BRONX, NY-- On Friday evening, the Roundball Classic Live wrapped up in the 15U through 17U divisions. The grueling two day event was as much about skill as it was about attrition as the games ended at around the stroke of midnight with the Gauchos winning in the oldest division.
CT Elite 16U Spackle MetroHawks, 58-47
The MetroHawks jumped out the box early and led 14-8 with 9:39 left in the first half as 6-foot-5 Will Robinson (Mt. Vernon HS) cleaned up the boards and 6-foot-3 Thaddeus Hall (Thomas Jefferson Campus) slashing to the hole. But the CT Elite stuck to their game plan led by 5-foot-8 PG James Jennings (St. Joes) and the perimeter shooting of 6-foot-3 Lucas Hausman (Hopkins HS) who tied the game at 16 with 5:22 on the clock.
The lead shimmied back and forth but the inside play of rising soph 6-foot-7 Chris McCullough (Silasbury HS) sparked a 8-0 MetroHawk run. Once again, the Elite stuck to the game plan of good ball movement and a slower pace and with Tamaj Partier would knot the game at 25 with 58.4 second which would hold until the beginning of the second half.
The second half began with both teams pumped. Athletic play by 6-foot-4 Andre' Chambers (Wings HS) would keep the MetroHawks in the hunt while penetration by Jennings and 6-4 Jamil Powell in the paint kept the CT Elite on the foul line.
The game would go neck and neck until a 3-ball by Hausman plus the foul gave the Elite a 4 point advantage. That and a technical foul on the MetroHawks head coach Eric Andrews, which put Hausman back on the line put the NY squad in a 43-37 hole with 7:42 remaining. The MetroHawks would not be able to recover from that deficit as the Elite deftly paced the game, diminishing the MetroHawks timeframe to attempt to recover.
James Jennings led the Elite with 17 points followed by Lucas Hausman's 13 points. Thaddeus Hall paced the MetroHawks with 12 points while Andre Chambers added 8 points.
NY Gauchos 17U Overwhelm Long Island Lightning, 66-50
The finale of the Roundball Classic Live was between two New York squads. The Gauchos, the host team, began play utilizing their pressure defense along with an up-tempo offense. With the hour being late and both teams being clearly running on fumes, the first half was filled with missed shots and blown opportunities.
The Choz gained a 14-7 upper hand over the Lightning early on, if for no other reason than they were the initiators with 5-foot-9 PG Anthony Givens (Bishop Loughlin HS) pushing the tempo and Omar Calhoun finishing at the rim. With 6:44 left in the first half the Lightning soon found themselves down by 8 points With the Gauchos big man Kadeem Jack picking up three early fouls, Sheldon Hagigal attempted the charge and cut into the Choz lead but Bryan Smith stepped up giving the host team a 34-23 lead going in the locker room.
Jack began the second half and had an immediate impact on the defensive end and the Gauchos lead grew to 16 points with 12:49 remaining in regulation. The pace quickened as the MetroHawks fought tooth and nail to put a dent in the Choz lead but exhaustion more than anything was the MetroHawks enemy. That, and the Gauchos relentless pressure. The Lightning were able to get the lead down to 10 points with 2 minutes left in the game as 6-foot-4 Kevin Punter (Salesiah HS) pushed the action but free-throws by Calhoun sealed the deal as time ran out.
Omar Calhoun was high man for the Gauchos with 13 points with Bryan Smith adding 8 points. The MetroHawks was led by Kevin Punter who dropped 13 points followed by Sheldon Hagigal who scored 12 points.
Note: In the 15U championship game, the Gauchos defeated New Heights 61-58.