Ball Up’s Million Dollar Summer Challenge, which gives teams in six major US cities the chance to compete for $1 million, kicked off Saturday in the Washington, DC, market.
The launch event consisted of four games from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Largo High School in Upper Marlboro, MD. The DC market’s eight teams—each vying for a spot in the national championship in August—consist primarily of former college and overseas players.
The highlight of the day was Game 2 between the Drew All-Stars and Team Lincoln Park. Corey Allmond, who played his college ball at Sam Houston State before stints with Fort Wayne and Maine in the D-League, dropped 18 points for Drew in the first half thanks to a lethal jumper.
His hot shooting continued in the second half, keeping Drew neck-and-neck with Lincoln Park as time wound down in regulation. Lincoln Park fouled Allmond on a three-pointer with 8 seconds on the clock, and he hit two of three to put Drew up by a single bucket. Dele Ojo responded immediately by drawing a foul and sinking two free throws of his own to send the game to OT.
The additional five minutes played out similarly to the previous 40, with Drew and Lincoln Park trading baskets; the former failing to contain Ojo (25 points) and Deontay Twyman (26 points), the latter failing to contain Allmond (31 points). Finally, Lincoln Park broke the stalemate by splitting a pair of free throws with 9 ticks left.
Everyone in the building knew the rock was going to Allmond—the only question was whether he would put the exclamation point on an outstanding individual performance. Allmond used his quick first step to penetrate and float the ball over two defenders’ outstretched hands; however, it hit the back rim and fell out of the cup.
Lincoln Park won 80-79 in its first matchup of the summer. Aside from Allmond, Christian Jackson (15 points) and Jamarl Glen (14 points) were bright spots for Drew in the loss.
While Game 2 was the day’s most thrilling affair, all four games were close. In Game 1, the Wiz Kids overcame a halftime deficit to beat Team Madness, 83-80. Tre Kelley, former South Carolina Gamecock and current guard for Sigma Barcellona, drove relentlessly en route to a game-high 29 points for the Wiz. His free throws iced the game. Teammate Dennis Edwards chipped in with 17 points.
For the losing squad, Andrew Washington (better known as “Spongebob” on the DMV streetball courts) posted 23 points, while big man Augustus Gilchrist dropped 18 points and grabbed 7 boards.
In Game 3, Team Trouble took care of Team Baltimore, 78-73. Brian Chase led the way for Team Trouble with 19 points, and Koby Hicks, Jeff Allen and Derick Payne added 13 apiece. Velar Coleman (18 points) and Darnell Hopins (15 points) got theirs for Team Baltimore, but it wasn’t enough to garner win number one of the summer.
The first three games were fairly low-scoring, but the final game was a shoot-out. Jamahl Brown, Dwayne Jackson and Jimmy Kenkins combined for 87 points in a 108-102 Showstoppers’ win over Team PITS. Brown, a Clinton, MD, native and former West Virginia State guard, set the high mark for Saturday with 38 points.
Team PITS’ Rodney Clark (20 points), Wally Judge (20 points) and Armond Hill (14 points) kept pace for a while, but the Showstoppers’ three-headed monster would not be denied, as PITS fell to 0-1 to start the Summer Challenge.
Big shouts to the entire Ball Up team on a successful Summer Challenge launch. Largo HS was packed for the event—attendance reached 1,400 by the end of Game 4. A local barber gave out free ‘cuts next to the court throughout the day. DMV native and freshly crowned National Champion Quinn Cook made an appearance.
Learn more about the Ball Up Million Dollar Summer Challenge here. The DC teams will return to Upper Marlboro on Sunday for their second week of games.
Photos courtesy of Ball Up