Thrilling Double-Overtime 10th Grade Boys’ Title Game A Fitting End To Successful 2019 U.S. Open Basketball Championships
It was a big weekend for two of Wendy Barrett’s children.
Carson, a standout guard who plays for his father Dave at Lafayette (Indiana) Central Catholic High School, received his first college basketball scholarship offer from Ohio Dominican University. Then on Sunday at the 2019 U.S. Open Basketball Championships in Westfield, Indiana, Carley Barrett and her IGB 2025 Bowsman team won the 12U Stripes division championship.
The Barretts have traveled to Louisville, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Michigan in order for their children to play the kind of competition that comes with a USA Basketball event.
“Playing with the best against the best,” Wendy Barrett said.
Even though it’s been a summer with more than 60 games just for Carley, in addition to basketball tournaments for Carson and younger brother Clark, Wendy Barrett believes it is worth every minute for the benefits her children have received.
“Discipline, respect, hopefully motivation to keep working hard and reaching their goals,” she said. “There’s frustration, there’s tears, there’s happy moments … you go through them all.”
For the second year in a row, the Pacers Athletic Center at Grand Park hosted the U.S. Open Basketball Championships. Families and basketball fans escaped temperatures nearing 100 degrees to watch several outstanding championship games on Sunday. The event was capped by The Family 16U’s 91-88 double overtime victory over BABC 2021 in the 10th grade boys’ Stars championship.
Jay Demings, USA Basketball’s director, youth & sport development, said moments after the final game that he hopes the tournament will return to Indiana for a third year in a row.
“The tournament has grown in size, the tournament has grown in talent but I think the tournament has grown in standards,” Demings said. “I think the teams that come here expect a high standard because of who we are in USA Basketball. Hopefully we are delivering on that but I know we’re going to get better and raise the level of what we offer and provide for the kids.”
There was no better example than the 10th grade boys’ Stars championship, which was played before CBS Sports Network television cameras and an enthusiastic audience. For coach Sean Moore of The Family 16U, his team’s final event of the summer was a memorable one that he hopes to repeat next year.
“The tournament was a great success,” Moore said. “The atmosphere, just the whole environment and the setup was great. This was something I will never forget.
“I’d recommend this to a lot of teams in the future. You would love this. I hope it gets bigger and bigger. This is one of the best youth tournaments in the AAU season.”
Another team claiming a championship Sunday was IGB Morse Gold in the 9th grade girls’ Stripes division. IGB Morse Gold coach Natalie Morse liked that the U.S. Open was played under FIBA rules, unlike many of the summer tournaments in which her team participated. Most notable of the FIBA rules in effect was the 30-second shot clock.
“It’s a good thing for my kids to have to learn different rules and styles,” Morse said. “We made adjustments and figured it out.”
Morse’s team MVP for the tournament, Shalynn Shade, enjoyed the fast pace and the quality of teams IGB Morse Gold faced.
“I like seeing all these different teams and playing good competition with my team,” Shade said.
Like The Family 16U coach Sean Moore, Morse also highly recommended USA Basketball to parents and young players.
“We believe in the same things USA Basketball believes in,” Morse said. “You can tell it’s not just about the money. That’s the biggest thing for a lot of other tournaments.
“USA Basketball is really focused on helping these kids and showing them role models … things they can see walking in the front door. That’s the ultimate goal, to play for the U.S. Olympic Team. That’s what kids look up to.”
More than 120 boys’ and girls’ teams in eight divisions participated in the U.S. Open, which began July 17.
“When people start looking for places to send their kids to play, they want a couple of things,” Demings said. “They want structure, they want their child to develop and you know they want good coaching in that mix. I also think they want to know there are people out there putting on events that care about them and their experience. We do our best not to overcharge anybody and keep it reasonable and accessible.
“We’d love to be back, and we have some pleasant surprises in store for 2020.”
Ken Thompson is a freelance contributor to USAB.com on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.