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CenTX Hoopsfest: Championship Recaps

By Antonio G. Castillo, 07/21/20, 9:15AM CDT


We recap all 4 Championships from Sunday, be sure to check out how each top spot was won...

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San Antonio, TX-

Sunday brought some high level hoops to the CenTX Hoopsfest. Given the circumstances, talent and competition were not lacking. We give you a look at who took home top billing in each division after Championship Sunday.

(17U Gold)

UAA Texas Hardwork 16U (5-0)
As the games went on, it was no surprise to see this group advance to the Gold Championship, and eventually win it. Credit to the West Texas Force Elite who were certainly a worthy foe, but simply ran out of gas and did not have the depth to overtake Hardwork. In the first half, it was a heated, competitive contest that at times had both teams in front, with UAA Hardwork clinging to a 29-28 halftime lead.

It became the norm during the Hoopsfest, the horses of Hardwork took over and separated in the 2nd half. Coach Jackson’s Hardwork group started out of the break on a 7-2 run, before a layup by Evan Phelps would make it 36-32. Then Hardwork would go on another spurt, using  a 10-4 run capped off by a nice lob and catch in transition, where Vince Iwuchukwu (Cole HS/2022) showed off his athleticism in running the floor and contorting his body to lay it in. From that point, the Force would not get back within single digits and Texas Hardwork secured the Championship win, 67-53.

The 6’11” Top National 30 prospect showed his talent on all ends and set the pace with a team high 21pts in the ‘Ship. 6’7” sophomore to be Zayden High (Smithson Valley/2023) added 11pts, but the growth he has made from the end of the high school year to now in 4 months, has been astronomical. His fluidity and confidence has soared, and his outside shot is becoming more consistent.

(17U Silver)

HOHT (4-1)
The Heart over Height program was literally one bucket away from having a perfect weekend. After their gut-wrenching opening loss, the team responded exceptionally, winning it’s next four in route to the Silver Championship.

In a match-up with Austin Defenders Premier 2021, unsigned senior Rob Gill (Holmes HS/2020), would be the catalyst leading HOHT with 17 first half points, and giving them a 36-29 advantage. The Defenders certainly had the height with 6’5” Rodney Johnson (Bryan HS/2021) and 6’8” Ja’Vier Francis (Westburry Christian/2021), who both finished respectively with 13 and 7 points. However, it was the perimeter quickness of HOHT that couldn’t be stopped.

Gill would carry the team to the finish line, tallying 30 points in the end, adding 4 three pointers to wrap up the Silver title. Throughout the event, Noah Robledo (Leander HS/2021) and Jordan Barajas (McCollum HS/2021) also had their moments for HOHT. Robledo would lead them in scoring one contest, and Barajas would draw a lot of tough defensive assignments of taller opponents, and held his own defensively.


ATX Lockdown 2022 (5-0)
Coming into the Hoopsfest, we knew that Lockdown would be missing 2 key players/starters, in 6’6” 2023 Levi Rutledge and 2022 Wyatt Kieke. Did that give us pause for a second? Yes. Did Lockdown miss a beat? Absolutely not.

The matchup with a talented Lone Star United (LSU) 15U team started off tight and back and forth. At one point, LSU was up 11-10 early on. Then in the blink of an eye, Lockdown went off, as they did all weekend.

In his first action since returning from injury, Zach Engels (Westwood HS/2022) showed not much signs of rust, he connected on a trey, and so would TJ Johnson (Belton HS/2022), Colt Lychner (2022), and Matthew Turner (2022). Davean Richardson (Hutto HS/2022)  would have his way in being able to get into the lane and penetrate, and just like that it was a 45-23 halftime lead for Lockdown.

They would cruise to the final buzzer, wrapping up the 16U Championship 61-40, in impressive fashion. Johnson would have a team high 14pts, while Engels added 10 in the win.

Lockdown cemented itself as top dog in the Tri-Regions for 16U and made the argument for one of the best in the State. Impressively rolling the competition and not having any game closer than 20 points. What is even more eye catching, is the team defense that Coach Dion preaches to his group. Only one team scored more than 50pts, the Louisiana Extreme who finished with 56. All weekend long Lockdown saw top competition with top athletes (Louisiana Xtreme, Texas Tigers, West Texas Force Elite, LSU, Houston Top Guns), and all they did was check their best players and made it look easy.


SAF Hybrid (5-0)
Before heading into the 15U Championship, SAF had not really been tested similar to Lockdown in 16U. Their closest game was a win by 12 points over SA Arnold Elite 2023.

The ‘Ship would slot them versus a young, but a very talented Drive Nation Collins 2024 team. Points were tough to come by, as SAF would hold a small edge at the half, 20-15. The second half would see the Finest open a 30-19 lead on the strength of a 10-4 run, but Reese Martin would connect on a trey from the left corner to make it a 30-22 game for Drive Nation. From that point, Nation would use a 9-3 spurt to close the gap and make it a tight finish.

Buckets would be traded in the ensuing possessions, big Cameron Walker (Brennan HS/2024) would get a key offensive rebound and put back to give SAF a little breathing room.

Finest would grind it out and hang on for the 42-40 win, as Roman Chase (2024) would pace them with 10pts, connecting on 2 treys, and Elijah Favela (Judson MS/2025) would add 8pts, hitting on 2 treys as well.

In the coming days, be sure to check back on as we’ll have a few more pieces looking back at our 2020 CenTX Hoopsfest.

Alamo City Hoops

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