Nike IS8 Spring Classic Championship Recap
by Romel Lherisson
This past Saturday, the IS8 Nike basketball Spring Classic hosted their championship game as the The Rens battled Team Flight. The fairness of the game was highly in question due to New Heights, The Rens’ semifinals opponent, forfeiting the game, and resulting in The Rens having to play one less game than their opponent. Team Flight however went on to defeat the Juice All- Stars in the semifinal game. Despite the disapproval of many, the show continued.
The first basket of the game set the tone for the events to follow with a put back dunk by IS8 tournament MVP Christopher Obekpa– who still remains uncommitted and holds offers from numerous Big East schools. Defense seemed to be a focal point of the first quarter as both teams were faced with numerous half court traps and clustered paints resulting in plenty of turnovers and fast break points. However, near the end of the quarter due to the craftiness of point guard and Boston University signee Maurice Watson, Team Flight gathered a 26-18 lead.
Defense reigned supreme in the second quarter. At least for Team Flight, led by big man Christopher Obekpa who was having a Dwight Howard style block party. With The Rens unable to score, Team Flight lead 32-18 with five minutes left in the half.
Watching their title hopes deflate, The Rens’ Thaddeus Hall, who will be attending South Carolina in the fall, attempted to spark an early comeback. Despite his aggressive play and long range shooting, it was clear at the half that Team Flight was in complete control of the tempo of the game and inside the minds of the opponent. The end of the half saw Team Flight leading 48-36, with many of The Rens players looking very desperate to get their offense clicking.
The Rens eventually began to find a spark on offense through their defense. They played a more physical game which forced Team Flight to cough up the ball on plenty of occasions. The fast break points accumulated as Team Flight saw their lead cut from 12 to 6, leading 62-56 at the end of the third.
Team Rens comeback effort carried on into the fourth phase as well. They applied pressure dominantly on Team Flight’s big man Jordan Washington, who before that point was destroying them inside. The pressure forced Team Flight’s guards to keep the lead in tact.
However, just like the previous phase, Team Flight’s turnovers turned into quick points for The Rens.
After trailing nearly the entire game, The Rens Wayne Martin tied the game at 74, reassuring fans that thee game was for the taking. Both teams failed to hold on to their two point leads down the stretch due to poor offensive execution.
Whatever momentum The Rens accumulated over the 2nd half vanished as Team Flight went on a 8-0 run lead by Jordan Washington. The Rens simply seemed to have collapsed under pressure, missing easy shots as Team Flight sprinted down the court for transitional baskets. With a minute remaining in overtime, they found themselves with an eight point lead. The game was sealed when Rens player, Shamiek Sheppard, was called for a technical in the last minute of overtime.
The game concluded with Team Flight the victor of a 92-83 game. Jordan Washington’s important role in his teams success, with a game high 33 points, led him to being named MVP of the championship game.