Commentary

AAU Junior Showcase Day 2

Originally Published: July 8, 2008
By Mindi Rice | ESPN HoopGurlz

ORLANDO, Fla. -- If the AAU Junior Showcase had a theme after the second day, it would be that very little could be predicted.

Sure, the Boo Williams Summer League squad continued its dominance, and the New York Gauchos and Tennessee Flights' top teams both remained undefeated in their respective pools. But after that, everything got a little murky Monday inside the Jostens Center at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

With one game remaining for each team before brackets are seeded, only the Boo Williams team (4-0) in the B Pool and the Gauchos (4-0) from Pool A had assured themselves a spot in the Gold Bracket via both wins and points.

In Pool C, the Tennessee Flight Silver has all but secured a spot in the top bracket as well, with a 4-0 record and two 3-1 teams behind it.

But arguably the most balanced pool is the final group in Pool D, in which the Georgia Metros and the Orlando Comets Red lead the standings at 3-1 each. Right behind are three teams with 2-2 records: The Family, Tennessee Flight Navy and the Garner Flames.

"We have a really good pool," said Elan Brown, a guard for the Georgia Metros. "We're familiar with these teams, but they've changed their playing styles up since the last tournaments, just like we have, but it puts us in a good position."

And just when it looked like the Metros might run away with the pool, the Flight Navy team made things a bit more interesting, with a 50-43 upset of the Metros Monday.

"That's the toughest pool here," Tennessee Flight coach Tom Insell said. "I think the Georgia Metros are a top-10 travel team this summer and we go out there and beat them [Monday] morning? That's just unheard of."

But stranger things have happened in Pool D. After opening with a loss to Garner, the Orlando Comets Red came charging back with three wins, to set up a pool title match Tuesday morning with the Metros. Both teams will likely advance to the Gold Bracket.

In Pool B, Team Breakdown and the GA/LINA 76ers, both at 3-1, have a noon showdown to join the Boo Williams squad in the gold bracket.

"Every team here is competitive," Team Breakdown guard Bianca Lutley said. "But we've got to come out ready to work so we can make it to the next round."

The A Pool isn't quite as top heavy, with the Gauchos at 4-0 and the Philadelphia Belles at 3-1. Essence 2009 and the Alabama Twisters, both at 2-2, should make the Silver Bracket.

"We started playing together as a team and getting our momentum (Monday)," New York Gauchos guard Markel Walker said. "I'm excited. I like the competition [in Orlando]."

In Pool C, the South Florida Lady Jaguars and the Silver Bullets NY Elite play for a chance to join the Flight Silver in the top bracket.

Teams already locked into the bronze bracket are High Hoops, Alabama Nike Lasers and the New York Gauchos Black team, which is primarily 2010 recruits. Two teams  the fifth and sixth from Pool B  will earn spots into the Bronze Bracket quarterfinals due to the two no-show teams in Pool C.

Rim Shots

Three 2009 guards on the ESPN HoopGurlz 100 list said Monday that their college lists are still wide open. Bianca Lutley, Elan Brown and Markel Walker all said they plan to narrow their lists to five closer to the end of July. & The 22 teams in the Junior Showcase play one final game this morning before being seeded into Gold, Silver and Bronze championship brackets. Bracket play begins this afternoon with the championships Wednesday afternoon.

Monday's Top Performances

Bianca Lutley, Team Breakdown, 27 points vs. Alabama Lasers Erica Wheeler, Essence 2009, 22 points vs. High Hoops Fanchon Sartor, Spartanburg Bucks, 21 points vs. Windsor Valiants Martina Ellerbe, New York Gauchos Black, 20 points vs. FBVA Orlando Comets Red Lakendra Washington, Lakeside Lady Scholars, 19 points vs. Silver Bullets NY Elite Erin Knight, FBVA Orlando Comets Red, 19 points vs. The Family

Mindi Rice is a staff writer for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously was an award-winning sportswriter at the Tacoma News Tribune and barista at Starbucks. She grew up in Seattle where she attended Roosevelt High School before graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism. Mindi can be reached at mindi@hoopgurlz.com.

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