Garner Road came into the Southern Jam Fest at a disadvantage, already playing without star players Isaiah Hicks and Anton Gill. Hicks, a North Carolina commit, and Gill, committed to Louisville, may not have been playing, but, watching them play, you may never have guessed.
After beating Boo Williams (Va.) in a closely contested semifinal, they went on to defeat UA Baltimore’s Finest, 49-44, in the final. In the absence of Gill and Hicks, Tyrone Outlaw and Devontae Graham played well for the Bulldogs.
The team was accompanied by national champion cheerleaders throughout the tournament, which brought an entertaining high school feeling to this weekend’s AAU tournament.
Team Takeover won the 16U Gold bracket in convincing fashion, defeating SC Elite Raptors in the championship, 82-75. The D.C. area squad was impressive throughout the weekend, winning three of their games by 29 points or more.
Takeover guard Phil Booth (Mount St. Joseph) led all scorers in the title game with 23, along with seven rebounds and four assists. Forward Therence Mayimba (Montrose Christian) added 13 points and six boards, and forward Martin Geben (St. Maria Goretti) chipped in with 12 points and eight boards.
Head coach Doug Martin claimed that his deep, talented bench was a key factor in Takeover’s weekend success.
“I have 11 guys that can start and have started this year. We throw bodies at you, and all 11 guys can play…In a tournament where you have six games in two days, it’s the depth that overwhelms people,” Martin stated.
Team Takeover continued their winning ways in the 15U age group, putting away BWSL Kelly, 77-53.
Guard Justin Jenifer (John Carroll) and Marcus Derrickson (Paul VI) each scored 11 points in the championship to pace a balanced Takeover attack, and Franklin Howard (Gonzaga) added seven points and a solid defensive effort for the Gold bracket champions.
The DC Assault program has been a staple at Hoop Group events, and the program has had strong performances so far this spring. After winning at Pittsburgh Jam Fest and Philadelphia Jam Fest, Assault won again at Southern.
Anchored by guard Alani Moore, Assault used strong backcourt play to work its way through the bracket at Southern. They defeated Team Loaded in the championship game.