Better late than never is how I would describe the feats of the Memphis Stars at this past month's 16 and under AAU State Tournament.
The Stars used balanced scoring and inspired play to roll past a host of solid programs snagging their championship.
Pool play began with a familiar face the feisty Memphis Bearcats. The Stars used some tough and hard nosed inside scoring from Billy Rosenburg (Raleigh-Egypt) to declaw the Bearcats 66-53.
The Mid-State Ballerz was next on the pool play agenda and the Stars defeated the traditional state power 73-65 moving into bracket play unblemished.
Bracket play began with a victory over a tough Tennessee Thunder squad 54-45, the fun was just beginning with the powerful Memphis YOMCA waiting in the wings with a chance to advance to the title game.
Anthlon Bell (Bartlett) and Alex Anderson (Memphis East) were instrumental in leading the Stars to an 86-81 victory over the juggernaut YOMCA and a date with the Tennessee Ice in the title contest.
The fundamentally sound Ice squad came out like gangbusters pushing ahead to a seemingly insurmountable 21 point lead before the Stars finally awoke.
The clawed back from the deep deficit behind some sterling play from Marquarius Boddie (Bartlett), Latrell Cunningham (Bartlett) and James Hawes (Bishop Byrne) to finally prevail and bring home the gold trophy with a 76-71 victory and the title of champions in the 16 and under division of the state.
With their victory the Stars will head to Orlando in July to put themselves in the mix with the best in every state at the 16 and under national tournament.