By Tom Robinson
SCRANTON – Periodic updates, with assistance from freelance reporter Ben Magnotta, from Sunday’s action in the second annual KYDA Invitational, presented by Top Tier Events:
The NEPA Elite Joyce 16U team held the Utica Select Jayhawks to 4 points for a first-half stretch of more than 10 minutes on the way to a 48-31 victory.
The Joyce team won two of its three weekend games.
Defense allowed NEPA Elite to take a 23-10 lead late in the first half of its late-afternoon game, the next-to-last to finish as the two-day event concluded.
“I try to tell my guys all the time, we’re not going to be the most athletic, quickest team out there, so I really try to preach on the defensive end taking the right angles, stopping your guy on the drive, limiting teams to one shot and just consistently doing that,” coach Corey Joyce said. “We’ll put ourselves in a good position if we do that stuff.”
Utica scored the last three points of the first half and first four of the second before NEPA Elite closed with a 25-14 advantage over the final 13 minutes.
PA Flight-10 defeated Syracuse Select-Richardson, 75-55, in a 16U Division Pool B game that closed out the weekend.
NEPA NXT teams combined to win their final three games.
The NEPA NXT-Latrella team defeated PA Flight-10, 55-48, in 16U Pool B; NEPA NXT-Pettus defeated D-Heat 2025, 68-39, in 15U Pool A; and NEPA NXT-Pettus defeated Rising Stars Queens, 77-66, in 14U.
That completes today’s coverage.
Chance Mallory scored 19 points and Jadyn Harris added 14 as Team Thrill from Baltimore defeated PSA Cardinals from Bronx, N.Y., 60-53, to finish as one of two 3-0 teams in the 16U Division.
Mallory made three 3-pointers in the first half, then started his second-half scoring with another. He closed out the game by making five straight free throws as part of his team’s 13-for-17 effort at the line.
Johnuel “Boogie” Fland led the Cardinals with 16 points, including 8-for-8 shooting from the line.
Fland is rated by ESPN as the No. 18 prospect in the nation in the Class of 2024.
The game was tied four times early before Team Thrill opened the lead to seven late in the half. The lead reached 11 before the Cardinals surged back within 2, forcing Mallory to make his late free throws to clinch the victory.
Team Thrill matched New York Rens as the 3-0 teams in the 16U Division.
By halftime, the PSA Cardinals appeared to be in control of their second 17U Division Pool A game of the day.
Then, the Bronx, N.Y. team started the second half by making its first seven shots.
The result was a 73-37 romp over the NEPA Elite Coyle 17U team.
The Cardinals went 9-for-10 to begin the second half, putting them at better than 70 percent through 22 minutes. At that point, they were 22-for-31 overall from the floor and 6-for-10 on 3-pointers for a 59-28 lead with 10 minutes remaining.
Jayden Reid led the way, making all six of his shots to finish with 14 points and 4 steals. Five teammates added at least eight points.
Deandre Williams was 5-for-8 while adding 11 points and Kenny Field was 4-for-7 while scoring 10.
Of the nine Cardinals, six hit better than half their shots and another shot 50 percent.
Ben Chilson led NEPA Elite with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Zach Perta hit two first-half 3-pointers for six points. Tristan Lee scored five points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
The Cardinals led 35-20 at halftime.
Both teams finished the weekend at .500 – the Cardinals went 1-1 and NEPA Elite was 2-2.
Caleb Crawford scored 12 points to lead a balanced Riverside Hawks attack during a 57-39 victory over NEPA Elite-Miller in a 15U Division Pool A game.
Crawford was one of five Hawks to hit 3-pointers while the team was breaking away from a 23-23 tie at halftime.
Eryan Silva, Mario Matrone and Marc Jackett scored eight points each for NEPA Elite.
The Hawks went 2-0, beating Rising Stars New York, 57-53, in the morning in their first game of the weekend.
Mike Williams and Derik Queen formed the outside-inside combination that led the way when Team Thrill defeated PSA Cardinals, 68-63, in a 17U Division Pool A game.
Williams, a guard who poured in 35 points during a loss to begin the weekend, helped Team Thrill finish 2-1 by scoring 24 points.
Queen, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound center from Montverde Academy in Baltimore, is ranked by ESPN as the No. 5 recruit in the nation from the Class of 2024. He added 20 points in the win, stepping outside for a 3-pointer for his first points, but also establishing his presence inside.
Savon Sutton made three 3-pointers while adding 13 points.
Williams had 10 points in the first 7:20 to help Team Thrill to a 13-7 lead.
PSA Cardinals, a Bronx, N.Y. team playing its first game of the weekend event, battled back to lead by four in a game that was tied five times in the last six minutes of th first half.
Williams had 14 points, Queen 10 and Sutton 7 in the second half to keep Team Thrill in front.
Mohammed Diabete scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half to lead the Cardinals.
Devin Vanterpool added 12 while Spencer Mahoney had 10.
Vanterpool and Mahoney each connected twice while the Cardinals were producing five of their seven 3-pointers in the first half.
Williams went 6-for-6 and Team Thrill finished 10-for-11 from the line in the second half.
Some other results:
New York Dragons went 2-0 today in 17U Division Pool B, beating Black Ops Cadets, 75-60, and NEPA Elite Cooper 17U team, 93-70.
PHD Basketball, from Fairfield, Conn., won twice each day to go 4-0 in the 14U Division Pool A. The only unbeaten 14U team beat New York Rens United, 76-55, and NEPA NXT-Tanner, 61-24, today.
