Recapping the All-Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Invitational.
by Tony Atkins / @ByTonyAtkins
Last time we took a look at Mission 1011—a Milwaukee-based youth organization—they were organizing their first ever AAU certified All-Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Invitational. The team is now looking to take the region to its knees.
The Mission 1011-powered Lakeside Scholars finally got down to business as they hosted the All-Wisconsin invitational. Eventually, the tournament boiled down to the “All-Milwaukee Men’s Invitational,” as the showcase featured four teams loaded with some of the best high school talent and a couple of former Milwaukee city conference stars as well. Players such as Milwaukee Northwestern star senior Shyheim McCelland.
The Scholars knew that if they were going to invite some of the best players from Milwaukee and the state to their tournament, they needed to put their best foot forward. Top effort would be needed as McCelland and company came out with the win in the pre-tournament exhibition contest over the Scholars.
As the actual tournament got underway, Mission 1011’s Lakeside Academy and W.O.R.D. Life Camp—two influential youth organizations—battled in a tightly contested bout.
“It’s great to see stuff like this for the city. It’s giving the kids somewhere to go and I’m proud of them,” said W.O.R.D.’s Diondre Howard, former player at Milwaukee Custer High School. “As a member of a youth organization myself I’ll always support someone willing to help out Milwaukee.”
With the loss to W.O.R.D. in the exhibition round, Lakeside knew they would have to make a change if they were to improve. After noticing a bit of apathy over the loss within the coaching staff, team leader Dumaine Reid knew it was time for a change.
The change would come from within. With injured center Ryan Hopgood speaking up for the team and its strategy, he was appointed the interim coach for the tournament.
“The coaching change was definitely right on time,” Reid said. “I knew Hopgood wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip. He knows the game of basketball, it would be great to have him on the floor with us but everything happens for a reason and I feel like he’s a great fit to coach us. We need someone that’s going to be hard on us and he definitely lets us know that we have to work hard for everything.”
That loss represented a pivotal moment for this budding program. After the coaching change, they easily went onto win their next contest. March 25 eventually became a day of redemption for the Scholars as they found themselves with another matchup with W.O.R.D. Life Camp.
The championship game began like the first with a back and forth of runs until the end. Emotions, blood, sweat and tears were left on the floor for 40 minutes but eventually the game would be decided by one shot. Bobby Komorowski started the game off fast but they needed another big-time scorer to step up to pull out the win.
After struggling to get into a rhythm earlier in the game, guard Babatunde Fajembola would end up hitting the biggest shot of the night as time ran out to seal the deal and clinch the first tournament for Lakeside this season.
“I knew that if I kept my confidence and my teammates believing in me, the shots would fall when they needed to. They did and now we are working on improving as a team so we won’t have to be in that situation again,” Fajembola said.
Lakeside knows that if they have any intention of having a successful first season in the AAU ranks they need to improve. But they can bask in the winner’s circle until they get back to work. They head to Missouri on April 20-22 as they begin to face opponents from outside of the state.