On Wednesday, April 21st, ENG United 15U faced one of Georgia's top Adidas 3SSB Circuit teams, Game Elite 16U, in the RYZE Hoops Spring League (16U Division). From start to finish, the game was a battle!
Due to a slow start by ENG United, Game Elite got out to an early 16 - 3 lead, showing why they are a respected name in Georgia grassroots basketball. But, thanks to a team defensive adjustment, and an offensive injection by Vernell Jones - who scored 5 unanswered points - ENG United was able to slow Game Elite's fast start to a manageable pace. But, due to a late first-half run, Game Elite was still able to go into halftime with a 12 point lead (34-22).
But, in the second half, the resilience of ENG United proved to be difficult for Game Elite's 16U players to continue their dominant run. ENG started the half with smothering defensive intensity on the perimeter by Jace Freeman, Marquan Murray, and Vernell Jones, coupled with shot blocking rim protection by Jeremias and Jakenes Heard, Gabriel Mason, and Jordan Brabham. As a result, the team was able to cause a number of Game Elite turnovers, which led to several unanswered buckets by ENG United.
As the game wound down to the final 3:00, ENG was able to take a 39-38 lead, forcing a late-game timeout by Game Elite. After a few missed shots by ENG United, Game Elite was able to take back the lead on a big three-pointer with just over 2:00 left on the clock. In the end, ENG United was unable to take back the lead, and ultimately came up short with the final score being 45-41.
ENG United's next tournament will be the Prep Hoops Circuit, Session 1: A-Town Showdown, April 30 - May 2nd in Atlanta.