#PittJamFest Championship Recap

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The Pittsburgh Jam Fest has become one of the biggest events of the Spring live period. Playing host to over 350 teams, the Pitt Jam Fest sees teams from all across the country come and compete in front of hundreds of college coaches for a chance to win a championship. Eight teams left Pittsburgh with a great achievement to add to their program’s resume. Let’s break down the winners in each division.

Open Bracket:

Anyone who saw Northeast Basketball Club at the Spring Jam Fest, knew they were a talented club. After losing on a buzzer beater to the powerhouse Canaries Basketball Academy, Northeast came into Pitt with a more focused mindset. After two wins, they had an Elite Eight match up against the NY Panthers, a final four team in the Spring Jam Fest. In what was a great game, Northeast held off the Panthers and won an exciting game by 3. They would carry that momentum over and take a commanding win over Athlete’s Plus.

The best part about Northeast’s performance this weekend was the fact that they had different leading scorers in most of their games. In the Final Four, Marlon Taylor led the way with 23 and in the final it was Shakur Juiston, who had 27. Asem Johnson was also a double digit scorer in every game this weekend, providing key baskets whenever his team needed them.

Open NorthEast Basketball Club

17u Platinum Bracket:

The West Virginia Wildcats flexed their muscles in the most dense bracket of the 2015 Pittsburgh Jam Fest. The Wildcats showed their dominance, winning every game by double digits. They ended up having one of the most diverse schedules, playing, and beating, teams from New York, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and Minnesota on their way to a championship.

West Virginia’s roster is filled with Division I prospects, including WVU commits Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler.  In the championship game, the Cats jumped out to an early lead on Team Loaded 757 and never relinquished it. Thanks to the big play inside of Maceij Bender and the court leadership of Knapper, West Virginia had no problem holding off Team Loaded for a Pitt Jam Fest championship.


17u Steel:

At the same time the West Virginia (Gold) team was winning their championship, West Virginia (Blue) was having equal success in the 17U Steel bracket. After knocking off a string of teams from the Maryland and New York area, this West Virginia team saw themselves in a final versus Indiana Faith.

Thanks to the play inside by Thomas Cole and the outside shooting from Luke Dyer, West Virginia made winning look easy this past weekend. Congratulations to the West Virginia Wildcats Blue team on winning the 17u Steel Division!

17u Steel West Virginia Wildcats

17u Gold:

The 17u Gold bracket saw four teams go 2-0 in pool play on Saturday, setting up some semifinal match ups that were worth talking about.

After going 2-0 on Saturday, the Rockland Rockets went into Sunday with the expectation of winning a championship. If they wanted to win it all though, they would have to get past a Common Bond (MI) team that was riding a lot of momentum after two big blow out wins Saturday.  Rockland was going to need to play a great game to beat the Michigan team, and they did, hanging on and winning a close one 66-59. They would then go on to top JSL Hoops and win the 17u championship. Rockland was led by Kevin Jefferson, who had two 30 point scoring efforts on Saturday, making shot after shot after shot from the outside. Congratulations to the Rockland Rockets!

17u Gold Rockland Rockets

16u Platinum:

The Jersey Shore Warriors won their second Jam Fest Championships in as many attempts this Spring. Coming in as a top seed after winning the Spring Jam Fest, the Warriors faced a tough test on their road to a second championship of the Spring. They had to beat several well established programs including the NJ Roadrunners and Team Loaded 757 just to get to the Final Four. There they met a hot Minnesota Fury team, and ended their four game win streak, setting up a final game versus Team Melo.

The championship match was everything  we expected it to be: a gritty back and forth battle with neither team backing down. Team Melo had great length and size. They were being led by the great play of Andre Rafus and Chris Orlina, two big, long wings who shoot the basketball well. The championship game that came down to the final minutes, the Warriors got timely hoops from Sam Iorio and Taylor Funk to give them a lead. Talek Williams was very solid all weekend at the guard spot for the Warriors, who one again showed balanced team play every game. Funk was the game MVP with 13 points in the final.

16u Platinum Jersey Shore Warriors

16u Steel:

The 16u Steel Division final consisted of two teams who came out of the center of their brackets to advance to a championship game. Upstate Basketball Club and PG Bulls each put together a four game win streak to get themselves in position for a championship. When the two met Sunday afternoon though, it was the PG Bulls squad from Maryland that would get the best of Upstate and be crowned champions, but it did not come easy. This championship game would be one of the best of the weekend!

After leading by eight at the break, Upstate came back and would actually take a 53-52 lead late in the second half. However, 40 minutes would not be enough and this game would see some overtime. The extra period was all PG Bulls. with under 10 seconds remaining, Upstate tied the game with a three and we looked like double OT was a real possibility; the Bulls had other ideas. They took the inbound, took the ball the length of the floor and layed it in at the buzzer for a win and 16u Steel trophy!




Buckeye Prep came, saw and conquered in Pittsburgh this weekend, and that’s saying something with how loaded the 15u bracket was. By the end of the day Saturday, we were looking at an Elite Eight that consisted of teams such as Baltimore’s Finest, Team Sizzle, Michigan Gators Elite, Erick Green Premier, Wiz Kids Basketball, Canada Elite and Team Felton, along with Prep.

Of these eight, Canada Elite and Buckeye Prep would meet in the final, and deservedly so. Both teams put together great weekends of basketball, beating some tough competition along the way. IN the championship game, it would be Buckeye Prep who would stand tall, using a big second half run to move past Canada Elite and take home the trophy. Dane Goodwin was a big reason for the second half run. The Ohio State commit could not miss and Canada Elite had no answer for him.

15u Buckeye Prep


The 14u bracket may have had one of the most exciting final fours of every division in Pittsburgh. Match ups between the New Jersey Playaz and Rise High as well as Team Ennis and Team Takeover Orange made for exciting semifinal  games. Both games provided packed and raucous crowds, and provided a lot of excitement. NJ Playaz and Team Takeover would meet in the final.

In the final, we saw a back and forth affair between two very good teams. The Playaz were able to gain a little separation before the half, leading 38-30. Takeover came out firing in the second, and would go up by as much as 6. Heru Bligen was huge for Takeover offensively. There was no quit in the Playaz though, and they would tie the game with 3 minutes to play, and take a lead with for good shortly after. They would hold on for a 62-61 win. Raejon Figures was a big time scorer for them and Anas Amos was MVP, being an all around great playmaker for his team when they needed him.

14u NJ Playaz

A special thanks to all of our teams, coaches and parents for making this weekend so successful. Congratulations to all eight teams on their fantastic weekends! The next Jam Fest will be in Rhode Island for the Providence Jam Fest. Look forward to seeing what the New England area has in store for us!


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