By Marcus Shockley
Texas Titans 66
Southern Stampede 65 (2OT)
The battle between the 16u AAU contenders at the Peach Jam was a back and forth war in which neither team wanted to yield, no matter what the clock or score might be. Close at the end of the first half with Texas clinging to a slim 24-23 lead, Mikey Mitchell (SF, 6’7″, 2015) showed that he’s gone from being a middle school phenom to a legitimate big time collegiate prospect. The last time I saw Mitchell, he was 6’5″ and already an above-the-rim player. Now he’s added two inches in height and is a versatile enough to play the SG, SF or even the PF positions effectively. Handles the ball like a wing but has great rebounding timing and awareness.
Mitchell is joined by King McClure (PG, 6’3″, 2015) whose solid free throw shooting and scoring led everyone and helped seal the win. SoSo Jamabo (SG, 6’4″, 2015) is an effective shooting guard who can score under pressure or in traffic and hit several big time shots against stout defense. Big men Samir Sehcc (C, 6’8″, 2015) and Tyler Davis (C, 6’10”, 2015) are pure post players who add a lot of size in the paint.
On the Southern Stampede roster, the name to remember is Ahmed Hill (SG, 6’4″, 2014) who was nothing short of spectacular in the second half. With his team down and the game slipping away, Hill put the team on his back, hitting shot after shot, often while being fouled, to bring his team back and take the lead. Hill has a great looking shot and can shoot on the move, with contact, or from deep. He also had a thunderous two-handed slam in traffic that brought the house down. Joining Hill on the Stampede are notable players Elijah Staley (SF/PF, 6’6″, 2014) who has good bounce and length, Jakeenan Gant (SF, 6’7″, 2014) a long forward with good follow through on his shot, and solidly built post player Cedric Turman (C, 6’9″, 2014).
Hill almost completed the comeback after hitting two free throws to send the game into overtime. Neither team wanted to relent – the Titans took a 2 point lead, but Jarryd Coleman (SG, 6’2″, 2014) hit a huge three under pressure to erase that lead and put the Stampede up by a single point.
Each team traded free throws, and after a steal in the open court by Marcus Stroman (PG, 6’2″, 2014), it seemed that the game was in hand for the Stampede. Stroman hit his first shot from the line to put the Stampede up 61-60 with 4.4 seconds left in overtime. On his second free throw attempt, it bounced into the hands of Staley, who was fouled immediately. Staley also went 1-2 from the line, putting the Stampede up by 2 and which meant any hope for the Titans was a Hail-Mary-style bomb down the length of the court. The Titan star Mitchell, a noted quarterback prospect as well, was sitting on the bench after fouling out and it seemed like the very definition of a longshot.
The long inbounds heave was batted around by swarming Stampede defenders before being corralled by Sehic, who spun and scored as time expired, sending the game into the second overtime, stunning the Stampede and sending the Titans into a frenzy. Mitchell cheered his teammates on from the sideline after pulling off what seemed like a miracle that allowed them to claw their way back into the game.
The final OT is a race – only a short amount of time is added and it comes down to a quick series or rapid possessions. The Titans took a 66-63 lead with 30 seconds to go, and Hill picked up his fifth foul, sending him to the bench. The Titans held on for the title while the Stampede will have the chance to bounce back in next week’s Power 24 in Atlanta.
Marcus Shockley is the founder of Basketball Elite and the creator of the Scouting Confidence Rating System™. You can follow Marcus on Twitter @m_shockley.