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Posted On: 05/21/18 9:15 AM
The Fury Shootout saw an influx of teams from the around the country as the Riverside Hawks won the 17u title while Greenwood Elite took home the 16u crown. Local Minnesota players showed well on Sunday and NHR gives you the highlights.
Greenwood Earns Gold
The 16u squad from Greenwood Elite earned their program a weekend championship beating a pair of Minnesota’s better squads on Sunday: the D1 Minnesota 15s and Fury Kline. There wasn’t a team on Sunday that had a defender that could move their feet with 5-foot-11 Greenwood guard Jamoni Jones. Down the stretch against D1 Minnesota, Jones hit a late corner three that felt like the dagger, he made clutch foul shots to ice the contest, and his basket attack led to a 19 point game. It was a small sampling of the weekend long scoring punch that Jones provided.
In all five games Jones was an explosive scorer that teams consistently couldn’t find a way to contain. Jones scored nearly 18 points a game including 21 in the title game. His ability to attack space and seek out a chance to lift to his soft touch was consistent. Jones and Edwin Victory together used their speed with the ball to blow through the big and long, but very young D1 Minnesota 15s defense to put that contest in the books.
Greenwood Elite had a weekend long scoring partner in Jimmy Schooler who scored 17 points a contest in five games including his weekend high 22 points in the overtime championship game. At about 6-foot-2/6-foot-3 Scholler is a heady, highly aware player that rebounds at a high rate for a guard, is an excellent passer, and he scored his 17 a game in an efficient way. Jimmy’s versatility played a big part in the weekend success of Greenwood Elite.
The Michigan champs, who qualified for this summer’e Adidas championship event, also had help from their frontcourt . Jeffrey Carrier had three double figure scoring games in Minnesota over the weekend including a combined 24 points in the final two games. D1 Minnesota and Fury K have future division one size on their team and Carrier went against that size on Sunday and produced. Speaking of produced, did anyone notice the 6-foot-8 long-armed big that exploded above the rim for some aggressive finishes? That was Yusuf Jihad throwing down impressively.
Combining Size with Grit
The Minnesota Fury Kline team found a way game after game to get themselves in a position to win. At one point Game Elite was up 22-8 on Fury K who then responded with a 19-2 run to grab the lead in the semi-final. Down the stretch the Fury was down 47-44 and things were looking bleak but as a team the Kline squad moved the ball to get a pair of high percentage late scores followed by key stops to win the game.
Fury Kline did a fantastic job of spacing the floor, moving the ball, and cutting into the post earning themselves excellent post feeds and high percentage touches. Fury Kline had a strong size edge on Gain Elite and they let their skilled posts use that size for balanced scores. Six-foot-6 Cooper Olson (Champlin Park) scored the game winner with an off-ball cut into position for the game winning. It was one of three second half scores for Olson around the basket. Teammate Lukas Dunford (Eden Prairie) at 6-foot-7 was able to earn, and hold low post position to score a pair of deep post baskets himself with soft finishes.
Jacob Hutson had the most low post success against Gain Elite as his 6-foot-9 frame fought through players trying to push him off the block only to outwork his opponents for eventual position and the eventual catch. The best part about Hutson’s low post position was his ability to move with the ball, beat his opponent to the desired spot working around the paint, and sit with leveraged position before his man could appropriately respond to move him off the block. Once Hutson caught he turned over either shoulder on balance and scored soft baby hooks over the front of the rim, or he turned baseline using his power to dislodge his opponent followed by the short kiss. Hutson is an educated big with the size and ability to play in the post at the D1 level.
The Fury player that you say was the game MVP in the win over Gain Elite was point guard Joseph Bachinski (Lakeville South). Bachinski was the player attacking the basket creating success during the 19-2 run including the first half buzzer beater. When Gabe Bassett hit a clutch late three, it was Bachinski getting a mismatch off the ball screen then attacking left leading to the pass. When the Fury moved within 47-46 of Gain Elite, it was Backinski beating the Net Gain lead guard to the right with a quick burst attack and touching a score off the glass against the late help defender. And on the game winner, Bachinski beat another Net Gain lead guard by getting that defender to lean left, and then Bachinski blew back to his own left with a crossover into the paint drawing in defenders and setting up the game winner.
Joseph Bachinski was the best lead guard on the floor, and the clutch leader that a teams to first fight through a deficit, and then win the game with three game winning plays.
Gain Elite Standouts
J’Vonne Hadley scored 16 points a game this winter leading a balanced Mahtomedi team to a much better season than most anticipated. J’Vonne helped guide Gain Elite to the Fury Shootout semi-finals this weekend with impressive performances down the stretch in each of his team’s Sunday games. Looking for a ball handler to rely on? At about 6-foot-4/6-foot-5 took ball and controlled the final possessions against the Riverside Hawks (NY). Hadley also grabbed nearly every defensive rebound and punctuated the game with a lob slam out of a timeout. In the semis when Net Gain’s offense was having trouble putting points on the board, the ball found it’s way to Hadley for a transition score, a putback, and a baseline attack. All in all it was an excellent weekend for Hadley who continues to be one of the more versatile 2020s.
The staff of Prep Hoops continues to be impressed with 6-foot-4 guard Tyler Andrews. Writers out of Iowa and Minnesota continue to rave about his potential as Tyler continues to become a more consistent player in the type of wide shoulder, active, quick off his feet frame that colleges value highly. Andrews played extremely well at the Future Stars event in March and this weekend his second half production against the Riverside Hawks in the quarterfinals put him on the map in Minnesota. Detavius Frierson is playing both forward spots for Gain Elite and holding his own both ways and point guard Amir Whitlock hit big shots late in the game in both the semis and quarters.
The Magic Touch
Every so often a player gets hot as a shooter and the touch simply torches teams game after game. This weekend that player was Nick VerMurlen of the Minnesota Magic from Eastview High School. The 5-foot-11 guard from Eastview played mostly junior varsity this year for the Lightning but had some varsity moments as well as a freshman. This weekend for the Magic he had a stretch of games that he will never forget. Nick scored back to back 30 point games in beating the G1 Athletes and SE Minnesota Lightning including an 8 of 10 shooting performance at the arc against G1. VerMurlen also had 30 against the Lightning and averaged 27 points per game for the weekend. In all he hit 24 threes in four games leading to the school custodian to replace the worn out nets.