NEPA NXT Tillery was the only unbeaten 13U team. After defeating NEPA NXT-Rotell, 54-50, Saturday, NEPA NXT-Tillery handed B.A.S.I.C. Fun2Mental Hoops-2027 its only loss in four games, 53-47.
B.A.S.I.C. Fun2Mental Hoops-2028 won twice to finish off a 4-0 weekend in which it outscored opponents 253-91.
There are several relatives of prominent basketball figures on the courts and sidelines during this weekend’s event at Riverfront Sports.
The New York Rens team that went 2-0 in the 17U Division Pool A Saturday is coached by Andy Borman, who played for his uncle, recently retired coach Mike Krzyzewski, at Duke.
Devin Vanterpool is playing for PSA Cardinals in the 17U Division. His father, David Vanterpool, is an assistant coach with the National Basketball Association’s Brooklyn Nets.
Tony Durant, brother of Nets player and former NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant, coached the Team Thrill 15U squad to a 3-0 weekend.
Samartine Bogues, grandson of Muggsy Bogues, is a guard on the Team Thrill 17U squad. Muggsy Bogues had a 14-year NBA career despite being the shortest player in league history at 5-foot-3.
Team Thrill and New York Rens had been the most dominant of the four 2-0 teams in the 15U Division during Saturday’s games in the KYDA Invitational.
They squared off early this afternoon in a lengthy, back-and-forth battle that Team Thrill won, 64-58.
Tyler Jackson was one of three Thrill players to hit two free throws in the final minute and finished with 18 points, including 11 in the second half.
“We had to be physical back to them because they were a very physical, very good team,” said Jackson, a freshman point guard at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore who already has scholarship offers from major National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I programs, including Illinois.
Caleb Burgess added 13 points for Team Thrill, an Under Armour Association program.
“We had lost to a Nike team last week, so we wanted to come up here and bump one of them,” Jackson said. “That’s what we did.”
Tai Turnage from the Rens also scored 11 second-half points while finishing with a game-high 19.
Brandon Stores added 11 points.
Team Thrill, which won Saturday’s games by a total of 71 points, finished 3-0 in Pool B matching the record of PPA Elite, which is still playing one more game.
NEPA Elite Coyle 17U cut a nine-point deficit to two at halftime, then got to overtime by coming from seven down in the second half and six behind in the last 1:12.
Once in the extra session, however, Assane Diop and Quis Davis made sure there would be no more comebacks.
Diop scored the points that put the Colorado Hawks ahead to stay and Davis kept them there by going 4-for-4 from the line in the final 45 seconds of a 52-49 victory in the 17U Division Pool A game.
The 6-foot-10 Diop, ranked by ESPN as the No. 47 prospect in the Class of 2023, dunked off a Marzouq Abdur-Razaaq feed on the first possession of overtime. He then blocked the first three NEPA Elite shots of the extra session.
Diop finished with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Abdur-Razaaz had five assists.
Davis finished 8-for-10 from the line with a game-high 14 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
Tunkhannock junior Ben Chilson went 3-for-4 on 3-pointers, including the corner jumper with 50 seconds left to force overtime.
Colorado held for the last shot, but Chilson deflected a post entry pass and Will Marion tracked down the loose ball with less than two seconds left to force overtime.
Danny Nemitz started the last NEPA Elite comeback, hitting a 3-pointer with 1:12 left in regulation. He then spotted Chilson in the corner and made the pass for the tying basket.
Chilson finished with 12 points.
Gabe Gonzales, a 6-3 junior from Holy Cross, battled against the bigger Hawks to finish with 12 points and 9 rebounds. He made his last five shots, stepping outside to hit two 3-pointers.
Marion continued a strong weekend with nine points and four steals. Nemitz added three steals.
Facing a Colorado team that had the tallest six players in the game, 6-11 Baye Fall, Diop and teammates 6-9, 6-8, 6-7 and 6-6, NEPA Elite kept the rebound deficit to 46-37.
NEPA Elite countered by winning the turnover battle with just 10 while Colorado had 22.
Action resumed in the AAU boys basketball event at 8 a.m. with three games at Riverfront Sports in Scranton, the primary site, and one game each at Scranton High School and Holy Cross High School in Dunmore.
Our reports on featured games will begin with the 11:15 a.m. match-up between the Colorado Hawks and the hometown NEPA Elite Coyle 17U team.
The Hawks lost twice Saturday while playing against two of the top teams in the 17U Division Pool A, WeR1 UAA from Philadelphia and New York Rens.
Baye Fall, a 6-foot-11 player from Denver who is ranked as the No. 16 prospect in the nation in the Class of 2023 by ESPN, scored 44 points in the two losses.
Colorado will have a distinct height advantage with 6-foot-10 Assane Diop, another ESPN Top 100 player, joining Fall.
NEPA Elite Coyle, with 6-foot-5 Tunkhannock junior Ben Chilson as its tallest player, went 2-0 Saturday.
Return to this blog as the day progresses for game reports and more on Sunday’s action.
For now, there is plenty of other coverage already available.
NEPA Elite Saturday coverage can be found at: https://nepaelite.com/2022/05/marion-helps-coyle-team-to-2-0-day/.
The Saturday blog of overall KYDA Invitational coverage can be located at: https://toptiereventssports.com/kyda-invitational-saturday-blog/.
More background on the event is available at our KYDA news page at: https://toptiereventssports.com/kyda/.
Video highlights can be viewed at: https://www.instagram.com/toptierevents3/.
Scores and schedules can be followed at: https://basketball.exposureevents.com/180512/kyda-invitational-presented-by-top-tier-events/schedule.
Streaming of games at Riverfront is available by purchasing an account at www.livebarn.com.