We spent much of the last twenty-four hours in airplanes and airports, but arrived in Orlando tonight in time to cover the 17-under Championship game of the AAU Super Showcase, between the St. Louis Eagles and the Each 1 Teach 1 squads.
This was a re-match of the Nike Peach Jam final, that the Eagles won, coming from behind in the second half to win by eight. But, the crowd was oblivious of that fact and was buzzing with anticipation of a battle to be waged by four of the nation's top guards, featuring Brad Beal and Ben McLemore of the Eagles going up against Austin Rivers and Trevor Lacey at the AAU Super Showcase tonight at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. It turned into just that, but it didn't feature who you might expect, as at least for tonight Trevor Lacey and Robert McLemore were the two stars people left buzzing about.
In the early going the two squads traded buckets, as Eaglesheld a slim 15-14 lead over just under two minutes to play in the opening quarter. But, E1T1 finished the first period on a 6-0 run fueled by a jumper by Trevor Lacey and a mammoth dunk by Austin Rivers to go up 20-15 at the end of the opening period. The second period saw Lacey and Rivers score early in the quarter to open a 29-19 lead on a basket by Rivers, before the Eagles bounced back on three buckets by McLemore to close to within five, 31-26, with two minutes to go in the opening half. But, E1T1 grabbed the momentum in the final minute of the half on baskets by their dynamic backcourt duo to head to the locker room on top 36-28 at the intermission.
The second half opened with both squads exchanging baskets as E1T1 held a 41-32 lead after Lacey converted an old fashioned three point play. After a timeout, Lacey went crazy scoring seven quick points (had 12 for the quarter) to open a 50-35 advantage over the Eagles. The third period ended with E1T1 on top 56-44 with one period to go. The Eagles had one mini-run left and behind baskets by Brad Beal and 6-6 Aaron Adeoye they closed to within eight, 62-54 with 4:49 to play. But, Beal and McLemore didn't make shots down the stretch as Rivers knocked down four free throws in the final minutes to preserve a double digit margin as E1T1 won going away 77-60 over the St. Louis Eagles.
The top gun for E1T1 was Rivers who finished with 24 points, 10 of which came in the final period, as Rivers made free throws (10 for 11 from stripe), but struggled from the field hitting only 7 of 18 from the field. Their offensive star for the first three quarters was the 6-3 Lacey, who did a solid Deron Williams impersonation making excellent passes and knocking down shots (he hit 9 of 13 from the field) and finishing in traffic and out toughed his defender. He was the difference maker for the Florida in this re-match. The Eagles were led by their number two, as Ben McLemore finished with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting (including three 3-pointers). He got solid support from Beal, but the MVP of the World Games struggled from the field (5-of-18) to finish with 12 points, as did Aaron Adeoye in the loss. This time around it was E1T1 who takes home the hardware.
Unfortunately we won't get a rubber match; as the Eagles are not in this year's AAU field! So who's best? It will still go unanswered!