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KEYNOTE Feb 2012

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Best Basketball Tournament

KEYNOTE Nov 2011

2011 - Kansas City Keys 18th Annual National Best Basketball Invitational - 11U Championship Game

The 11U Championship game between IBTB-Elite and Team St Louis Stars was a high scoring affair, with multiple players contributing offensively for the both teams. The first half was all Team St Louis Stars. The stars took control of this game with a scoring barrage. They were led by their point guard J. White who had 13 first half points. He got those points from the free throw line, behind and inside the arc. Watching these teams in the first half definitely was a fun watch, but something tells me that the Stars enjoyed the first half a little bit more than Elite as they went into half up 34-20.

In the first half, Elite was led by Ravaughn Lawrence with 6 points. After watching Elite earlier in the tournament, something told me that the Stars were about to get their best shot and Elite did not disappoint. Elite started out the second half with a 9-0 run, which quickly brought the lead down to 5. For a period in the second half, the game was taken over by Elite player #12 Jalen Lewis with 10 second half points and #44 RaZhan Harness with 12 second half points.

I was impressed with how the Stars were able to fight off this onslaught. I was especially impressed with A. Ramsey, who picked up the scoring and ended up with 11 second half points--giving him a total of 15 points for the game. The final score of the game was Stars 55 – Elite 47.

Kansas City Runnin and gunnin Rebels defeat challenged Missouri-Illinois Select to win KC Keys 10 U Championship

10u championship

The championship game for the 10U Division was decided by two teams with tons of heart, the Missouri/Illinois Select vs. Kansas City Running Rebels. Both teams experienced being on the brink of elimination in their semifinal games. The Rebels had to come back from a 4 point deficit with about 1 minute 30 seconds left in their game vs. the Arkansas Light to win 43-41. Equally impressive was Missouri/Illinois Select’s slim victory 40-36 over Power Group in the semifinals, avenging a loss from the previous day’s action.

The championship game started out with Select jumping out to a 7-6 lead at the 7:15 mark. The tone of the game had been set at this point, with Select scoring most of its points on the inside--led by big man #32 Eric Lindell who had 4 quick points. The Rebels, on the other hand, started this game in the same manner. They finished the semifinal game with Point Guard #4 DeAndre Sorrell hitting a 3 pointer, but in this case, he knocked down a 15 foot jumper. This game was going to come down to a battle of styles. The Rebels employ a more aggressive pressuring style of defense, which sometimes gives their opponent opportunities to penetrate to the basket. Now this is a defense Mike Anderson of the Missouri Tigers would be proud of. On the other side, Select’s 3-2 zone defense tended to take away these opportunities for penetration; but this tends to give up shots from the corner to wing.

The aggressive defense being played by the Rebels got them into early foul trouble. Select is benefiting because with 8:00 minutes left in the 1st half, they are already shooting 1 and 1. The foul count shoots up to 10-0 before Select commits their first foul. Watching the game you are wondering how the Rebels head coach will handle this situation. At this point the veteran Rebels’ coach appears to have the foul situation under control. Both teams are being coached by a pair of fiery coaches, and their kids respond well to their instructions.

At half time the score is 20-19 Kansas City Running Rebels. Both teams are obviously exploiting the weaknesses of the other team’s defense. Player #4 DeAndre Sorrells has already made 3 three pointers and Darius Walsh has hit 1 totaling 12 of the Rebels’ 20 points. On the other side, the inside game for Select is still paying dividends with #32 Eric Lindell powering his way to 7 points. Select’s #22 Mechi Hagens also ended the half with 6 points.

Eric Lindell is a nice post player that any 10U team would be glad to have. Eric has very good feet and finishes well around the basket. Mechi Hagens appears to be the most versatile player for Select. If you need a rebound, he can get it. If you need help handling the ball, he can do it. Oh, and he can score. This team is also blessed to have Jahe’ Lewis who may have been the best jumping 10U player in the tournament. Because of his hops, he has the ability to get rebounds and block shots that most kids his height cannot get to.

We have already told you about the impact #4 DeAndre Sorrel has had in this game, but he is a wiry guard with a nice handle on the ball. Player #15 Elijah Smith is this team’s Mr. Do Everything. He can play point guard on offense and then turn around and guard your post player. At this age, he can play 4 positions--which is an invaluable asset for any coach.

The final score of the game was 39-35 with Kansas City Running Rebels winning the championship. The game came down to the pressure defense being played by the Rebels and 6 made three pointers. DeAndre Sorrels finished with 15 points, leading the way for KC Running Rebels. Eric Lindell finished with 10 for Select, while being locked in a man-on-man duel with Mitch Bullock.

Kansas City Keys 18th Annual National Best Basketball Invitational - 8U Championship Game

Della Lamb

This year’s 9U championship game featured Della Lamb out of KC and KC Showtime Express. In this year’s game, Della Lamb will be attempting to defend their title, as they are the defending 8U champion. With Della Lamb you know they are always going to put a quality team on the court. I was not familiar with the Showtime team prior to the tournament, but I do appreciate how their coaches work with the kids. In between games, I watched as the coach was teaching his young team the fundamentals of the game. That is always good to see.

The first half of the game was a dog fight in which neither team was able to get a clear advantage. Both teams played excellent defense in the first half, which led to a half-time score of 7-7. Showtime did what no other team is this tournament has been able to do and that is to control #2 Stevie from Della Lamb--at least for a half.

The second half was nothing like the first half, and Della Lamb looked like a completely different team. Della Lamb started strong, finished strong, and ended up winning the game 18-7 as Showtime was not able to get anything going. The good thing about 9 year olds is they generally get over the loss sometime during the post game snack. Player #2 PG for Della Lamb led all scorers with 9 points.

Kansas City Keys 18th Annual National Best Basketball Invitational - 8U Championship Game

8u

The 8U championship game was quite entertaining. I always enjoy watching the next group of mini ballers coming through. The Arkansas Hawks vs. the host team Kansas City Keys. Before the Hawks could play their first game, they had to first get by the trap that was Mother Nature in Northwest Arkansas. The Hawks were able to make it, but with only 5 of their players because of a massive snow storm that swept through the area earlier in the week.

The battle was a rematch from an earlier matchup in the tournament in which the Hawks defeated the Keys. The players to watch in the championship game were Hawks Drayden Norwood, Izarius Woods, and Jacob Joe; and for the Keys Shemarree Shareef and Jackson Rhodes. Keep your eyes on Jackson Rhodes because this kid is built like a future defensive end, so also look for him on the gridiron.

This game started out a little slower, but this is common with younger teams. Both teams battled in the first half, but the Hawks went into half-time with a 6-2 lead. The Hawks came out in the second half and continued to build their lead. Shemarree Shareef did everything in his power to keep his team in the game. The final score was Hawks 23 - Keys 11.

The Hawks were lead by Drayden Norwood who ended up with 11 points. Jacob Joe also chipped in 5 points. Other contributors for the Hawks were Miles Howard, Keaton Cross, Izarius Woods, Trey Howard, and Myles Aldridge. The Keys Shemarree Shareef also led his team with 11 points. Other contributors for the keys were Jackson Rhodes, Andy Ashley, Francisco Hornsby, Albert Kelley, Chance McGrew, De Ante McKintosh, Lewis Nelson, Amarion Shareef, Quran Taylor, and Jalen Vaughn.

8u KC Keys 2011