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June 13, 2009

Rumble in the Bronx: Day 1 Notes

A total of 48 teams played in the June madness that is the Rumble in the Bronx at Fordham University.

Players from all over the country came and battled it out in the first day of pool play Friday night. Here are some team assessments from the evening's match-ups.

Westchester Hawks

The Hawks have an aggressive style of play, as they got off to an early lead against New York rival, the NYC Jaguars. Christopher Manhertz of Cardinal Spellman clogged the middle and rejected any attempts to the cylinder. Although the team can pound it in on the offensive end, sometimes if they have a lead, the talented squad runs too many consecutive plays for the jumpshot. If it weren't for the team's superior rebounding ability over the Jags, it wouldn't have received as many second-chance points after a missed shot.

The Hawks also have a great ability to get even their big-bodied players involved in drawing the foul. The team rarely commits fouls or turnovers, as they are a highly structured team with a clear set plan for set plays. The ball club's passing is precise, even if its fancy! The Hawks are unselfish with the ball, as exhibited by the squad's nice spread of offensive contributions on the stat sheet.

The Hawks will play Crusader Nation next in Day 2 of pool play.

NYC Jaguars

The Jags are quick and have a good flow of the game, but, right now, lack the size to be a strong contender in the future. The team got muscled down low by the Hawks on the defensive end and could only successful complete a few plays in the paint. The team will need to work on its interior presence for the next match-ups at the Rumble. Unfortunately, the Jags will not have much time to study what can be done against athletic, lengthy post men, as the team's next game against Louisiana Select is on Saturday.

Since the Jags do have some spark under their feet, the best thing for them if their jumpshots aren't consistently falling, is the outlet pass to the fast-breaker.

Connecticut Elite

This out-of-state squad gave California Supreme a run for their money. With about 1:16 remaining in the first period, the Elite were able to bring the game within one, 41-40. If CT Elite wants to progress deeper into the tournament, the underdog must make its freebies at the charity stripe. Cal Supreme was able to extend the one-point lead only a few seconds later when CT Elite couldn't convert on its free throws. Though ranked a number four seed, the tri-state area team wasn't backing down from the west coast ball club in the one-slot. CT Elite demonstrated some good basketball-IQ, knowing when to either take the jumper or penetrate to the inside.

Connecticut Elite will play Expressions Elite next in the tournament.

Martin Brothers

The strong team out of Iowa is sometimes paced by its 6-foot-9 post man Jordan Dykstra. Dykstra, the soon-to-be senior, who plays power forward for Rock Valley High, used his long arms to take charge of the paint on both sides of the hardwood when playing fellow out-of-state hopeful East Coast Elite. The team has a lot of players that are tough enough to drive inside against the contact and still finish at the rim.

The Martin Brothers are scrappy and have excellent hustle, but can get overwhelmed by a highly aggressive team. Early on in the game against ECE, the Martin Brothers were easily keeping up with the Delaware squad, but later fell into the backdrop once East Coast Elite stepped up its intensity. Martin Brothers must not get rattled by teams that explode with much more physicality late in a match-up.

The Iowa squad will play the fourth-seeded Rhode Island Breakers on Saturday.

East Coast Elite

East Coast Elite started off the game with what seemed like a mediocre effort, as its middle-of-the-pack counterpart, Martin Brothers, got a little run out of them. ECE stepped up its energy in the second period and pulled the game away for a 73-57 victory. The team showed a superb collective effort on the offensive end while getting the ball well into motion. The Delaware squad seemed to always make that extra pass to get some high-percentage buckets.

If ECE wants to continue to advance, the team must play with the same consistent intensity for the whole 32-minute stretch and not come out dry. The same Delaware team that got a sample of some of New York's best talent at the iS8/Nike Spring High School Classic and finished in the final eight of the playoffs, will meet the winner of that tournament on Day 2 of Rumble pool play, the NY Panthers. Though the Panthers have a different look now, due to the graduation of its top talent, the squad is still formidable enough to earn a number one seed in the Bronx's tournament E-pool.

Albany City Rocks

The Tobias Harris-free Albany City Rocks team came out with ferociousness. City Rocks was offensively too strong for the Brooklyn Patriots. The team pulled out a disturbingly large 63-25 win, giving the Patriots no chance whatsoever. Spearheaded by 6-foot-2 guard Taran Buie (Bishop Maginn) and 6-foot-9 center Will Regan (Nichols), City Rocks has a strong high-low game and with its lengthy squad, is hard to guard.

City Rocks kept camera lights flashing with quick-moving plays and power dunks to the cylinder. And, no matter how much moving of the ball City Rocks does, they always find themselves in position for an open look. But, Albany City Rocks will have to maintain that level of athleticism and accuracy coming up against more superior teams than the Patriots.

City Rocks will play SJ Select on Saturday.




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