15U’s Best Competition Tipped Off at Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest

From the opening whistle until the final horn, Showtime All Stars (NC) sent a clear message to all other teams in the 15U bracket at the Hoop Group’s Annual Pitt Jam Fest. We are here to win.

Behind Damon Harge’s (5-7/North Raleigh Christian/2018) 23 points, Showtime throttled PA Intense 94-51.

Harge netted 21 of those points from behind the arc as he displayed perhaps the deadliest outside shot in the bracket before sitting down with a little over 10 minutes to play in the game.

“At his age (seventh grade), he is already among the top 10 players in this bracket,” said Showtime Assistant Coach Dave Reeves.

In addition to Harge, Zach Reeves (6-3/Crossroads Christian/2016) and Jaylin Price (6-0/Enloe HS/2016) also had strong games, the latter showcasing his superior ball handling skills when he drove the lane, went around his back and then smoothly finished when the path the basket opened up.

“We’ve worked hard to come here and sure we want to win it,” Reeves said. “But the hard part with a game like this is you need to make them understand that games like this are few and far between, every game is tough from here on out.”

Nova Village (OH) 64 Philly Pride 59
In one of the brackets most exciting games, Nova Village took control late when Tarik Wright (6-4/Walnut Ridge/2016) sank a 3-pointer with 2:50 to play to put Nova in front 54-52. While the shot proved to erase Nova’s last deficit of the evening, Wright, who finished with a game-high 18 points, grabbed perhaps the game’s two most important rebounds a little over a minute later.

With Nova in front 56-54 Wright pulled down a defensive rebound as Philly’s game-tying shot attempt rimmed out. However before he could get the ball out of the paint Philly forced a turnover and Wright had to compose himself and quickly dismiss the turnover as he went up strong to again grab Philly’s missed shot.

“When I make a mistake like that (having the ball taken away) I just try harder,” Wright said. “Next game we need to cut down on our turnovers, box out and hit more free throws.”

Indiana Elite 64 HC Elite (Md.) 58
Preston Flamion’s (6-3/Carmel HS/2016) 16 points and two technical fouls late in the game helped Indiana Elite win its opening round game, a one which was even closer than the final score indicates.

HC Elite’s Matthew Bernetti (5-9/Glenelg Country Day/2016) tallied a game-high 19 points but he and his teammates seemed unable to overcome to fateful technical fouls in the game’s final eight minutes.

Trailing 50-44, HC Elite was hit with a technical foul. The referee did not single out who, but called it on the bench. Justin Thomas (5-11/Pike HS/2016) would hit one of two free throws to put Indiana ahead 51-44.

Then just over two minutes later, with Indiana’s lead having grown to 55-44, HC Elite coach Bill Napolitano was hit with a technical. Again Indiana converted one of two from the line and from there coasted to the finish.

Baltimore Supreme 53 Morgantown Omega Bump 42
In one of the final games of the night, Baltimore Supreme was quicker both with and without the ball, and even though they did not play a perfect game, they did just enough right to advance to the second round.

Andrew Philips (6-0/Meade/2016) led the Supreme with 11 points while Shyheim Moore (5-10/Carver Vocational/2016) scored 10 and Marvin Jackson (5-9/Loyola Blakefield/2016) added nine.

Morgantown’s Quentin Jordan (5-11/Morgantown HS/2016) led all scorers with 13.

For complete Day One results and updated brackets for the entire Pitt Jam Fest click here. —@pfebbraro

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