News and Notes From Around the 2022 U.S. Open Basketball Championships
Most of the preliminary round play wrapped up Friday at the 2022 U.S. Open Basketball Championships in Westfield and Noblesville, Indiana, as a majority of the boys and girls teams in the eight divisions secured their seeds for Saturday’s elimination games.
For teams in bracket play, they must win to stay alive in the tournament, raising the stakes and pressure at USA Basketball’s premier youth tournament.
Though the pressurized win-or-go-home portion of the schedule begins on Saturday, countless interesting moments have happened along the way for teams during their journey to the knock-out round.
Daley’s Impressive Thursday
Ant Daley, a guard for BABC (MA) in the 10th Grade Boys Division, knows what he’s capable of when he steps on the basketball court.
His teammate, T.J. Allen, knows what Daley can do too.
In a Thursday night matchup with the Mighty Hawks (NY), to take control of Group B, Daley scored 67 points and made 21 3-pointers to guide his team to a 121-31 win.
“I was just playing with confidence,” Daley said. “I know I can shoot. It’s just what I do all the time. 21 [made 3-pointers] was kind of different, but my teammates kept encouraging me to keep shooting, so I did.”
Allen caught on early that Daley was in a zone. So, throughout the game, Allen continued to try and get him the ball in all the right spots on the floor.
“What I was trying to do was have the big set a screen on his man so he could get an open shot for three,” Allen said. “I knew he was going to keep hitting them, so I had to keep getting it to him.”
Allen’s plan to find Daley appeared to work well for BABC. Heading into bracket play, the team holds supreme confidence in its ability to play well and at a high level as it attempts to defend its title from the 2019 U.S. Open Basketball Championships.
“I like our versatility,” BABC head coach Leo Papile said. “We haven’t been here since 2019 because of COVID, and here we are trying to defend our 2019 championship three years later. This is a balanced group.”
The journey to defending a 2019 championship in 2022 starts on Saturday for BABC after securing a top seed in the 10th-grade boys stars championships tournament by way of claiming a first-place finish in Group C.
From Far Away and Up North
Downtown Basketball, a 10th Grade Boys Division team that finished third in Group C traversed the Canadian border to play in the U.S. Open Basketball Championships.
Out of London, Ontario, Downtown Basketball took interest in the U.S. Open Basketball Championships for two reasons: professionalism and the tournament’s environment.
“They take care of the players, officials and coaches here,” Gary McAuley, an assistant coach for the team, said. “This is a top-notch organization.”
A few of the items McAuley and Downtown Basketball have enjoyed during the tournament include the modified FIBA (International Basketball Federation) rules and the shot clock. He said it’s nice to come to a tournament in the United States and play with rules that are familiar to how basketball is played in Canada.
“[FIBA rules] Evens out things a little bit,” McAuley said. “The shot clock is great. Not everyone in the United States uses it, but it is something everyone should implement. It makes the game more interesting.”
Downtown Basketball, a long way from home, has fared well during its run at the U.S. Open Basketball Championships (2-2). In bracket play, the team hopes for more of the same and then some.
Instant Classic to Claim the 13/12U Girls Division Group Q Top-Seed
The Newport Rockets (CA) and AL Southern Starz (AL) met on the final day of pool play to settle who would go into Saturday as the No. 1 seed from Group Q in the 13/12U Girls Division.
The byproduct was a U.S. Open Basketball Championships instant classic.
Leading by 18 points at the half, the AL Southern Starz had to stave off a furious second-half Newport run that saw them tie the game late in the fourth quarter.
Despite Newport’s efforts, the Southern Starz made crucial free throws and blocked what would have been the game-tying 3-point attempt en route to the group-clinching 72-69 victory and a 3-0 record in group play.
“A win is a win, but that was a very ugly one,” Mamie Hill, the AL Southern Starz coach, said. “It’s good to go into bracket play after a game like that. Newport stayed after us, they kept us on our heels, and they played great basketball. It’s something you learn from. And that’s what this tournament is all about, growing, learning and playing great competition.”
Come Saturday’s must-win bracket-play game, Hill wants to make sure her team is focused and ready to compete at its highest level.
“We have a lot to learn,” Hill offered. “Going forward, we have to learn from the second half we played.”
Updates on Standings Heading into Bracket Play
In the 12U Boys Division, high scoring Austin Select (TX) has positioned itself nicely for a number one seed by winning its four preliminary round games in impressive fashion. However, a crucial matchup with 3-1 Mooresville Runnin' Rebels Elite (NC) await Austin on Saturday (9 a.m. EDT) and the winner of that game will earn the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the elimination round. Progeny (IN) and Motor City Chargers (MI) also have title aspirations and based on Progeny’s 47-35 defeat of Mooresville Runnin' Rebels Elite and Motor City’s 59-58 win versus Progeny, both have shown they have the talent to make a title run.
