BOSTON – While it isn’t the event of yesteryear with the plethora of big-time talent and all the memorable moments, the Boston Shootout continues on thanks to the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, the premier travel program in New England. After 1999, BABC took it over and started running it without seniors who would soon be in college, and it’s a solid event now for the region.
In the 44th iteration this year, the host program went 3-for-3, winning all age groups at Cathedral High School. The event featured teams from Maine, New Hampshire and New York in addition to Massachusetts. The freshmen team beat the Albany City Rocks, then the sophomores beat the New England Playaz before the juniors held off the DC Blue Devils in the final game of the weekend.
In the first game we saw on Sunday, the New England Playaz used great three-point shooting to pull away from Metro Boston 88-63 to advance in the junior division. The Playaz were led by Nate Laszewski (6’7″ So. SF, Avon (CT) Northfield Mount Hermon) and Davidson commit Kellan Grady (6’3″ Jr. PG-SG, West Roxbury (MA) Northfield Mount Hermon), while Jerome Desrosiers (6’6″ Jr. SF-PF, Northfield Mount Hermon) got a few post baskets, including with his left hand, and Jordan Mello-Klein (6’1″ Jr. SG, Braintree (MA) Thayer Academy) chipped in from long range a few times. For Metro Boston, Carl Pierre (6’3″ Jr. SG, Dorchester (MA) Boston College HS) impressed by not being afraid to battle inside, even as his body has a ways to go. He finished with contact and didn’t shy away from it. Kendrick Gray (6’7″ Jr. SF, Sacramento (CA) Vermont Academy) is athletic and has a good body, and though he didn’t star in this one it’s clear he’s worth watching. Nick Timberlake (6’3″ Jr. SG, Braintree (MA) High) is a plus athlete who got out in transition a couple of times.
The second game of the day was a very entertaining game between the ninth grade teams from two Nike programs, BABC and the Albany City Rocks. The City Rocks had the lead for a significant portion of the game, but it was never a big one. BABC ultimately pulled it out 54-50, led by the backcourt of Quest Harris (5’9″ Fr. PG-SG, Lowell (MA) Worcester Academy) and eighth grader Dallion Johnson (5’10” PG, Haverhill (MA), who is headed to Phillips Andover. The well-built Harris is a perfect fit for their style of play, as he got several steals that he turned into baskets at the other end, while Johnson is a baby physically and showed a nice shooting touch. Kyle Layman (6’5″ Fr. SF-PG, Wrentham (MA) King Philip Regional HS) has a great motor and was active in this one, while another eighth grader, Qualeem Charles (headed to his hometown Attleboro HS), is built like a football player and held his own working inside. Jake Cook (Fr. PF, Latham (NY) Shaker HS) anchored the post for the City Rocks, battling inside en route to 20 points and with a body that is a ways from maturing. Symir Torrence (6’0″ Fr. PG-SG, Syracuse (NY) Academy of Science) impressed, as he’s athletic, cut to the hoop nicely for a couple of baskets and was constantly in motion. He also just turned 15 years old. Kam Farris (Fr. PG, Burlington (VT) Rice HS) is a baby physically who drove often to create opportunities, while August Mahoney (5’11” Fr. SG, Albany (NY) Academy) has a nice-looking left-handed stroke, but struggled in this game, and Michael Ortale (SG-SF, Delamr (NY) Bethlehem HS) hit three three-pointers and also passed well and was heady, evidenced by when he tipped an offensive board to a teammate for a stickback.
Following that, Connecticut-based USAD took on the Maine Blue Wave and won handily, 68-47 in a junior matchup. Christian Adam (6’4″ So. SG, New Haven (CT) Hillhouse HS) and Tyreek Perkins (6’0″ Jr. PG, Putnam (CT) Science Academy) were among those who impressed the most for the winners, and Adam impressed us in viewing earlier this spring as well.
Next up, the DC Blue Devils from New Hampshire took on the New England Playaz with a berth in the junior championship game at stake. This game figured to be good, and it lived up to its billing. The Blue Devils led 41-35 at the half, but the Playaz bounced right back behind Laszewski, as he carried them to the lead. The Blue Devils regained the lead, and it remained close into the final minutes. Down the stretch, the Blue Devils made big plays and just enough free throws to stay up by three, and a good look from just past midcourt at the buzzer did not go as they held off the Playaz 80-77.
The Blue Devils got a big game from Geo Baker (6’2″ Jr. PG, Andover (NH) Proctor Academy) with 22 points and a big assist late. His body has matured a good deal, though he still needs to gain strength, and he’s more athletic and aggressive offensively, while he’s always been a pest defensively. Caleb Green (5’10” Jr. PG-SG, Andover (NH) Proctor Academy) had 13 points, including three three-pointers, while Tshiefu Ngalakulondi (6’4″ Jr. SF-PF, Manchester (NH) Proctor Academy) looks more athletic and is showing a more developed offensive game. For the Playaz, Laszewski had 17 points in the losing effort, and while his shooting was a plus, you can see how he lacks strength when he goes inside, as he’s easily pushed off his base. Grady continued to show more development off the bounce. Impressing on the post was Darnell Brodie (6’9″ So. PF-C, Newark (NJ) Putnam Science Academy), who has a big body that he parked inside to go to work. He rebounded well, showed some post moves and absorbed contact, and while it wasn’t pretty – his conditioning needs a bit of work – he was a solid and effective presence.
The sophomore championship game was up next, with the New England Playaz battling BABC. It was a good game for a lot of the first half, but BABC opened up a 13-point lead at the break and pulled away in the second half for a 78-50 win. Cole Swider (6’7″ So. SG-SF, Portsmouth (RI) St. Andrew’s School) had the big game for the winners with 25 points, and while that included three three-pointers, he showed a nice game off the bounce to score, even finishing with contact. Brycen Goodine (6’1″ So. SG, North Dartmouth (MA) Bishop Stang HS), fresh off a state title during the school season and headed to St. Andrew’s next year, had 17 points. Maurice Works (5’9″ So. PG, Boston (MA) Lawrence Academy) had 13 points and showed how much of a warrior he is, Martin Mann (6’7″ So. PF, Lowell (MA) Lawrence Academy) had nine points and showed a more mature body that still has some to go, and Paul Durkee (6’2″ So. SG, Shrewsbury (MA) High) looked like the consummate glue guy.
The final game of the day saw the DC Blue Devils taking on BABC for the junior championship. BABC ran out to a quick 19-5 lead and was up 44-32 at the break. The Blue Devils scored the first six of the second half, but got no closer as BABC closed out a 77-69 win. Marcus Santos-Silva (6’7″ Jr. PF, Taunton (MA) Vermont Academy) was the best player on the floor with 28 points and a number of rebounds. The wide-bodied post player has come a long way in the past year, as he’s in much better shape and has become a major force inside both scoring and on the glass, and he still has plenty of room to grow. Bailey Patella (6’4″ Jr. SG-SF, Lenox (MA) Vermont Academy) added 20 points and continues to emerge, as he’s a plus athlete with good skills on the wing who a year ago was basically on no one’s radar. Baker had 19 points, including three three-pointers, for the Blue Devils, while Ngalakulondi shook off a bad start to finish with 15. Suke Mathon (6’9″ Jr. PF, Shavertown (PA) Holderness School) has a good body and had his moments on the day, including a big defensive stop in their win over the Playaz.