We headed up to the Gainesville-Alachua County Sports Complex to take in the first day of the Source Hoops Next Championships. Divisions in third thru eighth grade, as well as a middle school girls division, were hotly contested. Here is just a sampling of what went down.
In a Fifth Grade contest, Tallahassee teams XP Blue and the Tallahassee Nets squared off. The game was back and forth early on until XP Blue made a run to lead by eight, 21-13, at the break. XP Blue didn’t completely break away from the Nets until midway thru the second half when the lead got into double digits. XP Blue ultimately won by the score of 40-25.
XP Blue was paced by Kendon Hayes who lit up the scoreboard for 24 points.
The Nets were led by Premier Wade with 8 points.
Stepping up to the Sixth Grade, we caught Family First out of Orlando taking on Miami Knights Silver. Family First got out early and looked like they might take control, but Knights Silver fought back and made the contest close throughout. At the half, Family First led by only a single point, 26-25.
Family First started the second half with a 10-0 run. Once again, Knights Silver made the climb up the hill and with under thirty seconds to play, knocked down a three to tie the game at 51-51. After a timeout, Family First worked the ball around, found an opening inside, and knocked down a bucket with only seven seconds left. Knights Silver got off a good shot but it didn’t fall, and Family First held on to win 53-51.
Josiah Brutus led Family First with 17 points.
Randy Garcia paced Miami Knights Silver with 11 points.
Next up was the Seventh Grade category where we caught Tallahassee Equal Shot going up against Team Fly out of Gainesville. Team Fly got out early, as their full-court pressure defense forced turnovers which led to easy baskets. At the break, Team Fly was up 26-17.
Equal Shot made the right adjustments at the break and with just over twelve minutes to play, tied the score at 31-31. Equal Shot then took the lead on a three pointer. However, at that point, Team Fly turned up the pressure and got back to what made them successful in the first half. Team Fly held Equal Shot to just eleven points the rest of the contest and won by the score of 68-45.
Jordan Johnson led Team Fly with 18 points.
Kyle Chambliss paced Equal Shot with 12 points.
We spent our remaining time in the 8th Grade division.
Our first 8th Grade game featured Showtime Ballers out of Orlando taking on the Jacksonville Trojans. Showtime only brought six players to the show, but with two minutes left in the first half built a 28-18 lead. At the break, Showtime led 32-21.
The Trojans battled back in the second half and with two minutes remaining, were down just four at 45-41. The Trojans had their chances to draw closer but couldn’t knock down shots. Showtime turned those misses into transition points and won by the score of 50-41.
Showtime was led by Justice Bracero with 18 points.
Elijah Coleman paced the Trojans with 15 points.
We caught the Trojans again a bit later in the day against Seven S.E.A.S, which stands for Specifics, Equality, Academics, Sports, out of Starke. Seven SEAS came in at a bit of a disadvantage as the schedule had them playing back-to-back games, and they had just finished a nail-biter of a two point game. It didn’t seem to matter as, after a bit of a sluggish start, SEAS was able to make it a tie game at the half, 22-22.
In the second half, the depth of the Trojans and the extending playing time of back-to-back games wore the SEAS down. They fell behind by double digits midway thru the period. The Trojans of Jacksonville would go on to win by the final score of 60-48.
Marcus Bullock led the Trojans with 10 points
Seven S.E.A.S. was led by Aiden Greenidge with 13 points.
Tre Mann Elite has three programs in the eighth grade: one out of Tampa, one out of Orlando, and one out of Gainesville. The Gainesville contingent played in the event and we caught two of their games, both of which were one-sided affairs.
Against the Tallahassee Thunder, Mann Elite led 37-8 at the break. The collection of athletes and basketball acumen was simply overwhelming. To the Thunder’s credit, they scored more points in the second half than the first and didn’t allow Mann Elite to score as many points as they did in the first half. Still, Tre Mann Elite won quite comfortably, 61-22.
Amari Ray led Tre Mann Elite with 9 points.
The Thunder were paced by Jordan Kelley with 9 points.
Later, Tre Mann Elite squared off against the Jacksonville Wolfpack with similar results. The Wolfpack were simply overwhelmed and a running clock began the second half. We had to leave this game early to get to another court, but Tre Mann Elite easily, 52-30.
Our final game of the day featured the Brawlers out of Orlando taking on Skills Center Elite Lewis from Tampa/St. Pete. The contest started off close but the size and skill of the Brawlers slowly asserted itself. The Brawlers were able to force turnovers, get out in transition, and score easy baskets. When they did find themselves in the half-court, they got good looks inside via ball and player movement or made open perimeter shots. The Brawlers would go on to win by the score of 68-35.
The Brawlers were led by Julian Fox with 15 points.
Kevin Querette led Skills Center Elite Lewis with 13 points.