Here are highlights from the D-League All-Star and Championship games:
D-League All-Star Game
Black Team 49, Red Team 44
The D-League All-Star game saw the rising 7th and 8th graders of the league face off in an entertaining, fast-paced contest. Patrick Jamin got things started for the Black Team, hitting an early three to put his team ahead 3-0. Dane Moran of the Red Team responded with a couple buckets of his own though, giving his squad an early advantage. The teams continued to trade buckets until, thanks to Jack Cornette, Red Team took a 35-30 lead into halftime. Cornette, who finished with 12 points and seven assists, ran the Red Team’s offense smoothly, often connecting with Moran down low en route to a basket. However, the Black Team came back in the second half and pulled away. Led by Aidan Kilfeather and Ryan Patterson, the Black Team slowly trudged back into the ball game and pulled ahead late in the contest, eventually emerging victorious.
The first championship of the night was an exciting one, between Ian O’Connor-led Red Bank Armory and Crazees, featuring Tommy Bavuso. The teams had met earlier in the season when Crazees topped Red Bank Armory by 13, but right from the get-go it was apparent this contest would be tighter than the last. Crazees took an early lead, thanks to two Bavuso threes that helped give his team an 11-5 advantage four minutes into the game. O’Connor, who got off to a slow start, finally got a shot to drop late in the first quarter, and he never slowed down. He brought Red Bank Armory back into the game, dominating the second quarter and cutting the Crazees lead to two late in the half. Red Bank Armory appeared poised to tie the game at halftime, but a Bavuso block at the buzzer snuffed out Armory’s shot attempt, and Crazees entered the break up 22-20. The third quarter featured a matchup between Red Bank Armory’s Ryan Ruane and Crazees’ Jack Cornette, two Holy Cross guards who provide instant offense for their team. Ruane scored eight of his team’s 11 points in the period, but it was Cornette who had the last laugh, as his team owned a 35-31 lead after three. Red Bank Armory quickly tied the game in the fourth, setting the contest up for an exciting finish. After the teams matched each other’s blows for seven minutes, they found themselves tied at 48 with just seconds to go. Both teams ended up getting off potential game-winners, but neither try was successful, and the game went into overtime. After each team scored two points halfway through the extra period, the game was tied at 50 with less than a minute to go. That’s when Jackson McCarthy hit the biggest shot of the entire D-League season, a three from the top of the key that banked in. Crazees, down three, gave the ball to Bavuso, who got off a last-second three, but it was just short, giving Red Bank Armory the win and the Championship.
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