BROOKLYN, NY- There was a strong crowd at the Barclays Center on Friday afternoon as the Jordan Brand Regional Game saw Team Red featuring players from New York State take on Team Blue, a team comprised of players from up and down the Northeast.
It was a fantastic high tempo game that saw many highlight reel moments, but even while trailing for most of the game, the local Red Team came on strong down the stretch to overcome an 8-point deficit to rally and send the hometown crowd home happy in taking a 170-162 victory.
The Red team got out to a fast start as Brandon Randolph (Westtown School, PA '17) was able to get out in transition and finish above the rim in the easy going scoring 12 points in the first 4 minutes of the game. Team Blue came back quickly though as Daron Russell (Imhotep Charter, PA '17) was able to push the tempo and score in transition, and with Jamir Harris (The Patrick School, NJ '17) hitting on three triples in the opening 10 minutes of the half, Blue took a lead of as big as 7.
Both teams shot the ball extremely well as the Red team came on strong as the opening half wore down with Jordan Nwora (Vermont Academy, VT '17) heating up from behind the arc with a couple of uncontested three's off of kick outs from Jose Alvarado (Christ the King '17), and with Chris Duarte (Redemption Christian Academy '17) going 6-8 from the floor in the first 20 minutes, the Red team was right there, taking a late lead before a Clifton Moore (Hatboro Horsham, PA '17) throw down put Team Blue up at the half by a point at 87-86.
It was a fast tempo, high octane game in the opening half with little defense being played, but with an immense amount of athleticism on display, it was an action filled game that was keeping the Brooklyn crowd entertained.
If there was a tough part in the first half it was when Jordan Tucker (Wheeler, GA '17) had to leave the gamer with an injury, though he came back to start the second half ready to make an impact as the New York based team looked to come back and take control in front of their hometown fans.
Early in the start of the second half it became apparent that it was "Jelly Time" as Isaiah Washington (St. Raymond's '17) began to impose his will on the game both taking it to the lane and finishing with finger rolls at the rim, while also dishing it off when the defense closed in on him, allowing him to pick up his 10th assist of the game just past the midway point of the half.
Nwora and Tucker both started to get going again with uncontested three pointers, but it was Bourama Sidibe (St. Benedict's, NJ '17) who was able to control the paint for the Blue Team to help them maintain their lead. Team Red was able to take lead with just over 9 minutes to go on back to back baskets from Washington, and while it was still a fast-paced game, the competitiveness of both teams began to take over with both wanting to go home with the victory.
Collin Gillespie (Archbishop Wood, PA '17) was big off the dribble being able to shoot from deep for the Blue Team, and with Sidibe and Kimani Lawrence (New Hampton School, MA '17) each doing solid jobs down low, it looked as if the Blue group was going to pull away.
Andrew Platek (Northfield Mt. Hermon, MA '17) gave the Red Team a spark off the bench with a nice shooting touch, and with Washington getting the crowd off their feet with spectacular moves with the ball in his hands, it looked as if it could be the New York area team’s day, and when Anthony Gaines (New Hampton School, MA '17) took it all the way in transition while getting fouled with 4:18 to play, Red took a 148-146 lead.
After that the Red Team didn't look back as Randolph hit clutch buckets from the midrange, while Washington broke the Jordan Brand Classic Regional Game assist record as the local boys did good in leading the game for the last 4 minutes and pulling away to take a 170-162 victory.
Randolph was named Game MVP as he had a game high 32 points for Team Red. Williams had 25 points while shooting 12-17 from the floor, Platek had 22 points going 10-15 from the field, while Washington had 20 points and 15 assists to pace the way.
Lawrence was named MVP for the Blue Team as he came on with a strong second half to have 27 points, while every player on Team Blue had at least 10 points as Harris had 20, with Sidibe adding 18 points and 12 rebounds in the defeat.