MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - All the good things needed for high drama happened in the 16-under championship between Team Breakdown and Heart & Hustle at the Breakdown Hoops Festival on Thursday at St. Thomas University.
There was a comeback and a last-second putback that would have forced overtime except the referees ruled the clock had run out before Heart & Hustle scored. The basket was waved off. The thing was the clock didn't have a functioning buzzer so there was no sound, just the ruling by the officials that the game was over a split second before it would have been tied.
Team Breakdown 60, Heart & Hustle 58.
Four-star power forward Demetrius Henry from Oakland Park (Fla.) Northeast was fantastic for Breakdown, scoring inside, chasing down loose balls and altering numerous shots. He finished with 14 points and was valuable on both ends.
Point guard Marcus Maye helped his recruitment this week. He was exceptional once again in the championship game. Powerful and tough, Maye is best taking the ball to the basket and if he continues to develop his three-point shooting he'll become an even more-coveted prospect.
Michael Avery was also good as Breakdown opened up a comfortable double-digit lead only to see it wither away late in the second half. The backcourt triumvirate of Ian Baker, Shawn Smith and Carlos Morris (20 points) led the comeback charge. Baker is a tough, heady point guard and Smith is a high-major talent who's recruitment is heating up.
A 6-foot-3 guard from Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day, Smith said Florida State is still his favorite but that Ole Miss is making a push as well. Seminoles' assistant Andy Enfield and Rebels' assistant Torrey Ward were courtside.
Lavin watches Long Island squad
New St. John's coach Steve Lavin watched Long Island Lightning's semifinal matchup against K-Lightning and it certainly didn't go unnoticed by the players from New York City. One of those recruits was Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln Kamari Murphy, a 6-foot-9 forward.
"(Coach) Dana Dingle told me this game that I had to show up, a lot of people came out to see me so I tried to play to my best abilities and hopefully (Lavin) liked what he saw," Murphy said. "It shows he's interested in me. I'm just happy that he came out."
Murphy played well finishing with 21 points, many of those coming off putbacks, and he also rebounded and ran the floor. Virginia, Iowa State, Siena, St. John's and Rutgers are the main schools showing interest so Murphy said he was pleased to see Lavin show up to watch.
"Being at St. John's coming from UCLA, he wants to find some New York kids," Murphy said. "He might bring a couple kids from California but New York kids are a must at St. John's. It's close to home, it's the Big East so that's a good look."
Also playing well for the Long Island Lightning 17-under squad was Brooklyn (N.Y.) Bishop Loughlin's Kareem Canty, a point guard who plays under control, distributes the ball and is intelligent.
He said Iowa State, UMass, George Mason, Marist, Seton Hall and Iona are showing the most interest but it didn't go unnoticed that Lavin was in the stands. A new coach at St. John's is a big thing especially someone with as big a reputation as Lavin, who led the Bruins to five Sweet 16s in six seasons.
"I need July because I want to choose the schools I want to go to," Canty said. "It means (Lavin) is coming to see you and who he wants to recruit and hopefully I played well. That's St. John's. That's right in New York and I'd like to play in The Garden."
The Lightning cruised to the 17-under championship by beating the South Florida Panthers, 62-42. Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick guard Derrick Gordan led the way with 18 points in the championship victory.
Severe has some serious skills
Jonathan Severe looked so good in the Lightning's 62-34 15-under championship victory against Gold Coast that one assistant coach said that the Middle Village (N.Y.) Christ the King 2013 prospect would be a high-major player and recruited by schools up and down the East Coast.
Severe was talented enough to play on any Lightning team - probably even the 17-under squad that won its age bracket. He hits three-pointers, finishes at the rim, plays with intensity and is already muscular enough to grind it out. The kid is so tough that he got hit with an inadvertent elbow near his throat and re-entered the game only minutes later.
The other impressive prospect on the 15-under Long Island team is point guard Ethan Telfair and if the name sounds familiar it should. The 5-foot-9 recruit's brother is Sebastian, the New York City legend and NBA player. Telfair said he's probably attending Roy C. Ketcham High in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., next year.