20 Dec 2021

Opening Day at The Kreul Classic

We hitched up the wagon and headed over to Coral Springs for the 32nd Annual Kreul Classic.  Games were held on two courts at the Coral Springs City Gym as well as Coral Springs High School, a quick seven or so minute jaunt from the City Gym.  We hit up games in both places.

Lakeland Victory Christian vs. Boca Raton St. Andrew’s

This was to be the first game of the day on Court 2.  However, earlier in the week, St. Andrew’s got hit with a COVID wave, forcing them to drop out.  The organizers did their best to find a local team to fill in for one game, even seeing if Mater Dei out of California could play their bench (not allowed under CIF rules).  Sadly, no team could be found and the first game of the day on our “to see” schedule was washed away.

Mount Vernon, NY vs. Coconut Creek Monarch

Mount Vernon is a highly successful program just outside of New York City.  While this year’s squad had no nationally recognized players, the Knights are still a powerful force.  They proved that early against a short-handed Monarch team, playing without their top player, 6’4 junior Kellen Cashman, due to a hand injury.  The score at the end of the first quarter was 22-5 and at the half Mount Vernon led 42-16.  At that point, we decided to see if the game “next door” between West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman and Fort Lauderdale Stranahan would offer a bit more competitive entertainment.  Mount Vernon won big, 75-39.

West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman vs. Fort Lauderdale Stranahan

We knew going into this game that we would only be able to catch the first half as we wanted to make sure we got over the Coral Springs HS to catch the 3:00PM game between Fort Lauderdale Dillard and South Gwinnett out of Snellville, Georgia.  Newman opened the game quickly, building an 11-4 lead early on.  Stranahan was unfazed and using its match-up zone to great effect, was able to finish the first quarter with a lead of 18-16.  The Dragon’s continued to maintain their lead in the second quarter, extending it to six at the break 32-26.  It was at this point we headed over to Coral Springs HS.

From various reports, the Newman/Stranahan game was close throughout the second half.  Newman got back to within two by the end of the third quarter, but could not get any closer, ultimately falling by a score of 62-60.

Stranahan was led by 6’4 senior Houstan Culpepper with 15 points.  Newman got a game-high 24 points from 6’7 junior Marouf Moumine.

Fort Lauderdale Dillard vs. South Gwinnett

The Comets of South Gwinnett got out quickly, leading 8-4 after four minutes with all of those points coming at the rim.  Dillard responded with a 5-0 run to take a 9-8 lead but it didn’t last long.  South Gwinnett finished the first quarter with a 6-2 run to take a 14-11 lead into the second period.

Dillard took control of the quarter early on.  Three pointers from Logan Karvoski and Dwayne Wimberly fueled a 10-1 run that found the Panthers up 21-15 midway thru the period.  Now it was the Comets’ turn to take control.  They extended their defense, forced some turnovers, got easy baskets, and slowly chipped away at Dillard’s lead.  By the break, South Gwinnett was back on top, 29-24.

Dillard took advantage of some Comet miscues in third period’s first few minutes to draw within a basket, 32-30, with four minutes left in the quarter.  The Panthers eventually tied the game at 34-34 with two-and-a-half minutes left.  Still, South Gwinnett was able to hold the Panthers off and led by just two, 39-37, going into the final period.

Dillard had its moments in the final quarter.  Down two with two minutes to play, Dillard’s 6’5 senior Derrick Lovett scored inside to tie the score at 43-43.  The Comets’ Jacob Washington responded with a drive and score to put them back on top.  Dillard went back to Lovettt on their next possession and he was fouled.  He made the first but missed the second, making the score 45-44 in favor of South Gwinnett.  Unfortunately, that would be Dillard’s final points.  Kendall Walker of South Gwinnett connected on a three to make it a two-possession game.  Dillard missed a three on their next possession and the Comets’ Kamren Heathigton finished off the scoring with a bucket inside to make the final score 50-44 in favor of South Gwinnett.

