The 6th Grade/12U Division has a ton of talent up and down the rosters for the teams competing in the Championships starting Friday. Several young players have competed terrifically throughout their first couple sessions of Generation Next Basketball Association play and thus have their teams in a good position to make a run when they hit the courts this weekend. Nebraska Hoops and WI United hold undefeated records going in, but how long can they stay that way, while others like the Playground Warriors, Team Sizzle and more will certainly make their push early and often to get where they want to be at the finish. With young talent like Jalen Suggs of Team Sizzle, Donovan Billings of WI United, Jalen Johnson of WI Playground Warriors, Austin Andrews of Net Gain Sports, Maxwell Pope of Nebraska Hoops Elite, etc. all with their sight sets on championship hardware this weekend the 6th grade GNBA Championships are must watch basketball action. Here’s a 6th grade preview of the opening night matchups and what to look for in each game at Homestead High School on Friday night…
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2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 5TH GRADE OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 6TH GRADE OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 7TH GRADE OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW
2014 GNBA CHAMPIONSHIPS – 8TH GRADE OPENING NIGHT PREVIEW
WI PLAYGROUND WARRIORS (8-0) vs. WI SWING (0-8)
FRIDAY - 6:00PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 2
WI Swing works extremely hard and will most certainly come to play with energy Friday night as they face off against the probably the top team in the 6th grade bracket. Jacob May and his teammates will have to shoot the ball really well to have a shot, but PGC runs a deep lineup that averaged 55+ points per contest. Jalen Johnson has been steady per usual out on the court with 11.6 ppg and 5.4 rebounds, and others like Jordan Davis and Alex Martzahl have had good campaigns in the league also.
TEAM SIZZLE (6-2) vs. MILWAUKEE SPARTANS (2-6)
FRIDAY - 7:15PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 2
Sizzle is likely the favorite here as they have some really nice players on their squad that work well together. They play a fast-paced game that gets a lot of shots up, but does so with control, likely a result of the leadership from their star guard, Jalen Suggs who is averaging an extraordinary 22 points and 9 1/2 rebounds per game and can beat opponents from just about anywhere on the floor. Cole Ewald also gave Sizzle a little sizzle during Session 4, while others like Terry Lockett have been consistent throughout the league. The Spartans will have to have incredible contributions from players like Kaleim Taylor and Amani Glosson who have showed some flashes in previous games.
RAY ALLEN SELECT (6-2) vs. IOWA BARNSTORMERS (5-3)
FRIDAY - 7:15PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 3
The Barnstormers are looking to come in on RAS’s turf and steal one from them to advance in the top 6th grade bracket. They will do so behind the play from Treyton Hurt (11 ppg, 8.6 rpg) who has been consistently outstanding for the tough Iowa squad, who has also gotten good contributions from players like Calvin Harris, AJ Coons and others. On the flip side, RAS is near home and have been steady throughout. They get their work done with a lot of balance across the lineup offensively and excellent defensive effort, but Sam McGrath and Lucas Finnessy have put together some strong efforts over the 8-game course already. This could shape up to be one of the better opening night contests.
FUTURE ELITE (1-7) vs. NET GAIN SPORTS (7-1)
FRIDAY - 7:15PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 5
Net Gain has been a force to be reckoned with in the first 8 games and will try to carry their momentum into the Championships as they meet up with Future Elite from the Eastern Conference Friday night. Kaleb Naylor and Mikal Ashley are two of the leading scorers for Future Elite, with Naylor also averaging a whopping 8.8 rebounds per game, and they will try to pick up their teammates to make a good run at derailing NGS’s title shot. In the meantime, expect Net Gain to come out with a lot of fire and heart Friday night to get the job done behind standouts like Caleb Druvenga (13.2 ppg), Austin Andrews (10.6 ppg, 9.9 rpg), along with emerging players like Dawson Garcia and Drake Dobbs who bring some heat to the court.
ET12 BUCKEYES (3-5) vs. KINGDOM HOOPS ELITE (5-3)
FRIDAY - 7:15PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 6
This is expected to be another good game as ET12 steps in as a slight underdog in the game following a 3-5 start in the league. However, it is a new season so to speak and new opportunities as they square up with a solid Kingdom Hoops team. Markus Becton and Jake Brandolino are both going to be looked at to lead the way for the Buckeyes, but Kingdom has some studs of its own they’re bringing along. Jai Mukraj has been a power scoring and rebounding the basketball for Kingdom, Bowen Born has come up nicely alongside him and others are set in their roles where they could make a push for a title if they can escape the first round.
WI UNITED (8-0) vs. YANDERS LAW (1-7)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 2
The entire field has a difficult road in front of them as WI United has pretty much breezed through the competition thus far with their athleticism, skill and team camaraderie. The group has been playing together a long while and young stars like Donovan Billings (12.5 ppg, 10 rpg), Javeon Tolliver, Reece Beekman and more are thirsty for another championship and don’t plan to let Yanders Law stop them in their quest. Andrew Jones and company for Yanders though will do what they can to give United a run though with a lot of effort defensively and playing smart on offense.
IL RISING STARS (2-6) vs. NEBRASKA HOOPS ELITE (8-0)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 3
Nebraska Hoops may be a team who can give United a run for its money, but they will first have to fight through a pesky and gritty Rising Stars squadron. One of the premier scorers in the GNBA, Dominick Martinelli powers the Rising Stars group and will look for help from teammates like Joe Shapino and Tommy Mlalenovic to take off some pressure. However, Nebraska’s quad core of Maxwell Polk (18 ppg), Jakobe Coles (17 ppg, 8 rpg), Latrell Wrightsell (16 ppg) and David Moreano (13 ppg, 10 rpg) is just about as good as it gets, helping to combine for more than 71 points per game as a team that will be very difficult for any opponent to combat.
WI SHOOTERS (5-3) vs. KC POWERGROUP (5-3)
FRIDAY - 8:30PM - HOMESTEAD - COURT 6
These two 5-3 teams meet up right away late Friday night for the right to advance towards championship hopes. The Shooters have a couple solid pieces to the puzzle offensively in Declan Ciurlik (12 points and 9 rebounds per game) - who also controls the boards exceptionally, while Cole Schneider, Jack Hermes and Chrys Stringfellow make-up a solid trio in support. Yet, KC PowerGroup has a busy group as well and are hungry to rack up another victory to start the Championships as Jaden Moore leads the pack with 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest currently, and teammates like Miekyah Thomas, Logan Skeens and Khayden Hooks having elevated their play throughout the league. This game is set to bring some heat at the end of the first night.