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Peach Jam Semifinals Preview: Boo vs. Soldiers

07/15/2017, 5:15pm EDT
By Alec Kinsky

The second Peach Jam semifinal features a season-long favorite, and perhaps the biggest surprise squad in North Augusta. Boo Williams, who finished 13-3 in the regular season and a 4-1 pool play record, entered the Peach Jam on the short list of prime contenders to win it all. 6-foot-6 junior swingman Keldon Johnson averaged 19 points and 6.2 rebounds in pool play, and came up huge down the stretch in the narrow win over Houston Hoops. 

The majority of Boo's rotational minutes are made up of only six players, making them the thinnest squad left in North Augusta. At this point, its unlikely that their lack of depth will become a problem, as they've proven more than capable of winning with their light rotation. 2019 shooter Aundre Hyatt (13.2 PPG)), 2021 guard Zion Harmon (12.8 PPG) and 2018 swingman Keyontae Johnson (10.8 PPG) all performed excellently in pool play, with the latter stepping up his game in a big way across the board. Johnson came up huge in the quarterfinals against Houston Hoops (18 points, 7 rebounds), and his versatility has been key to Boo's success since Peach Jam started.

Junior guard Jason Wade plays a big role for Boo, operating as their best perimeter defender, while sophomore big man Anderson Mirambeaux (6-foot-7, 260 pounds) will provide a matchup concern for the Soldiers.

Boo doesn't have any noticeable weaknesses besides their lack of depth, and Keldon Johnson gives them arguably the best individual star remaining in the tournament. If Keyontae, Hyatt, Harmon, Wade and Mirambeaux aren't too tired, they have a great shot of advancing to the illustrious Peach Jam Championship.

Boo will be facing the underdog of the semifinals, the Oakland Soldiers. Taeshon Cherry and company had to rally in session four to even qualify for North Augusta, and they've made the most of their late-season burst. The Soldiers went 3-2 in pool play, qualifying for bracket play after narrowly taking out a tough PSA Cardinals squad in the final game. The momentum kept going for the Soldiers, as they put together a ridiculous 56-point second half en route to a 91-71 win over E1T1 United. Junior guard James Akinjo is undoubtedly the best guard you likely haven't heard of, and he cemented his elite status with his 32-point, five-assist performance in the win over Orlando's EYB rep. 

Cherry is their number one option inside, but 6-foot-9 junior Amadou Sow has been a beast on the boards. Sow has averaged a hair under 10 rebounds per game while shooting 62.5 percent from the floor (11.2 PPG). Swingman Junior Touré has significantly raised his level of play, averaging in double-figures while operating as the Soldier's glue-guy. Junior guard Kihei Clark (UC-Davis commit) scored a big 16 points in the win over E1T1, while Mason Forbes and Jack Schweitz will both contribute significant minutes off the bench. 

All of Boo's wins at Peach Jam have come by less than 10 points, so don't plan on Boo Williams running away with this one. That being said, the Soldiers haven't shown much consistency on defense, so there is a chance that this could be a high-scoring affair.

LINE: Boo Williams (-6), due to the presence of Keldon Johnson and their season-long consistency.


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Tag(s): Circuit Board  Media Coverage  17U NIKE EYBL  Boo Williams (VA)  Oakland Soldiers (CA)  Pool D