By Tom Robinson
SCRANTON – Periodic updates, with assistance from freelance reporter Ben Magnotta, from Saturday’s action in the second annual KYDA Invitational, presented by Top Tier Events:
WeR1 UAA, an Under Armour Association team from Philadelphia, had an impressive day at the KYDA Invitational, following up its 73-61 win over the Colorado Hawks with a 70-39 romp over New York Wiz Kids in the 17U Division Pool A.
Philly Pride, NEPA Elite Coyle and New York Rens also went 2-0 in 17U Division Pool A.
Rising Stars New York was the other 17U team to make it through the day 2-0.
The New York Rens United, PA Flight-10, Philly Pride, New York Rens and Rising Stars New York teams went 2-0 in the 16U Division.
Team Thrill, New York Rens, PPA Elite and Team Legacy went 2-0 in 15U.
PHD Basketball 2026 and New York Rens United were 2-0 in 14U.
B.A.S.I.C. Fun2Mental Hoops-2027 was 2-0 in 13U while the B.A.S.I.C. Fun2Mental Hoops-2028 team was 2-0 in 12U.
The NEPA Elite Coyle 17U boys finished the day 2-0 by defeating New York Rens United, 65-57.
NEPA Elite opened a 50-39 lead midway through the second half by going 4-for-5 from 3-point range in a four-minute stretch, all the result of getting deep into the lane, then finding open shooters.
Mikey Cumbo, Zach Perta, Eli Yusavage and Gabe Gonzales hit the 3-pointers. Will Marion had two of the assists.
The Rens closed within 57-53 before Gabe Tanner hit a 3-pointer with 2:22 left.
The lead dwindled 60-57 before NEPA Elite scored the game’s last five points on free throws in the final 37.1 seconds. Ryan Nealon hit both ends of a one-and-one twice and Tanner hit the front end once.
Marion and Nealon are from Abington Heights. Cumbo is from Dallas, Perta from Holy Redeemer, Gonzales from Holy Cross and Tanner from Mid Valley.
Ty-Laur Johnson followed up his big opening game with a fast start, then got help from his teammates as New York Rens defeated Colorado Hawks, 67-63, in a 17U Division Pool A game that was one of the top first-day match-ups at the KYDA Invitational.
Johnson scored 14 points in the first 9:03, the last of which came when he turned 1 of his 3 first-half steals into a breakaway dunk.
The dunk came early in an 18-7 run to end the first half.
Early on, it had been up to Johnson to keep the Rens in the game.
Baye Fall had five points and two assists in an 11-point Colorado run to a 16-11 lead.
The Hawks led by as many as seven before the streak the Rens used for a 31-27 halftime lead.
Johnson assisted the first basket, then scored the next two for six straight points to get it started. Christian Bliss had back-to-back baskets for the lead.
Fall poured in 19 second-half points for the Hawks to finish with a game-high 27.
Ladji Dembele scored nine points and Nassir Cunningham seven points for the Rens in the second half to help offset Fall’s damage.
They were part of the Rens scoring the game’s last six points at the line after Fall’s 3-pointer tied it at 61-61.
Will Marion hit five, first-half 3-pointers to get NEPA Elite Coyle 17U started toward a 64-54 victory over Team Final Red in a 17U Division Pool A game.
The sophomore guard from Abington Heights, added a pair of second-half free throws and finished with 17 points.
Marion helped NEPA Elite to a 38-25 halftime lead before it fought off a second half rally that had Team Final Red within five in the final minute.
Ben Chilson added 14 points, scoring 7 in each half. He hit a 3-pointer in each half.
Ryan Nealon made three 3-pointers while adding nine points and Gabe Tanner connected on another as the team hit a total of 11.
Zach Perta scored eight points.
Chilson is from Tunkhannock, Nealon from Abington Heights, Perta from Holy Redeemer and Tanner from Mid Valley.
The Coyle team is back on the court again around 6 p.m.
Ty-Laur Johnson turned in a strong all-around game and led four scorers in double figures as the New York Rens defeated Team Thrill, 68-63, in a back-and-forth battle in a 17U Division Pool A game.
Johnson scored 19 points, dished out 7 assists, grabbed 5 rebounds and made 4 steals. He is ranked 95th in the nation among recruits in the Class of 2023 by ESPN.
