The annual NY2LA Sports Invitational resumed on Saturday from Homestead High School in Mequon and featured a host of thrilling games, including a down-the-wire contest in the 17U Platinum bracket between Indiana Faith 2018 and Playground Elite as both team got big games from several players including a lights-out shooting from Playground’s Quincy Anderson.

TOP PERFORMERS
Quincy Anderson — 2018 — SG — Playground Elite

A left-hander with a smooth, effortless 3-point stroke, Anderson had a heckuva final sequence of plays to cap a Saturday night game against Indiana Faith 2018. It all started when he splashed home his fifth 3-pointer of the game to erase a two-point lead and give Playground a 56-55 lead with 1:30 remaining, then on the very next possession came up with a crucial steal and was fouled going in for a lay-up. His two free throws gave PE a 58-55 lead. Anderson followed with another 3, and came up with a tough defensive rebound and PE held on to a 61-55 win. He finished with six 3-pointers and 20 points.

Tyon Hughes — 2019 — G — Larry Hughes
Hughes is a long, rangy 6’3 forward that likes to operate out of the high post. He is at his best defensively and in transition where he uses good anticipation and athleticism to pick off sloppy passes and turn them into easy buckets at the other end. Hughes had several impressive finishers in traffic against the Wisconsin Shooters on Saturday as he uses terrific body control to make difficult shots look easy. Hit a pair of free throws with 9.8 seconds remaining to give his team a one-point win over the Wisconsin Shooters on Saturday and finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Jayden Johnson — 2020 — F — Fundamental U 2020
Although he scored just seven points, Johnson hit what might have been the biggest shot we saw on Saturday, canning a contested corner 3 as time expired in overtime to give Fundamental U a 41-38 win over the Wisconsin Swing in the 16U Platinum bracket. Fundamental U is a squad made up exclusively of 2020 players who are all playing up an age level this weekend. Johnson is a 6’5 wing type player with a strong build and an all-around game.

Gacoby Jones Jr. — 2018 — PG — Playground Elite 
One of the better point guards in the 17U field this weekend, Jones had one of the day’s top defensive plays in a hard-fought win over Indian Faith when he stuffed a one-handed dunk attempt on a fast break at the rim. At the offensive end Jones is tough to contain and keep out of the paint where he is a terrific finisher. He finished with 13 points as PE advanced in the Platinum bracket Saturday night.

Martin Macenis — 2019 — SF — ET21 Buckeyes
Macenis had a day in an early afternoon game on Saturday against the Wisconsin Dynasty as he went for 29 points, 23 of which came in the first half when the game was still in doubt. An athletic wing player with good size at 6’5, Macenis showed there wasn’t much he can’t do on Saturday. He is tough in transition, can shoot the 3, handle the ball and has a nice mid-range jumper. And … he made several nice passes, finding open teammates for open looks.

Jalen Newsom — 2018 — SG — Indiana Faith 2018
A strong, physical 6’3, 176-pound shooting guard, Newsom is a terrific outside shooter who does a good job setting up screens and freeing himself for open shots. The Ben Davis product opened Saturday night’s showdown against Playground Elite on fire but cooled off late in the first half. He had three 3-pointers and 11 points at the half against PE and finished with 21 in a hard-fought loss.

Chase Robinson — 2019 — G — Made Men
Anderson is a tough as nails competitor at both ends of the floor, Robinson was a handful for the Kessel Heat Black to contain in bracket play Saturday afternoon as the 6’0 guard went for 16 points and led his team in rebounding with seven. Robinson is tough to contain off the bounce and can get all the way to the bucket.

Liam Robbins — 2017 — C — Quad City Elite
Even though his team seemingly ran its offense around him instead of through him, Robbins still managed to have a big impact on Saturday’s game against the Illinois Fastbreak. His team wasn’t able to get him the ball much in the post but he didn’t let that slow him down, finding ways to be active and find the ball. Robbins had seven rebounds in the first half, including a tip-in at the buzzer and had seven points. A legit 7-footer, Robbins has good hands a nice feel for post play.

