Adidas Invitational Final Day Recap
The Florida Rams and New Heights emerge as the top squads in Indy
New York was well represented on Championship Day at the Adidas Invitational with New Heights making it to the championship game in the 17U and 16U age bracket. However, they could only come away with one title as the Florida Rams took home the 17U honors.
Florida Rams 89 New Heights 82
The field of teams in the 17U bracket at the Adidas Invitational was deep with Top 25 ranked teams, and loaded with many of the elite class of 2012 basketball prospects in the nation. However on the final day of action it was a team unranked in Five-Star Basketball's Top 25 that brought home the title, and it was a class of 2013 prospect that distanced himself from the field to grab tournament MVP honors.
Kasey Hill scored 26 points (15-17 FTs) and dished out 6 assists in the win and was rewarded later on that day when he received scholarship offers from Kentucky and Kansas (Kansas assistants Kurt Townsend and Joe Dooley were two of the only college coaches to stick around for the championship game) to go with the offers he already had from Florida, Florida State, Kansas State, and Louisville.
When asked if there was added pressure due to the large contingent of college coaches tracking his games throughout the week, Hill downplayed the significance. "The only thing I try and stress the most is to just show respect in front of and not get too crazy or overact," said the six-foot PG from Montverde Academy.
The Rams were in control most of the game, leading by as many as 14 points with 7 minutes to play. New Heights never gave up hope, battling back to bring the score to 80-83 with two minutes to play, however it was too little to late for the No. 22 ranked team. Joel Angus led New Heights with 19 points and 8 rebounds, and Jimmy Hall chipped in with a double double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
"We have a lot of kids who have never been to a big time exposure event like this, and with this being their first experience and to make a big time run and finish it just shows how high their ceiling is," explained Florida Rams Head Coach Sean Heard.
New Heights beat Indiana Elite, 60-58, in the semifinals behind 12 points from Marquise Barnett. In the other semi-final the Rams overcame a 25 point outing by Perry Ellis to beat Kansas City Pray and Play, 73-62. Dillon Graham led the Rams in that one with 20 points while Hill added 19.
New Heights 57 - The Ville 52 (OT)
Championships don't come easy, especially in July. New Heights' 16U title game win at the Adidas Invitational was a testament to that, as the boys from New York had to leave everything they had on the floor until it was literally time to leave for the airport. Up by 10 with 8 minutes to play and with an overwhelming advantage in the size and athleticism departments it looked like New Heights might be on their way to an easy win, but the boys from The Ville didn't make it that far by giving up when times got tough.
The Ville, a squad that no one predicted to make it this far before the tournament began, battled back point by point to tied it up at 50 and send the game to overtime. New Heights coach Kimani Young was clearly distraught by his squad's failure to close this one out, as they were already running late to catch their flight from Indiana back to New York.
The No. 15 team in the Top 25 managed to close it out in overtime, winning 57-52 behind 21 points from 6-5 wing Shamiek Sheppard. PG Dominique Hawkins led The Ville with 13 and class of 2014 prospect Jackson Davis was phenomenal in rebounding and defending against New Heights' physically imposing front court.
The Ville topped Devin Harris Elite, 60-47 ,in the semifinals, led by 14 points from Hawkins as well as four second half three pointers by 6-5 SG Omar Prewitt. In the other semifinal New Heights topped Martins Wolverines, 67-57, behind 14 point a piece from Jalen Jenkins and Jordan Washington. PG Jaylon Brown and C Maverick Morgan were phenomenal as always for the Wolverines, posting 21 and 15 points, respectively.