Nassir Cunningham and Ladji Dembele added 13 points each while Papa Kante scored 12 points. Dembele also grabbed 13 points.
ESPN ranks Cunningham as the top player in the Class of 2024.
The balance allowed the Rens to overcome a 35-point effort by Mike Williams that included 24 points in the second half. Williams also contributed eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
Derik Queen had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Team Thrill, a Baltimore-based team. ESPN regards Queen as the No. 5 recruit in the Class of 2024.
Johnson had five assists and three steals in the first 8:08 to help the Rens to a 22-13 lead. He banked in a 50-footer from the right sideline beyond midcourt at the halftime buzzer for a 33-27 lead.
Williams scored 12 points in less than two minutes to put Team Thrill ahead for the first time.
Johnson’s three-pointer made it 39-34 before Williams made consecutive 3-pointers for the first lead at 40-39.
Johnson hit again from 28 feet to complete a personal, 9-0 run. Then, after a Rens basket, he drew a foul and made all three attempts. Williams added another basket to complete a 21-5 run in which he scored 14 points in 3 minutes.
The Rens went back in front with 11 straight points, all from Kante and Cunningham, for a 54-50 lead with 3:05 left.
Team Thrill includes Samartine Bogues, the grandson of Muggsy Bogues, who at 5-foot-3 was not only the shortest player in National Basketball Association history, but won an NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Bogues hit a 3-pointer in the loss.
Zay Pasha’s 3-point shooting led Philly Pride past New York Wiz Kids, 70-64, in a 17U Division Pool A game.
Pasha had 10 points while helping Philly Pride to a 35-23 halftime lead.
SCRANTON – The Colorado Hawks never overcame an early 3-point barrage by WeR1.
Elmarko Jackson made sure of that.
Jackson sparked the clinching run with less than 6½ minutes left early this afternoon as WeR1 turned back the Hawks, 63-51, in a KYDA Invitational 17U Division Pool A game.
Colorado had whittled a 16-point deficit to eight twice in the second half.
That’s when Jackson, the No. 66 player in the nation in the Class of 2023, according to ESPN, put a stop to the comeback.
Jackson hit a tough, contested 3-pointer while on the move, assisted the next basket, then scored with the left hand on a drive that turned into a three-point play for a quick eight-point burst and a 54-38 lead.
Colorado never got closer than the final margin of 12 again.
Jackson, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Academy of the New Church in the Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Athyn scored 24 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, dished out 4 assists and made 2 steals. He was 9-for-15 from the floor, hitting both 3-pointers, and 4-for-4 from the line.
Five different WeR1 players hit 3-pointers during a 5-for-6 start from long distance that produced a 25-11 lead just past the midway point in the first half.
Baye Fall did his best to try to keep the Hawks in the game early, scoring 9 of their first 11 points.
The 6-foot-11 center, ESPN’s No. 16 for the Class of 2023, finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Assane Biop, No. 47 on the same list, added nine points and eight rebounds.
Action began in the AAU boys basketball event at 8 a.m. with a single game at Scranton High School.
The first three games at Riverfront Sports, the tournament hub, began at 9:05. The third set of games is now on the Riverfront Courts while games continue at Scranton High and have started at Holy Rosary Hall.
B.A.S.I.C. Fun2Mental Hoops 2027 defeated NEPA NXT-Zayac, 86-38, in a 13U Pool A game to begin the tournament, then got past NEPA NXT-Rotell, 68-59, later in the morning at Holy Rosary Hall.
Rising Star New York got wins from two of its teams in the first two sets of games at Riverfront. The Rising Stars beat Valley Elite-Gallagher, 74-26, in 17U Pool B then NEPA Elite-Miller, 71-31, in 15U Pool A.
The first victory by one of the teams from Riverfront came when NEPA Elite-Cooper defeated Valley Elite-Gallagher, 56-52, in a 17U Pool B game.
The top prospects start showing their talents soon at Riverfront when in the 17U Division on Courts 1 and 2, Colorado Hawks play WeR1 UAA and Philly Pride plays New York Wiz Kids in the 12:20 time slot. The Philly-New York game on Court 2 may start a few minutes late.