Expressions versus Early Risers
If the day was to belong to any one team in the division you have to say it was all about the Early Risers. A solid team comprised of kids from the Section 9 region, head coach Bobby Rahn always has his team prepared, but they almost didn't have the chance to shock the Rumble on Sunday.
After a late loss on Saturday night in pool play, three teams were tied at 2-1 in their pool with the Early Risers ultimately advancing to the Gold Playoffs off the point differential tiebreaker by just 1 point.
They did advance through to the Quarterfinals where they played CT-PHD. It was a game where the Early Risers would grab a double-digit lead quickly, but lose nearly all of it by the half where they only led by one. The second half started poorly then as well as they would trail by as many as 5 with just over 12 minutes to play.
Not wanting to go out that way though, Marquis Johnson (Pine Bush '18) would become more aggressive defensively, and he along with Brandon Powell (Pine Bush '18) would push the Early Risers on a 14-3 run to put them back in control. The game would again get within 4 late on a pair of three balls, but the Early Risers did enough to take a 64-58 win.
That would move them onto the Semifinals where they would face off with a team that was considered the favorite coming into the weekend in the City Rocks EYBL team. Loaded with the likes of Isaiah Stewart (McQuaid Jesuit '19), Jeenathan Williams (University Prep '18), and Joe Girard (Glens Falls '18) meant that on paper this was heavily leaning the way of a City Rocks win, but that's why they play the games.
It was a low scoring opening half as the Early Risers did a good job of creating enough pressure on the ball to cause City Rocks mistakes. If the Early Risers could've taken advantage more they could've possibly held a bigger lead going into the break, but with only Anthony Iglesia (McQuaid Jesuit '18) doing much offensively for City Rocks, it was EYBL team that found themselves down 22-20 at the half.
There was still little worry among most watching thinking that when the time came to turn it on that City Rocks would do what was needed to get the win, and even with Williams pushing it up and down and finishing around the rim to the tune of 18 second half points, it was still the Early Risers that maintained control for much of the game.
Leading for nearly the entire game, the Early Risers were able to work the ball around offensively, getting good looks from Zaahir Woody (Ketchum '18) to help keep them in front, while doing a good job in doubling Stewart inside and not letting the size beat them.
City Rocks would tie the game up at 47 late, but Powell would drain a straightaway three ball to put them back in front by 3. Buddy Boeheim (Jamesville-DeWitt '18) would get fouled and connect on 2 FT's, and then after a turnover by the Early Risers it was the chance that the Nike power needed. A feed inside though slipped through Stewart's hands, and then Johnson got the loss ball, got it up the court to Chris Wright (Kingston '18) who finished with a dunk with just over 2 seconds to go.
Only time for one last shot, the ball came to Boeheim at the right wing where he got off a good look, but it wasn't good meaning that the Early Risers would shock the Rumble in the Bronx, downing the City Rocks EYBL in the semi's 52-49.
Rumble in the Bronx Top Performers (Sunday)
Onto the Championship Game went the Early Risers where they would take on Expressions Elite EYBL from Massachusetts. Beating one EYBL team was impressive, but beating two in one day would be too much to ask as the Early Risers fell behind early, and while they never allowed the game to get out of hand, they never got the game to within single digits in the second half.
Johnson brought his best game though and was solid all tournament long, while Powell was a shining star was well, but it was Expressions EYBL that would prove to be too much in the end, taking home the title by defeating the darlings of the Rumble in the Early Risers, 83-62.
ARDSLEY, NY- Sunday was Championship Day at the Rumble in the Bronx and the stars were out in full force in hopes of leading their team to a prestigious Rumble title.
With so many of the top stars from around the area tasking the floor on Sunday it was a great chance for us at NYCHoops.net to watch and evaluate the better talents from New York, getting one last look at many of these players on the court before the July Live Period begins.
With Expressions Elite EYBL winning the championships on the 17u and 16u levels, Massachusetts may have reigned supreme team wise, but individually it was a great weekend for many New York players so now let's look at who really had strong outings at House of Sports on Sunday with top performer player evaluations from the best of the best.
Marquis Johnson, 6'2" SG/PG, Early Risers 17's (Pine Bush '18)- The Early Risers were the team who opened the most eyes this weekend as they got to the 17u Gold Championship before ultimately falling to Expressions. They did take down City Rocks EYBL in the semifinals and it was in large part because of Johnson who had a top-quality Sunday from start to finish for the Section 9 based team. Johnson was aggressive defensively and was a harasser of the ball in creating a good number of mistakes against top quality competition, and he was able to break defenders down off the dribble offensively in pulling up and knocking down midrange jumpers on a consistent basis in putting his stamp on the day.