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April 13, 2008

Boo Williams comes to a close

MORE: Boo Williams: Day Two | Boo Williams: Saturday evening | Rivals.com Hoops Tour

HAMPTON, Va. -- History repeated itself on Sunday afternoon at the Boo Williams Invitational. A familiar championship game team put it all together and claimed the coveted 17 and under trophy while a pair of Florida teams claimed the younger divisions.

BOO CLAIMS 17U TITLE

There is one thing you can always expect this time of year here in the Hampton Roads area and that is the Boo Williams AAU team playing on Sunday at their own event. The result is generally like it was today.

Boo Williams won yet another tournament title with a 77-69 win over Athletes First from Oklahoma.

The host team simply has too much firepower and too many options to deal with. On any given possession, the championship team had someone step up and make a big shot or grab an offensive board or make a tough pass or a big defensive play.

The most important player in Sunday's championship game didn't even start the game. In fact, he is was one of the least known national prospects on the team's roster.

When Athletes First star Daniel Orton was regulated to the bench with foul trouble in the first half, Boo Williams took advantage and moved the offensive attack inside the paint. As Orton, an intimidating 6-foot-10 center, sat and watched, Ricardo Ratliffe came off the bench and gave Athletes First fits.

Ratcliffe scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in a four minute stretch, breaking the game wide open. Ratcliffe finished the game with a team-high 23 points and only missed one shot all game.

Ratcliffe, a 2008 prospect and Hampton local, said he is qualified. He said he is currently being recruited by Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Old Dominion, George Mason and LaSalle. If he decides to pursue the collegiate route this year, he's certainly one of the top unsigned big men in the nation right now. If he decides on prep, his recruitment should bulk up right away. Either way, he's in a good position.

When Orton was in the game, he and Deshawn Painter traded impressive buckets to open the contest up. Painter scored on a couple of midrange jumpers in the paint. He also converted on a nice little jump hook.

Orton showed flashes of pure brilliance, with a turn-around 18 foot jumper from the left baseline and great post work against a triple team. He was a monster on the glass. In fact, when he was on the floor, Athletes First had the momentum and/or a lead.

Tristan Spurlock scored 11 points in the win and he knocked down a couple of threes in the first half. The 6-foot-7 wing does so much for this team and he can play multiple positions in the rotation. The four-star wing added five assists for the victors.

Continuing his great play was emerging guard Steven Pledger, who scored 15 points in the game. The 6-foot-2 guard did a great job in the spotlight and should see his recruitment blow up this week.

Marshawn Powell started a little slow but finished strong, doing what he always does well � crash the boards, play at the rim and get his hands dirty inside. Sophomore Andre Dawkins came off the bench for a couple of quick perimeter baskets. He's next in line with this loaded club. He and Kendall Marshall will make for a tough, tough backcourt next season. Both are really good right now, too.

Five-star Xavier Henry didn't look like himself in the championship game. And if you saw his right ankle after the game you'd understand why. The top shooting guard in the nation sprained his ankle on Friday and played through the injury all weekend. After playing five games in two days on the sprain, his foot was swollen and black and blue. His effort to play in the final was commendable.

Henry finished with 14 points, 11 coming in the second half, but his presence and physical brand of basketball was sorely missed in this one.

With Orton in foul trouble throughout the game and with Henry grimacing with nearly every movement, Terrence Boyd stepped up in a big way in the championship game.

The physical wing was impressive with his pure energy, aggressive style and constant dribble drive. The 6-foot-5 wing finished with a game high 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals in the game. He simply did everything for Athletes First and left nothing on the table. His play throughout the weekend was inspired.

Oklahoma commitment Kyle Hardrick added 11 points and eight rebounds in the defeat.

TEAM STAT CLAIMS 16U TITLE

Led by the great play of freshman Austin Rivers and a balanced attack across the board, Team STAT won the 16 and under division over the Baltimore Stars.

Rivers, a 6-foot-2 combo guard, hit a game-winning three-pointer on Saturday and continued his heroics in the semi-finals. He made a big steal and bucket late in the game against the Westchester Hawks to move on to the title game.

What does he do in the final game of the 16 and under tournament? How about lead his team in scoring, set the tone with his high IQ and calmness? Rivers was great all weekend.

He didn't do it alone though. Guys like Adam Jones stepped up when they were called upon. The 6-foot-6 forward made big plays in the title game, using his length and bounce inside.

The Baltimore Stars were led by Antonio Barton's 16 points. Tobias Harris scored 14 while C.J. Fair pitched in with 10 points in the defeat.

TEAM FLORIDA CLAIMS 15U TITLE

For a guy they call "Papa", guard Deante Saunders sure did play a lot older and wiser than someone from the class of 2011. The 5-foot-11 guard from Deland (Fla.) was outstanding in Team Florida's 64-60 win over Boo Williams to help his club claim the 15 and under tournament title.

Saunders is a jet-quick guard that showed off a great knack for scoring off the bounce. He led all scorers with 27 points in the victory and hit big three-pointer after big three-pointer in one of the best games of the entire tournament. Saunders wasn't going to let his team lose. It was a simple as that.

Saunders had help from guys like Jason Pimentel and Rod Days. Pimentel, a 6-foot-8 forward from Westport High School, had a very good game against one of the best frontlines in the 15 and under division. His defense on James McAdoo, the top overall prospect in the 15U bracket, was tremendous.

McAdoo was limited in his touches after a dominating early morning performance on Sunday. Pimentel emptied the tank in the process and showed that he was a force to be reckoned with too on both ends of the floor.

Days, a long and bouncy 6-foot-6 wing, would show flashes of amazing things to come. He will produce in bits and pieces. When it all comes together, Davis might be the team's best overall college prospect.

Boo Williams shouldn't feel too bad about the loss. Chances our this group will win a number of tournaments over the next three years. The club is stacked with prospects. While McAdoo didn't have the game he is capable of, guys like Levon Harper stepped up big.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Fuqua High School was the go-to player in the paint but he also showed off a skill set away from the basket. He's a high-major guy and should continue to climb the ladder of improvement.

Eighth grader Justin Anderson is one of the best long term prospects in the tournament. The 6-foot-5 phenom has a big time frame, big time bounce and a perimeter game that he already has high confidence in. The class of 2012 prospect will see his name in print for a long, long time.

Rivals.com will have more from the Boo Williams Invitational this week as we break down the top performers, top prospects and other news and notes from the first major grassroots event of the season.



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