Morgan Taylor — 2018 — G — Illinois Fastbreak
A 6’3 guard, Taylor is a nightmare attacking the bucket, hanging in the air and making tough chances look easy. He has an explosive first step and is tough for opponents to keep out of the lane. He is also relentless on the boards, hauling in xx rebounds, and dropped off several nice passes as well. 

STOCK BOOSTERS
Zachary Herbert — 2019 — F — Wisconsin Shooters

Listed at 6’4, Herbert is an undersized forward type that had a lot of success around the basket against Larry Hughes on Saturday, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Charles Hoehne IV — 2019 — F — Made Men
A mobile and active big, Hoehne showed the ability to score in the paint and around the basket as well as play on the perimeter and face up and attack off the bounce a little. Also a good rebounder and presence defensively in the paint, Hoehne had nine points and nine rebounds in a two-point loss to Kessel Heat Black.

L Wesley Hooker III — 2019 — SF — Kessel Heat Black
Kid is an athlete. At just 6’2, Black is among the better athletes you’ll see in the 16U division this weekend in Milwaukee. He does much of his offensive damage in the paint and nearly threw down an alley-oop dunk on a nice pick-and-roll set up late in Friday’s game against Made Men. He finished with just six points, but made numerous big plays at the defensive end and was above the rim all afternoon long snatching rebounds as he finished with a game-high 10 to help Kessel hold on in a hard-fought 52-50 win over Made Men. 

Gunnar Nortman — 2019 — SG — Wisconsin Swing
A consummate glue guy type player that does a little bit of everything well. Plays tough, hard-nosed defense, moves well without the ball on offense and is all over the boards for a guard, hauling in a game-high 10 rebounds in a Saturday loss to Fundamental U 2020. Nortman can shoot from the outside a little, making a 3 in that contest.

Deng Reng — 2019 — F — ET21 Buckeyes
His play on Saturday was largely overshadowed by Macenis, but Reng is a solid all-around performer with a long, athletic 6’6 frame and a versatile skill set. He had 11 points and six rebounds in a runaway win over Wisconsin Dynasty and showed an all-around game as he handled the ball, rebounded, defended all over the court and ran the floor well in transition.

Marlon Ruffin — 2018 — F — Playground Elite
Ruffin is a bring-your-lunch pail type player who never stops battling or working hard. He is tough under the bucket where he bulled his way for several buckets, but can also step out and knock down outside shots and beat his man all the way to the basket off the dribble.  He had 15 to help Playground Elite to a thrilling win over Indiana Faith in one of the day’s premier games.

Luke Scheffers — 2020 — PG — Fundamental U 2020
He’s a smart, heady point guard that works hard and competes at both ends of the floor. Scheffers controls the tempo, doesn’t turn the ball over and gets a young team into its offense. He also has a nice pull-up game off the dribble and was able to stick several mid-range jumpers in the games we watched on Saturday.

Samuel Skaggs — 2018 — PG — MBA Select Indy
Skaggs had a terrific performance Saturday afternoon for MBA Select in a win over Wisconsin Dynasty. He made four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points total in the contest. He is a smart, heady guard who does a good job handling the ball and leading his team and mixes in a nice outside shooting stroke.

Alex Timmerman — 2020 — C — Fundamental U 2020
You don’t see many 6’9 freshman but Timmerman is just that with a big, strong build. He has good hands and a soft shooting touch around the basket. Timmerman also showed off the ability to shoot from the outside as he stuck a 3 in an overtime win against the Wisconsin Swing on Saturday.

Davion Williford — 2019 — PG — Larry Hughes
Is at his best in an uptempo game where he is tough to contain in transition. An athletic, 6’3 guard Williford scored a host of easy buckets on Saturday against the Wisconsin Shooters, going for 10 points in the first half. He plays hard at the defensive end of the court and helped Larry Hughes force several turnovers and convert easy buckets.