USA Finds Redemption
Nike Global Challenge: Day 2
USA Two 81 / SERBIA 75
Saturday night’s showdown between FMP-Serbia, who were coming off a huge upset win on the first day, and USA Two, which featured noted studs including Avery Bradley (Bellarmine Prep/Tacoma, WA), Abdul Gaddy (Bellarmine Prep/Tacoma, WA), Kendall Marshall (Bishop O’Connell/Arlington, VA) and Jordan Hamilton (Dominguez/Compton, CA). The energy in the Liberty High gym seemed to be at it’s highest as the Serbians and the Americans too took lay-ups.
The game was a heated battle and a strong study in two completely different styles of basketball. One that included a minor scuffle which lead to two ejections and a threat by the Serbian squad’s coach to removes his team the floor. Though the USA was ahead by four at the end of the first, they trailed by two at halftime. Eventually, all mayhem was resolved and the game went on.
Serbian point guard Filip Covic was the strongest floor leader to play during the entire event. He brought his confidence from the previous evenings upset of USA 3 into Saturday night’s game against USA 1. Nikola Markoic had another great game for the Serbians, dropping 20 points and collection 12 rebounds. Dejan Musli, a 7-footer who finished with only 2 points and 6 boards in 20 minutes, caught the interest of several NBA scouts sitting courtside.
On the US side of the ball, Tacoma natives Bradley (pictured) and Gaddy had strong games for the Americans. Bradley finished with a strong 24 points and Gaddy added an extra 13 of his own. Jordan Hamilton, who may have been ejected unjustly, had 12 points and 5 boards in only 14 minutes.
USA ONE 96 / CANADA 80
A one-point difference at half time didn’t last too long in the second half. Harrison Barnes had a strong game by gaining 22 points in his 24 minutes, but Alex Oriakhi had probably the strongest all-around game of the weekend. The 6-6 center from the Tilton School in New Hampshire totaled 17 points and 14 rebounds in only 21 minutes of court time.
The Americans outscored their neighbors to the north 23-19 and 29-18 in the 3rd and 4th quarters respectively. The Canadians survived on a total team effort despite the fact that that lost. Corey Joseph had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists and Ashton Khan lead the Canadian club with 16 points.
In the end USA One was just too much for team Canada. USA One and USA Three advanced to the title game.
HERE’S TO THE LOSERS: Raymond Cintron’s Puerto Rican team may have only won a single game, but Cintron outscored every player in the first two days of the event. In Sunday’s first game, Cintron, a stocky point guard with a snipers shot, collected 31 points. Not sure where Cintron, who is 18-years-old, will continue to play, but someone should find out…Lithuanian forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas handled most of the scoring load for his club the entire weekend and in their one and only win over Senegal Saturday afternoon.