May 20, 2007

Arizona Cactus Classic Saturday Recap

Saturday was a full day and offered plenty of excitement. Pool play ended in the afternoon and all but eight teams were sent home by Saturday night.

The Arizona Magic got things kicked off against the Bay Area Hoosiers in a game in which many were hoping to see the real Brendon Lavender show up in. After a slow Friday night outing, Lavender continued his uncharacteristic play on Saturday morning. The Magic were never really in the game and Lavender scored his first basket with 3:51 remaining in the first half.

The Magic made a push near the end but could not get over the hump as the well-coached Bay Area Hoosiers made the necessary plays to get the win.

This theme continued for the Magic throughout Saturday as they were eliminated by California Supreme, 63-40, in the first round of the playoffs. It seemed like the team never had the proper ingredients to be successful as Lavender had to be the point guard and the main scorer. The Arizona Magic did not win a game all weekend.

Pump N'Run Elite showed its dominance early with convincing wins over Arizona Stars, Houston Elite, and Arizona Premier. The team was clicking on all aspects of its game, starting with the play of their point guards.

Larry Drew was explosive on Saturday for the first time since his ankle injury at the Houston Kingwood Classic. Drew was able to create and get into the lane, making things happen for him and his teammates. In an elimination game against Arizona Premier, Drew hit his shots en route to a tournament-high 22 points while tallying five assists.

Jrue Holiday did not miss a beat either. He consistently shows his elite level play on both offense and defense. Teams attempted to double team him but their efforts were unsuccessful as his simple basketball IQ allowed for him to make plays.

However, Pump N'Run Elite met its match in the evening as it was eliminated by the New York Gauchos.

After an impressive outing Friday night, all eyes were on Peyton Siva on Saturday. It is safe to say that Siva is confident in his abilities and is not afraid to go toe-to-toe with any opponent.

His knack for scoring allowed for his team to be in every game, if not leading it. Siva put out point totals of 21, 27, and 31 while leading Seattle Rotary Select to the second round of the tournament.

Siva has an explosiveness that is not expected for his height, around 6-feet-tall, but can shoot lights out. Look for this 2009 point guard's recruiting to heat up over the next year.

Belmont Shore remained unbeaten through Saturday as Demar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings and Roberto Nelson carried the team through some talented opponents.

DeRozen was a bit shaken up for some of the games on Saturday, but played through it to the best of his abilities. It turns out that his level of not 100% is still above his opponents. Fortunately, he got some help from Jennings and Nelson.

Jennings put up a tournament-high 44 points in an elimination game against Inland Reebok in which Malcolm Lee fouled out on a questionable technical foul call early in the second half. Nelson put up 20 points while grabbing a lot of big rebounds while DeRozen was out of action.

Perhaps the most impressive team of the tournament so far is the New York Gauchos. With players like Kemba Walker and Durand Scott, the Gauchos have shown dominance so far in the tournament.

The Gauchos eliminated Pump N'Run Elite late Saturday night, 85-65, as Pump could not keep up with the physical, fast play of New York. Look for the Gauchos to travel deep into the championship bracket on Sunday.


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