Heathington finished with 16 points to lead South Gwinnett.  Lovett tallied 19 points to pace Dillard.

Miami Riviera Prep vs. NJ The Patrick School

We got back to the Coral Springs City gym and time to catch the last quarter and a half of Riviera Prep and The Patrick School out of New Jersey.  Riviera Prep was down ten when we walked in.  We also noticed that 6’7 junior Osmar Garcia-Araujo was on the bench in street clothes and that senior point guard Esteban Lluberes was not in the game.  At a break, we found at the Osmar was out with an ankle injury while Lluberes had played earlier in the contest, so he was just taking a breather.  The Patrick School was up 41-34 going into the final quarter.  Lluberes re-entered the game for Riviera Prep but was unable to make the desired impact.  The Patrick School ultimately won by six, 55-49.

The Patrick School’s 6’2 junior Korbyn Samuels led the Celtics with 17 points.  Riviera Prep got 16 points each from Lluberes and 6’10 senior Edward Nnamoko.

Miami Senior vs. NJ Bergen Catholic

The Stingerees entered the season as a top five team in Miami.  Bergen Catholic, however, was considered a pre-season top 40 team in the country.  “The High” was also playing short-handed with 6’6 senior Kuran Bryant out with a hand injury.  Bergen Catholic was also missing one of their top players, 6’2 Elliot Cadeau, one to the top sophomores in the country, as he has a torn ligament in his foot.

A 6-0 run by Bergen forced a Miami timeout just over a minute into the contest.  It didn’t help.  Miami was struggling with the speed, quickness, and tenacity of the Bergen defense.  If the Stings didn’t turn the ball over, their shot attempts were rushed.  With the score of 17-4 at the end of one period and 31-12 at the break, it looked like Bergen Catholic would quickly run away with the game.

That didn’t happen.  The High began the third quarter with a 7-0 run and got to within eleven, 34-23, midway thru the third.  At that point Bergen pretty much said, “enough of that” and finished out the third quarter with a 6-1 run to make the score 40-24 going into the final period of play.

Bergen Catholic pushed their advantage to twenty, 51-31, with four minutes left to play.  Give the Stings a lot of credit though as they didn’t quit and ultimately made the final score more respectable at 59-46.

Bergen Catholic was led by 6’9 sophomore Terry Copeland with 22 points.  Miami Senior was paced by 6’4 junior Josh Middlebrooks with 13 points.

Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy vs. Pompano Beach Ely

Oh, what a difference a few years makes.  As little as three years ago, this would have been a classic match-up.  However, Ely has struggled the past couple of years while Westminster Academy has maintained a high level of talent as well as success.  That was made clear in the opening quarter.  Ely was within four, 7-3, with four minutes gone and having success forcing turnovers from Westminster.  The Lions eventually figured it out and ran off a 13-4 run to end the first period up 20-7.

The ensuing three quarters would only see Westminster increase their lead.  Time and again, the Lions got easy transition baskets off either a steal or Tigers missed shot.  Westminster led by twenty-six, 69-43, with four minutes left in the contest before the Tigers ultimately closed the gap to 74-54 for a final score.

The Lions got 28 points from big-time freshman Alexander Lloyd.  The Tigers were led by Armon Forest with 11 points.

Fort Lauderdale U-School vs. Lexington KY Catholic

The late game of the day started a good bit passed its scheduled 8:30PM start time.  Because of the long drive back to the Source Hoops Hacienda, we made the executive decision to leave at the break, which found U-School up by eight, 25-17.

We arguably missed the most competitive game of the day.  Lexington Catholic was within five, 37-32, with one quarter left to play.  The Knights almost made it all the way back but fell short to the Sharks of U-School by one point, 53-52.

6’7 senior Andrew Randon of U-School led the Sharks with 17 points while Lexington Catholic was paced by 6’4 senior Jack Gohman with 23 points.


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