Washington Youth Basketball League Championship Saturday Wrap-up
Published 4:50 pm Sunday, March 2, 2014
Nets win big to take the junior 13-15 championship
Playing in the most competitive age group in the Washington Youth Basketball League, head coach Carlton Barr’s team has faced their fair share of adversity. After losing some of their top defensive players just games into the season, the Nets were forced to redefine themselves as a basketball team, and build the chemistry necessary to be successful.
On Saturday, hundreds of bodies packed the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center, including Pam Pack basketball and football standout Stevie Green and Northside star Edrice “Bam” Adebayo. The masses gathered to watch the top teams in the boys 11-14 age group face off, the Nets and head coach Harvey Gardner’s disciplined Timberwolves. In the end, it was the Nets who hoisted the championship trophy, defeating the Timberwolves, 44-29.
“The thirst is real,” Barr said. “We wanted it and lost a few players at the beginning of the season, but I told them all we need to do is come out, play together and there was nothing we couldn’t accomplish.”
The Nets showcased their high-power, up-tempo offense early by challenging the undersized Timberwolves in the paint. Point guard ZyQuise Blount conducted the offense and unleashed an arsenal of no-look passes that had the Timberwolves’ defense spinning in circles. Blount continuously drew defenders to the ball and found his open teammates, making only a handful of misguided passes.
“All year long, people were saying ZyQuise is an aggressive player,” Barr said. “Sometimes people said he was too aggressive, but I appreciate him humbling himself. He’s a great kid to coach.”
While the Nets’ offense was consistently dynamic throughout the contest, it was poised defensive play that won the game. Forward Raeqwan Harris used his size to his advantage, corralling rebounds with ease and scoring an assortment of second-chance points. Quashawn Gaynor also kept steady pressure on forward Hykeem Ruffin and held the Timberwolves paint presence to just five points.
Blount took control of the game offensively in the second half, as the Nets pulled the plug on the Timberwolves championship hopes.
Blount finished with a game-high 16 points, while Harris ended with 10 of his own. Tremon Pope led the Timberwolves with 12 points.
Mystics upset Mercury in girls 11-14 championship, 30-27
After a season of tough games against their rival, the Mystics managed to close the door on the Mercury’s season, taking the girls 11-14 championship, 30-27.
Out of the gate, head coach John Lampkins’ squad was in full control of the game and held the Mystics to just one basket in the first quarter. MiAsia Roberson, Cyntavea Blackledge and Zikeria Hardy led the Mercury offense and burned the Mystics in transition. However, the Mercury found themselves in serious foul trouble early on, committing 15 in the first half alone.
After MiAsia Roberson fouled out minutes into the third quarter, the Mystics quickly began capitalizing in the paint and isolating the Mercury guards.
With the loss of Roberson, much of the burden fell on Blackledge to score. Despite scoring 6 second-half points, the Mercury could not disrupt the Mystics rhythm.
These girls, the talent level was there, but the self-esteem wasn’t,” said head coach Rodney Rich. “As the season progressed, they gained a little more confidence in themselves. Now, I think they are starting to see their potential. Every one of these girls can go a long way if they just keep their mindset right.”
For the Mystics, Tierra Wiggins led all scorers with 12 points, while teammates Cierra Wiggins and Tyana Hopkins dropped nine a piece. Blackledge led her team with 11 points.
Thunder outlast Heat in boys 11-12 championship, 48-42
The Thunder of the boys 11-12 age group defeated the Heat in an offensive thriller, 48-42.
It was a back-and-forth affair between the Thunder’s Trey Snow and the Heat guards. After being down for most of the game, the Thunder fought back in the fourth quarter and tied the game up with just three minutes left on a clutch three-pointer.
In overtime, the Thunder defense took over and forced enough turnovers to tip the scale in their favor.
“To get in here and fight and to know they lost a lot of calls that should have went their way, I’m so proud of them,” said head coach John Lampkins. “They never gave up, and that’s the sign of a championship team, that’s why they’re undefeated and that’s why they’re the champions.”
Snow finished with a game-high 12 points. Mykeal Jennette led the Heat with 10 points.
Storm defeat Sky in girls 8-10 championship, 20-18
The Storm of the girls 8-10 age group defeated the Sky to take the title, 20-18.
After a slow start, head coach Franz Holscher’s offense came alive in the second half with 20 points, Kanyah O’Neal scoring 10 of them.
For the Sky, Lateria Alexander and Briasia Somerville were their team’s entire offensive output. Alexander finished with 10, while her teammate Somerville scored 8.
O’Neal led the Storm with a game-high 14 points. Chenille Corpew would also finish with 8.
Hornets defeat Thunder in boys 10 championship, 29-25
The Hornets of the boys 10 age group knocked off the Thunder in the championship game, 29-23.
Both teams exhibited physical play on the court, drawing numerous fouls in the Thunder’s full court press. Head coach John Lampkins’ team kept up relentless and aggravating defensive pressure.
Taking a 16-9 lead into the final, the Thunder had the advantage, but a pair of three-pointers from Terry Moore and Micah Hardy got the Hornets back in the game and brought the crowd to their feet.
Another clutch three from Moore with 17 seconds left sealed a hard-fought victory for the Hornets.
“These kids played with a lot of heart,” said Hornets head coach Tony Hale. “They never gave up against a very good team. I told them it’s going to take more than 100 percent; it’s going to take 110 percent, and that’s what they gave.”
He would finish with a team-high 12 point, all of which were scored in the fourth quarter. Hardy ended with 11. For the Thunder, Jaden Hambric led all scorers with 13 points.
Lakers take the boys 8-9 championship, 23-21
The Lakers of the boys 8-9 age groups secured a closely contested 23-21 victory against the Pacers in the championship game.
“All I can say is, we’ve been back-and-forth with the Pacers all season for second place,” said Lakers head coach Kevin Moore. “Our boys worked extremely hard. These guys have been beating us all season. This was redemption today.”
Pacer point guard Wallace Burrus conducted his team’s offense, finding his teammates in transition and scoring from the charity stripe.
Tough rebounding from May Baltz and Ashton Woolard kept the game close at the break with the Pacers holding a slim 16-15 lead.
Both teams battled to the final whistle, but it was a shot from Kevin Moore that sealed the victory. Woolard finished with a team-high eight points, while Javon Peele led his team with eight as well.