The Windy City may not have been prepared for the onslaught brought forth by the Nashville Celtics this past weekend at the Best Buy Chicago Classic.
The 17 and Under Celtics finished 6-1 falling to the powerful Florida Elite in the title game. The Celtics left four ranked teams in their wake as they rode a powerful momentum into the successful weekend.
Jaylen Barford (Jackson Southside) picked up where he left off in Atlanta and came out "en fuego". The rising senior guard dropped 14 to lead the Celtics to a 70-45 victory over Mercury Elite. Jake Allsmiller (CPA) added 13 in the opening game victory.
Daniel Norl (Kenwood) took scoring honors in Game #2 a 71-53 dousing of Team Blaze. Makinde London (Summitt) and Braxton Blackwell (CPA) chipped in on a balanced scoring effort with 8 markers and 9 boards each.
Barford dropped 16 points and snatched 8 caroms as the Celtics exposed the Indiana Elite 75-51. Blackwell was a monster scoring 14 points and grabbing 15 boards. Allsmiller added 18 and 10 for a very balanced effort.
Sweet 16 action saw the Celtics edge out perennial power the Iowa Barnstormers 80-77 behind 18 from Allsmiller and an additional 18 from Blackwell, who also found time to grab 10 caroms.
Barford went crazy in the Final 8 dropping a cool 30 in a narrow 72-70 triumph over the Michigan Hurricanes. For good measure he added 10 boards to complete his double/double. Blackwell is the epitomy of a double/double machine, The talented rising freshman added 10 points and 12 boards in the win.
Andy Schumpert (Brentwood) took scoring honors with 13 as the Celtics upstaged the Wisconsin Playground Warriors 63-51. Marcus Graves (North Carolina) finished with 12 in the final four victory.
In the title game loss, Barford led the scoring charge with 16. Braxton Bonds (CPA) added 10.
Bonds was extra special over the weekend. The rising senior point guard totaled 28 assists to only 6 turnovers and also managed 15 steals for a most productive weekend.
Nashville Celtics 16's
In the 16 and under division the Nashville Celtics started strong with a 71-66 nudging of Kessel Heat.Kyler Douglas (Haywood) led with 27 markers followed closely by Ricky Dunnaway (Oakland)with 16.
74-65 was the final count as the 16 Celtics eliminated the Elite Nation behind 24 large from Jalen "Sir" Duke (MLK). Douglas added 16 in the win.
Moving into the platinum bracket opener the Celtics got 22 from Douglas and 19 from Duke in a big win before their big showdown with the Michigan Mustangs who defeated the Celtics in a tough contest.
Nashville Celtics 15's
Another productive weekend for the young Celtics as they advanced to the quarter-finals before bowing to arguably the best team in the nation in their age bracket.
Balanced scoring dominated the landscape in the opener an 80-58 victory.
Jordan Wilson (MBA) took scoring honors as the Celtics defeated Blugolds 70-45 to advance in the tournament.
71-64 was the final count as the 15s lowered the Elevate Crush 71-64. Kenny Cooper (FRA) and Thomas Booker (East Nashville) were the leading point makers. Gage Upshaw (Baylor) was a monster on the glass and coaches were quick to point out the contributions of Charquise Buchanan (Pearl Cohn).
Advancing to the final 8 is a huge accomplishment for the young Celtics. Unfortunately awaiting them was the Indiana Elite and their 34-0 unblemished record. Elite pulled off the win 93-77 despite some great efforts from Booker, Upshaw and Cooper.