While alternative rock band Hawthorne Heights once stated, "Ohio Is For Lovers," after Sunday's a.m. session at AAU Nationals, Ohio is also for basketball players. With five teams competing in both championship and consolation bracket play, each squad was victorious in wins over stiff competition in Louisville. Let's check out some of the morning's top games and top performers from the Buckeye State.
17U: Ohio Varsity 62, New York Blazers 55
Behind a dominant double-double performance from Delaware Hayes forward Khalil Iverson, Ohio Varsity held off a guard-heavy New York Blazers team, 62-55 on Sunday morning. Iverson's 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks helped Ohio Varsity establish an advantage in the interior, while three-point shooters Lloyd Chatman (Reynoldsburg), Austin Armwood (Westerville North), Shad Kimble (Columbus Mifflin) and Corey Saddler (Clinton-Massie) continued a hot streak for OV from behind-the-arc.
As Kimble caught fire scoring all eight of his points in the third quarter, OV would take a 10-point lead into the final frame. New York guard Kyle Guerra (White Plains Archbishop Stepinac) kept the Blazers close for the majority of the afternoon, scoring a game-high 19 points, but the 6-foot-2 guard's efforts were not enough to take down the Central Ohio opposition.
Outside of Iverson, Pickerington Central guard Rodney Culver added 12 points and a team-high five assists, while Chatman and Armwood added seven points each. With the win, Ohio Varsity advances to play the Illinois Spartans in the Elite EIght of the championship bracket on Sunday at 6:40 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.
17U: All-Ohio Black 70, Grassroots Indiana 59
While Black suffered an unexpected loss in bracket play on Saturday, the Dayton-based squad rebounded in a great way in a 70-59 win over a talented Grassroots Indiana unit in 17u action on Sunday. Behind a combined 38 points and 16 rebounds from Dayton commits Xeyrius Williams (Huber Heights Wayne) and Ryan Mikesell (St. Henry), Black responded from a five-point first quarter deficit to control the pace for the remainder of the game.
With Williams scoring from anywhere on the floor, Black relentlessly attacked the Indiana zone, as Columbus Africentric forwards Jaquan Harrison and Ulmer Manzie each achieved success around the basket, combining for 19 points and 12 rebounds. Williams' 24 points were a game-high, while Springfield guard Daeshawn Jackson added 11 points.
For Grassroots, Fishers (IN) guard Keegan Kollmeyer scored a team-high 20 points, while athletic combo-guard Jordache Kavunga (Brownsburg, IN) added 19 points, three rebounds and three assists. After repeatedly beating Black in transition in the first half on Sunday, Grassroots didn't have nearly as much success in the final 16 minutes, eventually falling late.
Black's 11-point victory sets the 2013 AAU Ohio state champions up for a matchup with Basketball Stars of America (PA) on Sunday at 5:20 p.m.
16U: Nova Village 51, Arkansas Wings Elite 15u 44
Matching up with a lengthy and talented 15u Wings Elite squad on Sunday morning, Nova Village would not have an easy route to the Elite Eight. Behind balanced scoring, and opportunistic play on both ends of the floor, Nova Village would rebound from a one-point halftime deficit to pull away from their Southern foes in the fourth quarter of a big win.
Opening up the fourth quarter on a 10-1 run, Nova Village would receive a major lift from reserve small forward Bryson London (New Albany) in the two and a half minute stretch, as the 6-foot-5 forward scored or assisted on seven-straight points. London's high school teammate, 6-foot-4 guard Joe Rolwing would step up big time for Nova, scoring a team-high nine points, while guard Erron James (Westerville Central) would add eight.
In a game where Nova's top two scorers Jason Carter (Johnstown) and Tarik Wright (Columbus Walnut Ridge) would be held to just 10 total points, the supporting cast of the Columbus-based unit would come up huge to take home a major win.
For Arkansas, point guard Quawn Marshall (McClellan, AR) scored a team-high 13 points, while Marshall's high school teammate, 6-foot-4 combo-guard Darious Hall added eight points and five rebounds. Although Arkansas held a major advantage in the front court with 6-foot-11 2018 center Connor Vanover and 6-foot-9 2017 power forward Daniel Gafford, foul trouble would limit the Wings from using its elite size to its advantage on Sunday.
With the win, Nova Village advances to play Albany City Rocks in the 10th Grade Nationals Elite Eight on Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
17U: King James Runnin' Rebels 69, West Side Elite (GA) 58
Not a stranger to nail-biting finishes, infamous coach "Bob" and the King James Runnin' Rebels came through once again in the clutch, taking down West Side Elite (GA) in overtime, 69-58. As Defiance small forward Katwan Singleton went off for 21 points and 14 rebounds, the 6-foot-5 forward would be instrumental in helping King James jump out to a 9-0 run in the overtime period.
For King James, however, Singleton wasn't alone in the scoring department. Chillicothe guard Tommy Bolte added 20 points and a game-high five steals, while Wilmington guard Jaevin Cumberland added 16 points and seven rebounds. Falling behind 58-54 with 28 seconds to go, King James would end Sunday's game on a 4-0 run to force overtime. The Big Three of Singleton, Bolte and Cumberland would combine for 57 points, single-handedly pushing Bob & Co. to the win.
For West Side, 2016 guard Jermaine Carpenter (Alexander, GA) scored a team-high 14 points, in addition to nine rebounds. West Side's guard play was impressive in the close loss, highlighted by 2015 point guard Corey Tillery's (Douglas County, GA) 12 points and five assists.
With the win, King James advances to play the Memphis Bulls in the semifinals of the consolation bracket at 8 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
17U: Hidden Gems White 53, Howard Co. Sharks (MO) 38
The only game I did not have a chance to view on Sunday morning, Hidden Gems White took care of business in a convincing win over Howard Co. Sharks, 53-38. As Nashville Flood awaits in the semifinals at 5:20 p.m., Hidden Gems has a chance to advance to the Final Four in the championship bracket with a win.
Queen City Prophets 17u also advanced to the semifinals as Boston Metro forfeited its noon matchup with the Cincinnati-based squad on Sunday.