A good, solid weekend of hoops at the 14 and under state tournament culminated with Team Penny snatching the crown from their natural rivals from Memphis, The War Eagles. Here is a breakdown of five of the nine squads that participated at the event. The remaining teams will be on tomorrow's story.
AAG (Nashville, TN)
The boys from Nashville coached by former Vanderbilt player Mario Moore found the going rough at the state but they played hard and found themselves competitive by the end of the week. Gavin Schoenwald (Brentwood Academy) is a name to mark down in your ledgers as one of the best 6th graders, yes that's Class of 2018, to come down the pike. The youngster dropped a game high 17 in the opening contest loss to Tennessee Elite. Two players who showed some skills for AAG were Trent Taylor (Brentwood Academy), who notched double digits in the second pool play contest and Tylin Oden (Spring Hill).
Tennessee Elite (Knoxville, TN)
The local boys finished 2-2 on the weekend winning one pool game and besting the Tennessee Panthers in the 5th and 6th place contest. Kentel Williams (Fulton) led the way from the lead guard spot including 12 in the pool game win over AAG. Joe Kimber (Fulton) and Devin Harper (Karns) proved to be the most consistent players for the Elite. Kimber had 11 against the War Eagles followed up with 13 against AAG and closed strong with 16 in the win over the Panthers. Harper punched 11 against Memphis, and then added 12 against Team Thad finishing with a game high 17 against the Panthers.
War Eagles (Memphis, TN)
Gave the powerful Team Penny all they could handle in the title game behind 22 points from big time Class of 2016 prospect Jaylen Fisher (Bartlett). Fisher got off to a slow start with 4 and 11 in the pool game victories but closed like a ball of fire with 15 and 22. His backcourt mate Dillon Mitchell (White Station) played very well in the pool games scoring 16 and 9 in the second game blow-out. He added 20 in the semi-final win over the Celtics but only managed 9 in the title game loss. The War Eagles had plenty of depth in the backcourt with Mark French (Braircrest), J.B. Binns (Germantown), Tyler Brewer (Southwind) and Eric Turner (Southwind). On the wing, Maceo Woodard (Whitehaven) stood out with a couple of double digit games in pool play. On the block, look for big, big things from 6'7 post player Nick Marshall (Lexington).
Triple Threat (Cleveland, TN)
Good group from down in the Cleveland area seemingly were in every game down the stretch but managed only one victory. Kenny Benton (East Hamilton) started strong with 12 in the opener against the Nashville Celtics but had trouble with the bigger and stronger players from Team Thad in the second pool play contest. Guard play was solid for Triple Threat with T.J. Constant (Bradley Central) dropping a pair of double digits games during pool action and Cantrel Ware (Cleveland) doing one better with three games of double digits including 15 against Team Thad. Jiaeh Wilson (Georgia) had a strong weekend shooting the ball. He finished with a team high 19 points in the Team Thad loss. Josh Jones (Walker Valley) also played well for Triple Threat.
Nashville Celtics (Nashville, TN)
The Celtics enjoyed a fine weekend winning three and losing two. Coached by former Tennessee player Mark Griffin, this squad fought hard despite being undermanned the entire weekend. Ross Cummings (Creek Wood) is a name to jot down right now. Athletic and slick, the 6'2 combo can stroke the jumper and has skills to burn. He was one of the top scorers in the event with 21 in the opener against Triple Threat followed up by 24 against Team Thad in a pool play win. He added 18 against the Tennessee Panthers then had a tough game against the War Eagles in the semis. He closed strong despite a loss to Team Thad with 14. Strong backcourt play was a Celtics staple. Cynterius Lyons (Riverdale), Gabe Cummings (Creek Wood), Gage Upshaw (Baylor) and Ross "Chico" Plunkett (Creek Wood) all had big moments during the weekend. Lyons was a madman on defense and showed he could score a little while Cummings played smart and hit some big threes. Upshaw is a beast going to the bucket he scored in double digits in every game with a high of 15. Plunkett had the high water mark with 25 against the War Eagles. He is fearless and when hot can knock down the long three or find a way to carve some space for his skinny frame. Lacking the height on the interior, the Celtics relied on the workman, Coleman Goodwin (Ensworth). The youngster battled and fought all weekend long and showed a knack for caroms on the offensive glass. Adrian Thomas (McCallie) played hard and showed a scoring touch early with 14 in the pool play opener.
Tennessee Bobcats, Team Thad, Tennessee Panthers and Team Penny.