LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Bet no one could have predicted that Monday's championship game of the AAU Super Showcase presented by Champion (ESPNU, 7:30 p.m. ET) would pair Team Takeover of Maryland and Each One Teach One of Florida.
The teams took different roads to the final. Team Takeover rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit to beat Houston Hoops 63-58. Takeover used a 17-6 run in the first 5½ minutes of the fourth quarter to clinch it. Takeover, which made 13 of 19 free throws in the fourth quarter, received a combined 32 points from DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) teammates Jerian Grant (19 points) and Mikael Hopkins (13).
In the first semifinal, Each One Teach One needed overtime to hold off Rising Stars of Illinois 74-73. California-bound Alex Rossi (20 points), who attends New Trier (Winnetka, Ill.), forced overtime by drilling a fadeaway 25-foot jump at the buzzer to tie the score at 65.
Austin Rivers, an elite rising junior from Winter Park, Fla., and a Florida recruit, topped all scorers with 32 points, making seven 3-pointers and scoring all nine of Each One Teach One's extra-session points.
Each One Teach One originally was scheduled to appear in a made-for-TV game on Monday at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. The schedule was amended once the Florida squad advanced to the Super Showcase final. Instead, Team Final (Philadelphia) will face the Albany (N.Y.) City Rocks at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU, with the final to follow.
Powerhouse club teams such as All-Ohio Red, New York Gauchos (Albany, N.Y.) and Team Final were eliminated in bracket play or the playoffs, clearing the way for two improbable finalists.
The surprise team of the tournament was the New Jersey Celtics, composed solely of players from St. Patrick High in Elizabeth, N.J. The team's top player and ESPNU No. 1-rated junior, Michael Gilchrist, played for Team Final in the round of 16 game against the Celtics, and he scored 13 points against his high school teammates.
The Celtics reached the quarterfinals thanks in large part to the play of senior guard Kyrie Irving, who scored 37 points and made all 20 of his free throw attempts. Backcourt mate Kevin Boyle Jr. struck for 28, including the tying 35-footer as regulation time expired in an 87-84 overtime victory over Team Final.
Christopher Lawlor has covered high school sports for more than 20 years, most recently with USA Today, where he was the head preps writer responsible for national high school rankings in football, baseball, and boys' and girls' basketball. He also worked for Scholastic Coach magazine, for which he ran the Gatorade national player of the year program for nine years. Lawlor, a New Jersey resident, grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University.