WESTFIELD-- 757 Elite of Virginia (7-1) won the division I boys championship and Florida Future Elite (6-0) won the girls division I championship at the inaugural USA Basketball 14U National Tournament on Monday July 3 at Jonathan Byrd's Fieldhouse at Grand Park.
The Division I final game began with 757 Elite jumping out to a 7-2 lead, but previously undefeated Elfrid Payton Elite (7-1) cut that to 15-14 at the end of the first 10 minutes. After a 35-30 halftime advantage for 757 Elite, Elfrid Payton Elite put together a 36-18 third quarter run to lead 66-53 entering the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, however, 757 Elite cut the deficit to one point, 73-72, with 2:15 to play. 757 took a 74-73 lead with 1:34 on the clock and held Elfrid Payton Elite to just one more point while scoring the last six to bring the game to its 80-74 final.
"It was a see-saw game," said 757 Elite head coach Randall Johnson. "What I mostly was worried about was getting back some momentum after we went down. It was all about our heart and being competitive. We kept the bench up, kept pushing them to keep their heads up and kept trying to be positive. It was a blessing that we were able to come back and show what kind of team we are. I'm proud of them."
Jayden Epps led 757 Elite with 31 points.
"At first we started off a little sluggish," Epps said. "We came into the second quarter and dominated, and then in the third quarter we went down again. We went down by double digits, but we focused and we came through and we got the win.
"We kept motivating each other. This was big for us to win this tournament."
The two teams also met in the first game of the tournament for both sides, with Elfrid Payton earning an 84-75 win.
In the girls championship game, Florida Future beat Georgia Pearls (5-1) 69-53. Future took control of the game early, jumping out to an 18-11 lead after the first quarter and a 41-22 halftime advantage.
The Pearls fought back to outscore Future 16-5 in the third quarter, but they could not come any closer than eight points.
"It feels good to win this tournament," said Jamie Outten, Florida Future head coach. "We played well. We were a little bit nervous at first, because this is a big stage. I think they took the third quarter off. I don't know if we got a little bit fatigued, but Georgia Pearls gave us a run for our money. But, we came back out in the fourth quarter and finished strong."
O'Mariah Gordon led Florida Future with 18 points.
"We played hard," said Florida Future guard Ameerah Ali. "Georgia Pearls, they played with us, and they kept playing through the fourth quarter.
"There were many different teams from different states that I had never seen, and they were good competition," Ali said of the tournament overall.
In the girls division I third-place game, St. Louis Eagles (5-1) captured a 47-35 win over Bakerhoops All Stars (4-3) from Pennsylvania. The game was close after the first 10 minutes, but St. Louis Eagles opened up a 26-12 lead at halftime and then held on for the win.
The girl's division II final game saw Carolina Waves (4-2) of North Carolina erase a 7-1 first-quarter deficit before earning a 41-37 win over the Wisconsin Shooters (4-3). After trailing by six points, the Waves outscored the Shooters 20-8 in the second quarter. The game was close from there, but Caroline outscored St. Louis 7-3 in the third and 15-13 in the fourth to secure the win.
In the boys division I third-place game ProBound Elite (6-2) of Ohio earned a 72-53 win over Kingdom Red (5-3), also out of Ohio. ProBound led 17-8 at the first break, but Kingdom outscored ProBound 18-12 in the second period to trail by just three points, 29-26 at halftime. ProBound responded and won both second-half quarters to earn the third-place victory.
In the final game of the boys division II playoffs, Triple Double Black (6-2) from Florida topped Illinois Future (5-3) 104-83. Triple Double Black led throughout the game.