Eye Opener For All at the “Battle of the Borders” EventThis past weekend’s “Battle of the Borders” tournament featured some of the country’s brightest up-and-coming talent. Teams from Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., converged on the campus of The University of Illinois in Champaign to engage in fierce competitive play.
The 3rd grade championship was a nail biter with Indiana’s Region Elite taking the championship over The CU All-Stars, 32-29.
The Rising Stars 4th grade traveling team took the title home to Deerfield with a dominating performance in bracket play, capping off their weekend with a victory over LBC of Indiana.
Team Glory’s 5th grade team also carted some hardware home after finishing first in pool play and capping off bracket play with a 39-24 victory over Georgia’s Worldclass Sun Devils.
G3 Hoosiers of Indiana earned bragging rights at the 6th grade level after defeating Illinois Future in the Final Four, and Wisconsin’s BCB club in the championship.
The 7th Grade George Hill Rising stars picked up where they left off at last year’s national championship finals performance, snatching another trophy to add to their collection of awards with a 9 point victory over the always-competitive SW Jets team. The Jets are a well-balanced team and without a doubt will see huge success this upcoming summer season.
The Li-Ning Buckeyes ended their dominating tournament run with a victory over the Peoria Soldiers. The Buckeyes moved through the bracket play in each of their 4 games with victories of 10 or more points in every game.
While the kids worked hard throughout the weekend, striving to help their teams bring home championship hardware, the “Battle of the Borders” also offered an opportunity to take a break from competitive play. On Saturday the East vs. West All-Star Game allowed the event’s better players at each grade level to compete without their coaches pulling the reigns too tight. The players seemed to love the whole experience, from the personalized uniforms to the commentary over the P.A. system, to the skills challenge during halftime of each game.
The all-star games started out in record-setting fashion thanks to Maryland’s Zion Harmon. The Bethesda 3rd grader led his West stars to victory, finished the game with an amazing 47 points. He also participated in the 4th grade game as well, ultimately earning an MVP honor. The 4th, 5th, and 6th grade games, while lacking in record-setting performances, remained competitive and entertaining with players displaying off their deep shooting range, no-look passes, and engaging personalities. They definitely understood that they were participating in a special event, and often played up to the crowd drawing a huge number of spectators to observe the show.
The 7th grade game showed itself to be more competitive while not lacking in entertainment. The always-entertaining Chase Adams (Chicago) put on a dribbling exhibition for the audience, but ultimately came up short in all-star play as his East team lost by 3.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of available participants, the 8th grade stars were short on players and had to rely on many of the 7th grade all-stars to round out the teams. These guys definitely played up to the challenge and contributed another highly-competitive game that drew a large number of spectators. This final game brought an end to the tournament and resulted in a lot of satisfied fans raving that the game would be in good hands for years to come.
By Anthony Porché