The first semifinal of the night features two staple EYBL programs that have outperformed expectations. Houston Hoops took down Indy Heat in the elite eight by a score of 96-89, led by four players scoring in double-digits; Langston Love (27 points), Arthur Kaluma (18 points), Kenneth Lofton (13 points), Tramon Mark (12 points) and L.J. Cryer (11 points). The Hoops had their hands full with the Heat and even gave up the lead to open the second half, but Love's offensive heroics helped fend them off.
MOKAN Elite gives the Hoops a different look with their size and length. It will be interesting to see how the Hoops decide to match up with MOKAN's balanced rotation.
MOKAN Elite (15-4) took down a scorching-hot NY Renaissance team in the quarterfinals, holding off a fast start from the Rens. Sophomore point guard Kennedy Chandler stepped up with 22 points (10-14 FG), seven assists and five rebounds, while N’Faly Dante had yet another double-double (15 & 13) and Mike Peake and Dujuan Harris both had strong outings. Defensively, MOKAN will present Hoops with a lot of challenges, as many of their players are interchangeable.
Houston Hoops can really score the ball - especially with Baylor-commit LJ Cryer back in the lineup, so MOKAN will need to rely upon its high-level defense. If they execute the way they did against the Renaissance, they will put themselves in a good position to advance to the Peach Jam Championship.
Team WhyNot took down the top-ranked Titans in the semifinals, and they did a standout job defensively with the Titan's offensive firepower. Addison Patterson led his team in scoring with 26 points while his backcourt teammates Nimari Burnett and Jalen Green both contributed 17 points. Sophomore point guard Devin Askew did a terrific job defensively on EYBL regular season MVP Cade Cunningham, holding him to six points while racking up an impressive stat-line himself (12 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists).
Boo Williams may have played in the best game of the tournament against the AOT Running Rebels, coming away with a 93-91 overtime victory. The game concluded with a game-winning lay-in by Mark Williams with three seconds left on the clock. The 7-foot-1 big man caught a lob from Zion Harmon and converted over a defender, leaving one last heave from AOT star Sharife Cooper. Harmon scored 26 points and dishes out 11 assists, while Cameron Thomas scored 26 points and Mark Williams put up 23 points (9-12 FG). Boo Williams can score it with the best of them, which means they are more than capable of keeping up with WhyNot’s offense. Boo Williams could have another back-and-forth battle that comes down to the wire, and this has the makings of an instant classic.
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