The Gauntlet. An imposing name for the adidas basketball grassroots series. In the silver division teams are vying for a spot in the Gauntlet Finale. Several teams with Tennessee addresses competed in the past two live periods with events in Dallas and Atlanta. Here is how they faired.
Memphis Bulls 17U
The Bulls finished 2-2 in Dallas and duplicated that mark in Atlanta. The Bulls opened the Atlanta portion with a 71-69 loss on a half-court buzer beater to the RYTES Warriors. The Bulls got on the winning track with a 79-61 win over the Bump and Run followed by a tight loss (77-69) to a very good Ball4Lyfe squad. The Bulls closed on a strong note with a 74-67 win over 6th Man.
Blake Huggins (Obion County) has been a stabilizing force for the Bulls including an 18 point, 10 rebound game against 6th Man. The 6'8 emerging post has drawn some interest from Lipscomb, Campbell and Southern Mississippi.
Easton Upchurch (Maryville) has traveled great distances to get his summer work in but we would expect nothing less. The rising senior had a solid event scoring in double digits in several games and drawing some interest from the likes of Navy and Louisiana-Monroe.
2016 Nathan King (Obion County) was lauded by coaches for his athleticism and effort. Underrated athlete who can shoot the ball should be on some radar screens as an unsigned senior.
Terryonte Thomas (Mississippi) finished the second session of the Gauntlet as the teams leading scorer including a 26 point effort in one of the victories.
The Bulls qualified for the Adidas Uprising Gauntlet Finale.
Nashville Celtics 17U
The Nashville Celtics made their presence felt in Dallas starting slow but taking the finale over a very good Texas Elite squad 71-69 behind 18 from Geordan Reed (Jackson Southside), 16 from Tyree Boykin (Kenwood) and 15 from Tristan Jarrett (Haywood).
In the opener the Celtics fell to a very solid Ball4Lyfe squad despite 19 from Jarrett, 15 from 2016 Josh Greer (Jackson Southside) and 12 from Reed.
Myron McKinney (Halls) led the scoring charge as the Celtics fell to Just Win Academy. Jarrett added 15 while Corbin Daughtery (Independence) finished with 12 points and 11 caroms.
The Celtics moved into Atlanta looking to stir things up. Jarrett led the scoring charge with 18 as the Celtics fell to a very good Texas Ambassadors squad 83-74. Greer and McKinney added 16 each while Boykin finished with 12 points and 5 assists.
Jarrett notched 27 as the Celtics righted the ship snatching a victory against Team Manimal 81-77. McKinney and Greer finished with 24 each while 2016 Malik Rogers (Halls) added 20. Daughtery came through in the clutch with big foul shots to seal the win.
McKinney scored 26 but it would not be enough as the Celtics got outscored by the Iowa Barnstormers 92-86. Jarrett and Greer finished with 15 each while Daughtery was big on the glass with 12 boards.
The Celtics closed on a high note getting 27 from McKinney and 20 from Rogers in a 100-80 win over the Hawks Elite. Greer added 18 while Daughtery pitched in with 12.
Trevon Bryant (Lexington) had a solid weekend for the Celtics including several key steals to secure a victory. Donte Williamson (Sacred Heart) a Class of 2019 prospect also played solid according to the coaches.
BMaze Elite 17U and 15U
The youngster stole the show for the BMaze Elite in Atlanta after stumbling a bit in Dallas. The 15U crew came away from Texas at 2-3 but rallied for a real nice finish in Atlanta going 3-1.
DeShawn McKinney (Fulton) was outstanding in Atlanta leading the team in scoring at 14 per game. Jordan Rawls (Ooltewah) had another fine weekend himself leading the scoring charge in one game with 17 points. Trey Davis (Fulton) came back healthy in Atlanta and proved to be a valuable asset averaging 12 to 15 points per contest. Ro Kacoul (Knoxville Christian) is a project with major upside. He has a motor, blocks anything in his vicinity, can rebound, outlet and run the floor. His back to the basket game will come as his footwork gets better.
The 17s finished 2-2 in Atlanta despite missing the shining star of the Dallas Gauntlet, Tee Higgins (Oak Ridge). The gridiron star had a football commitment and was unable to play in Atlanta. The Elite started strong with a 65-58 win over TAW Elite followed by a 60-57 win over the Texas Elite. Team SC had a different idea as they took a 57-25 win over the Elite who closed tough but couldn't bring out the win 72-67 against Garner Road.