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April 4, 2005The Playaz Spring Fling ended with the two most talented teams duking it out in the final on Sunday. In the final reckoning it was the depth of the youngsters from DC that prevailed over the experience of the home team Playaz in a thrilling overtime championship contest. Rivals.com has the details.
After a series of gargantuan performances by the Playaz backcourt duo of juniors Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson throughout the weekend, it was the talented group of sophomore guards from DC who claimed the title at the Playaz Spring Fling on Sunday. 6-foot-5 Austin Freeman and 6-foot-3 Nolan Smith combined for 44 points to lead DC Assault to an 89-85 victory in overtime in the championship game.
With a fast-breaking style that had buzzed through pool play and the first two playoff rounds DC Assault methodically wore down a Playaz squad that really only went 7 deep through most of the weekend. Wayne Ellington was hounded into a subpar shooting performance, and that was just enough to cost the Playaz in the end. Henderson turned in another superb effort with 22 points and 6-foot-5 sophomore guard Corey Stokes added 18 in the loss. Ellington finished with 15 points and 6-foot-9 junior PG Earl Clark had 13.
For DC Assault Freeman led the way with 26 points. Smith poured in 18 points, 6-foot-8 sophomore Michael Beasley added 14 points, and 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Adrian Bowie had 9.
DC Assault 73 Philly MJC 66
Austin Freeman had 14 points to lead DC Assault to a surprisingly hard fought victory over Philly MJC in the Playaz Spring Fling semi-finals. Michael Beasley added 12 points and Nolan Smith had 9 in the win. For MJC, 6-foot-8 junior Dan Geriot from Springfield HS in Pennsylvania led all scorers with 17 points. 6-foot-4 junior Reggie Redding had 13 points and 5-foot-11 Malik Alvin had 10 in the loss.
Playaz 84 Bingo's All Stars 77
Wayne Ellington scored 26 points to lead the Playaz to a semi-final win over Bingo's All Stars on Sunday. Corey Stokes continued to impress adding 15 points, Gerald Henderson had 13 points, and Earl Clark had 11 in the win. Raheem Jenkins led Bingo's All Stars with 26 points, and Joe Edwards was again impressive finishing with 23 points in the loss.
Philly MJC 65 Paterson Hoops 53
Playaz 72 Bronx Ravens 63
Bingo's All Stars 61 NY Panthers 51
DC Assault 65 NJ Elite 45
Notes from Saturday
Wayne Ellington and Corey Stokes each scored 25 points in a thrilling 78-77 pool play win over Team Odom on Saturday afternoon. 6-foot-2 junior guard Trevon Hughes from St. John's Military in Wisconsin scored 17 points in the loss and had a terrific one on one battle with Ellington, at one point exchanging 3 point shots on four straight trips up and down the court in the second half. 6-foot-3 junior guard Larry Davis from Christ the King in New York had 15 points for Team Odom, but his game winning attempt rolled out at the buzzer.
Reggie Redding had a superb Saturday, beginning with 15 points in an overtime victory over the Jersey Shore Warriors where he scored the first two buckets of the overtime session and assisted on the third. He then had 16 points in a blowout win over the Fairfield Stars, and 19 points in a quarter-final playoff win over Paterson Hoops, where he played only 5 minutes in the second half. Redding's passing ability and inside/outside play were a big factor in MJC's run to the semi-finals.
Another sophomore who put his name on the map this weekend was Beacon high school's 6-foot-4 guard Melquan Bolding. Bolding is a quick, athletic scorer who displayed uncanny toughness in the Raven's quarter-final playoff loss to the Playaz. After taking an elbow to the eye that induced a steady trickle of blood, he returned to score some big baskets down the stretch and make the game close before the Playaz pulled away. There aren't many guards in the sophomore class who are as talented as Bolding, and he should be a major recruiting priority over the next couple of years.
6-foot-8 junior forward Lance Thomas injured his back early in New Heights' game with Cecil Kirk and did not play again. Thomas assured us that he was fine and just being held out as a precaution.
6-foot-9 junior C/F Derrick Caracter struggled shooting the ball in the NY Panthers' first round playoff loss to Bingo's All Stars. There is no doubt that he's an extremely talented offensive player, but his effort level is very inconsistent and he seems to pick and choose the games that he gets up for, often to the detriment of his team. Can anyone awaken this sleeping giant?
DC Assault's 6-foot-9 sophomore C/F Julian Vaughn had 16 points in a blowout pool play win over New York Elite. Vaughn, who goes to South Lakes Hs in Reston, VA is an active inside presence, effective on the glass and scoring around the basket. He even stepped out and showed the ability to shoot the ball foul line extended.
Nolan Smith hit four straight three pointers in DC Assault's quarter-final win over NJ Elite on Saturday night. Smith was hobbled all weekend due to a bone bruise on his right knee, yet still managed to be a major factor shooting the ball and in transition. There aren't many young teams who pass the ball as well as DC Assault, and it all starts with Smith.
6-foot-9 sophomore Herb Pope from Aliquipa, PA could not make the trip for DC Assault this weekend. Think about how scary this team would have been with yet another ultra-talented sophomore on the roster.
The Playaz' 6-foot-5 G/F Corey Stokes solidified his reputation as one of the sophomore class's very best perimeter shooters this weekend. Stokes gets tremendous elevation on his jumper with excellent rotation on the ball. As his game off the dribble improves he'll take his place among the elite players nationally.
Rivals.com would like to thank tournament organizer Jimmy Salmons for his hospitality this weekend and Eric Watkins from VuSports.com for contributing to this report.