Needless to say, the return of the Dru Joyce Classic is big for Ohio Basketball! This year’s event hosted 8 second grade teams, including 2 nationally ranked teams in #2 Hoosier Phenoms and #11 Buckeye Prep Hoopsters. By the end of the event, the unranked Canton Kings was the last team standing, after going 5-0 on their way to the 2nd grade championship. The Kings’ path to the title included wins over the Buckeye Prep Hoopsters (34-39), Seven10 (35-4), The Family (38-5), Columbus Monarchs (38-27) and the Buckeye Prep Hoopsters (37-18). The Kings benefited greatly from 2 roster additions to since the last time we saw them. The addition of David Perry (formally BNU) and Kanin Joyce was the difference in their opening round game against Buckeye Prep, as both players combed for 20 points.
Buckeye Prep finished pool play 2-1, after a loss to the Canton Kings, and wins over Seven10 (IL) (35-6) and The Family (MI) (34-10). In the first round of bracket play, Buckeye Prep Logged in a big win (31-21 ) over the #2 ranked Hoosier Phenoms. In fairness to the Phenoms, they were without the services of Aydin Garth, one of the top players in the country. In the championship game, Buckeye Prep spotted the Kings a big lead for the second time over the weekend. However, this time around, the Hoopsters could not close the gap and would eventually take the lopsided loss.
The Hoosier Phenoms completed bracket play 3-0, with wins over the Columbus Monarchs (37-12), Swish Parker Elite (40-12) and Michigan Titans (46-26). As previously mentioned, the Phenoms would lose to Buckeye Prep in the opening game of bracket play. Coach Chauncey Cumberland’s Columbus, Ohio-based Monarchs’ final four run was impressive this weekend, and included wins over the Michigan Titans (29-14) and Swish Parker Elite (42-21). The Monarchs’ day would be cut short after a 38-27 loss to the Canton Kings in the first game on Sunday morning. All in all, it was a solid tournament with good competition. Below is a list of standout performers in the form of All-Tournament Teams and Honorable Mentions.