Friday, April 15, 2011

Texas D1 Ambassadors @ Double Pump Tournament: Denver, CO

The Texas D1 Ambassadors are on a Rocky Mountain high at the Double Pump Event in Denver.  Played under one roof on 6 beautiful courts at the Gold Crown Fieldhouse this is the "The Pumpers" signature event of the spring.  Texas D1 is in the house with two teams; one from Austin & the other from Houston.  It's a beautiful, brisk spring day in Denver and it was also a beautiful day on the hardwood.

Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin  60  Tru Playaz (CO) 53
Texas D1 came out blazing, knocking down four early three pointers and jumped out to a 15 point lead.  Mediocre shot selection on the next four trip, coupled with an opponent had the game quickly back down to a 3 point lead.  2012 PG Mike Hardge of Georgetown had two key steals for breakaway dunks to right the ship and they cruised to a 60-53 win.  Hardge finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds & 4 steals to key the win.  2011 W 6'5" Allante Faust also added 14 points & 5 rebounds.  2011 W 6'5" Brooks Pawsat had 10 points, including a couple of shots from behind the arc.  The prettiest play of all came from 2013 PG T.J. Williams of Pflugerville as the first half wound down, he spread the floor drawing three defenders as he went to the goal and then dropped the sweetest dime to Faust for the dunk at the 1st half buzzer.
2012 Mike Hardge (left) & 2011 Allante Faust (right) led the Texas D1 Ambassadors-Austin to the 60-53 win over Tru Playaz (CO)

Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston 52  Double Pump Elite 50
This was the game everyone came to see.  Texas D1 was fresh off a 5-1 showing at the Fullcourt Press Easter Classic and a big buzzer beating win over Belmont Shore (CA) last weekend.  Now in our first game in the Mile High City the opponent was the host Pump Brother top crew, featuring 8 high major D1 players including 2013 Nigel Goss Williams of Findlay Prep, 7'6" Mamadou Abareguiye (yes, seven foot 6 inches!),  2012 Xavier Johnson of Mater Dei & Mamadou Dao of Stoneridge Prep to name a few.  Rivals, Scout & ESPN were all in the house for this one as it was standing room only in the gym.

This isn't our first rodeo on center court in front of highly touted opponents and our kids didn't back down.  Our frontline is big, but young and even sporting  several 6'8" players we looked like little kids out there at times as Double Pump had a couple of 6'9" and the footer.  Neither team hit many shots as the defense was intense and the referees let them play for the most part.  Double Pump was up 25-21 at the half and stretched out to a 9 point lead with 10 minutes left to play.  From that point on it was a war with the key shots over the next few minutes coming from 2012 Devon Turk of Houston St. Pius & 2011 Jalen Washington of Pflugerville Hendrickson who bagged a deuce of 3 pointers a piece.
Chase Brogna (left) & Alex Caruso (right) led Texas D1 Ambassadors-Houston to the thrilling buzzer beating win over Double Pump Elite (CA) 52-50 with 9 points a piece.

Nigel Goss Williams is a handful to say the least but he was made to work for everything he got due the the defense by committee by guards Alex Caruso, Chase Brogna & Jalen Washington.  It was truly a team effort down the stretch with everyone contributing including our trio of sophomores; Kendrick Morris, Johnathan Motley & Parker Callender.  The game was tied with 50 and with 11 seconds left, 2012 PG Chase Brogna drove the lane and pulled up for what looked like his trademark sweet jumper.  It was just short with 2 seconds left catching the front of the rim.  Then out of nowhere came Keynon "Slim" Willis as in one motion he slammed a two hander through the nets for the win.  DUNK!  Texas D1-Houston with the buzzer beater!
Keynon "Slim" Willis (left) had the dunk at the buzzer for the win, while 2011 WG Jalen Washington had 8 points (including two key three pointers, 4 assists, 4 rebounds & 2 blocks.

Brogna           9
Caruso           9
Washington   8
Turk               8
Ellis                8
Willis             7