in the game with a zone defense that neutralized the penetration abilities of the Gauchos' guards. Nonetheless, the Gauchos led by as much as seven points in the fourth quarter before the Blazers made their game winning run.
Semifinals: Georgia Blazers 66, Seattle Friends of Hoop 55
Little scoring guards Andre Young and Isaiah Thomas matched each other in the scoring column with Young going for 13 points and Thomas scoring 15 points.
The x-factor for the Blazers was 6-foot-6 forward Brandon Gibson who netted 12 points. Gibson brings strength, strong hands and a diverse skill set to the court. He is capable of shooting the three ball, but what he does best is attack the basket on the dribble. He can also snatch a tough rebound out of a crowd.
Semifinals: New York Gauchos 75, Athletes First 60
After leading for much of the game, Athletes First eventually wilted under the defensive pressure of the Gauchos. Xavier Henry was good, but not dominant as he scored 16 points.
The Gauchos' sophomore guard Durand Scott did a great job defending Henry along with some help from his teammates. Scott also scored a team high 18 points.
And as has been the theme over the past couple weeks, Kemba Walker got to the rim at will, scoring nine points but more importantly setting up his teammates for scores.
Terrence Boyd of Athletes First was the game high scorer with 20 points to finish off a very productive weekend for the power wing guard.
The inability of Athletes First to take advantage of their post players Kyle Hardrick and Daniel Orton cost them the game.
16's and 15's
It was a clean sweep for Boo Williams as their 16-under squad was too much for the scrappy St. Louis Eagles. And after winning a marvelous tight game against the Jackson Tigers in 15-under action, the New York Gauchos just didn't have enough in the tank to match an overpowering Boo Williams 15-under team.
Rivals.com will have more on the outstanding talent in the 16-under and 15-under division of the tournament in the coming days.