Tucson, Ariz.-It came down to a west coast vs. east coast match up at the Cactus Classic, and the New York Gauchos overcame the enhanced Belmont Shores squad 102-96 behind the sharp shooting of Chris Fouch and the solid play of point guard Kemba Walker.
The MVP of the tournament, Walker went for an efficient 24 points on 11 of 17 shooting from the field. He hit his one three-point attempt and the rest of his scores came in the lane from penetrating the porous Belmont Shores defense.
A physical and competitive player, Walker also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists while taking good care of thee ball.
Getting the Gauchos off to a fast start, Fouch struck for five three-pointers on five attempts in the first half. For the game he finished with seven of ten three-pointers for all 21 of his points.
Coming up big inside for the Gauchos was 6-foot-6 Kevin Phillips who scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Not only did Phillips control the paint but he also had the athleticism to match up with Demar Derozan on the perimeter.
Derozan, whose play this weekend begs for an even higher ranking, pumped in 24 points, but was not as efficient as he had been in earlier games as he hit only 11 of 26 shots. He did have two consecutive eye catching possessions, however, when he posted up in the midrange and hit spinning fall away jumpers.
His added on teammate Brandon Jennings also struggled from the field and especially from the arc. Jennings hit only one of nine threes while Derozan struck on only two of nine from the arc. For the game, Jennings had 24 points on ten of 24 shooting. Most of those points came on put backs off Jennings' ten rebounds. Jennings' defensive play, however, left much to be desired.
New addition Roberto Nelson led Belmont Shores in scoring with 27 points. He hit two of five three-pointers while going eight of 13 from the field overall. Most impress was his physical driving to the basket. He got to the line ten times, hitting nine of them, while also dishing out four assists and snagging seven rebounds.
A future four-star 2009 prospect for Belmont Shores, Darius Morris continued his strong play, scoring ten points and dishing out three assists. Morris, who appears to still be growing as a 6-foot-2 point guard, has a great feel for the game as a passer and ball handler.