The 13U Boys title is up for grabs, however, The Family 2027 (MI) and Illinois Flight (IL), compiling perfect 3-0 records in their respective groups, appear headed for a showdown. The Family won its three preliminary games by an average of 35.6 points a game and will meet 2-1 Austin Select (TX), while Illinois Flight, whose average margin of victory in its three games was 64.7 points a game, will play 2-1 Nova 94 (VA).
After fighting off a furious comeback attempt from the Newport Rockets (CA) to claim a 72-69 victory on Friday, the AL Southern Starz 2028 (AL) finished 3-0 in Group Q to set the stage for a possible title clash against also unbeaten Cal Storm Team Taurasi (CA) who finished with a spotless 3-0 mark in Group R. The Rockets will meet Team Taurasi in one semifinal Saturday, while the Starz will face 2-1 Ohio Hoopsters (OH) in the other semifinal contest.
8th Grade Boys
With 22 teams featured in five groups in the 8th Grade Boys Division, after three days of preliminary play there’s still no shortage of title contenders. Martin Bros Basketball (IA), Kentucky Hoop Dreams (KY), All Ohio Northwest (OH) and Tim Thomas Playaz Elite (NJ) all won their group play and earned a bye for the opening round of the Stars Division elimination bracket. Grand Park Premier - 2026 Red (IN) won Group J and will meet in the opening round of the Stars Division bracket Indiana JBC (IN) who finished 2-2 in Group N. The Basketball Bureau (CO) will face Team Underrated (NY), Indiana Jammers (IN) will take on KC Run GMC (MO) and Grand Park Premier - 2026 Black (IN) will play Indy Hoops Academy (IN) in the other first round elimination games.
8th/9th Grade Girls
Cal Storm Team Taurasi 9th (CA), Lady Gym Rats - Goss (IN) and TTG Free Agents (VA) each captured top honors in their groups with unblemished 3-0 records and in doing so advanced to the 8th/9th Grade Girls Stars Division elimination round. Cal Storm Team Taurasi will meet and Indiana Red Storm 2025 in one semifinal game while Lady Gym Rats - Goss and TTG Free Agents square off in the other.
9th Grade Boys
The top four finishing teams in the 9th Grade Boys Division will advance to the Star Division championship and there’s still time for teams to shake up the standings. Martin Brothers Basketball (IA) has put itself in prime position to earn the number one seed after rolling to a 4-0 record, however, Martin Brothers Basketball still must play 3-1 Indiana Rise (IN) on Saturday (9 a.m. EDT) and Future Starts (CO). Indiana Rise can challenge for the number one spot with wins over Martin Brothers and CAAT Wildcaats 2025 (GA). Sandhills Machine Select 2025 (NC) is still in the hunt at 3-2 and We Got Next (NY) has a pair of games to improve its status.
10th Grade Girls
Three teams remain contenders for the top two seeds and the bye to the semifinal elimination round in the 10th Grade Girls Stars Division. Lady Team Teague (IN) has compiled a stellar 4-0 mark through Thursday’s games but will face the 3-1 Lady Gym Rats - Banks (IN) in the two teams’ final preliminary game Saturday morning (10:20 a.m. EDT). Cal Storm Team Taurasi (CA), who fell 50-49 to Lady Team Teague on Wednesday, improved to 3-1 following a 62-47 victory over previously undefeated Lady Gym Rats - Banks (IN) in its final game Thursday. Cal Storm Team Taurasi will face winless Lady Gym Rats - Carothers (IN) in Saturday’s other preliminary game (2:20 p.m. EDT). Locked into fourth place for the elimination round is 3-2 Phills Lady Ballers (IL) and 1-4 Central Kentucky Storm (KY) stands in fifth place.
10th Grade Boys
Advancing from the 20 teams in the 10th Grade Boys division has been no easy chore. Following Thursday’s play, there’s still plenty of teams with legitimate title aspirations. Among the unbeaten teams are 4-0 Grand Park Premier - 2024 Red (IN) from Group A, 4-0 BABC (MA) in Group B, 4-0 Progeny 2024 Blue (IN) in Group C, and 4-0 Martin Bros Basketball (IA) in Group D. Title hopes are also still alive for Cincinnati Royals 2024 (OH), South Florida Elite (FL), Primetime Performance (WV) and Sandhills Machine Basketball 2024 (NC) who each finished preliminary play with 3-1 records. In Saturday’s opening round of the Stars Division elimination games, South Florida Elite (FL) will play Downtown Basketball (Canada), Primetime Performance (WV) will take on Progeny 2024 Grey (IN), Cincinnati Royals 2024 faces Grand Park Premier - 2024 Black (IN) and Sandhills Machine Basketball 2024 will battle Kentucky Hoop Dreams (KY).