By Tom Robinson, NEPAElite.com
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Mikey Cumbo erased the last two NEPA Elite Coyle 17U boys team deficits and broke the last tie with Mason Elite DC.
When Cumbo was done with his scoring outburst in the game’s final five minutes, he had a team-high 22 points and NEPA Elite had a 68-60 victory in its final game at The Hoop Group Atlantic City Jam Fest.
In the last two weekends, the Coyle team has gone a combined 6-2 with the losses coming in overtime and when a shot at the winner in the final seconds would not fall.
After winning four of five at the Convention Center, the team – and the rest of the NEPA Elite boys — are right back in action Saturday in another Hoop Group event, Summer Jam Fest at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim.
“I think our guys are really jelling,” coach Brian Coyle said. “It’s showing on both ends of the floor.
“It carried over defensively from the last tournament.”
Cumbo made sure NEPA Elite took momentum with it as it continued its road journey.
The rising junior from Dallas scored 13 of the first 15 points in a game-ending, 17-3 run.
Will Marion, who finished with 18 points, hit three straight 3-pointers early in the game and Cumbo made four in a row in the last nine minutes.
Cumbo’s first 3-pointer gave NEPA Elite its first lead of the second half.
Then, he made back-to-back 3s for a 57-57 tie and another for a 60-58 lead.
“We were kind of in a tight game there, so I knew I needed to come off the bench and give us more,” said Cumbo, who was 8-for-12 from long range over the last three games. “It was a great win by the team.”
Mason Elite answered to force the last tie before Cumbo hit a 12-footer in the lane and NEPA Elite did not give up another point.
Ryan Nealon came up with a steal and Jalik Nicholls finished with a putback at the other end.
Marion grabbed a rebound and made a long lead pass for a Cumbo layup.
Cumbo had a chance to add to his scoring spree when he moved into the lane with 40 seconds left, but he dished off to Ben Chilson for an easier basket to close the scoring.
Chilson finished with 10 points.
Nicholls had nine points and six rebounds.
Marion shared the rebounding lead with Nicholls and led the team with five assists and three steals.
NEPA Elite finished the five-game tournament at 44.1 percent from 3-point range on 52-for-118 shooting.
“They’re playing with a great rhythm as a unit on offense,” Coyle said. “We’ve been preaching this whole year, working until we get the highest percentage shot.
Chilson (12-for-23), Ryan Nealon (10-for-19) and Cumbo (9-for-17) all hit better than 50 percent. Marion led the team with 13 made 3-pointers and was also above 50 percent until missing his last five and still winding up at 48.1 percent on 27 attempts.
“These guys have been doing a great job,” Coyle said. “They’re very high IQ guys and they’re searching for the shots and what’s its doing is dismantling defenses. It gets exhausting for the defenses. Sometimes, we move the ball for 25 seconds then get a wide-open shot.
“Its two things. Great shot selection, searching to find that shot. Then, we’re shooting with wide-open space and we have a bunch of great shooters. What I like most about it is I feel like we’re taking turns throughout the game – Ben has four in a row, Will has three in a row, Cumbo has four in a row.”
Marion and Nealon are from Abington Heights. Chilson is from Tunkhannock. Nicholls is from North Carolina.
Results for the other NEPA Elite boys teams Friday:
NEPA Elite Cooper 17U
The NEPA Elite Cooper 17U team has also lost just once in each of the last two weekends.
That loss came, 61-44, to eventual champion SMM-1 (Strong Mature Minds) in the semifinals of the 17U Casino Division, a 32-team bracket.
NEPA Elite led until SMM-1 scored the last six points of the first half for a 27-26 lead at the break. The team from New Castle, Del. then controlled the second half.
Brycen Martin accounted for half the NEPA Elite second-half scoring with three 3-pointers to finish with 11 points.
Dane Schutter had 8 of his 10 points in the first half, including the basket that created the 26-21 lead with 1:17 left in the half.
Mason Fedor added nine points.
Fedor, Joe Macciocco and Patrick Walsh all hit 3-pointers in the first half when Macciocco and Walsh each scored their five points.
Fedor and Walsh are from Abington Heights. Martin is from Scranton Prep, Schutter from Wyoming Area and Macciocco from Old Forge.
NEPA Elite Joyce 16U
TNBA Select moved ahead with a seven-point streak late in the first half and expanded its lead throughout the second half to defeat the NEPA Elite Joyce 16U team, 64-46, in a 16U HGSL Division losers’ bracket game.
Coming off a Thursday night win, NEPA Elite used 12 points by Ricky Vinansky to lead by as many as 5 points while in front for most of the first 12 minutes.
TNBA took a 28-22 lead with its seven-point streak. After the teams traded scores to end the half, TNBA added a 3-pointer to open the second half and never allowed NEPA Elite closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Vinansky, from Mid Valley, finished with 18 points.
Brycen Martin made his first three 3-point attempts and finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
Jalik Nicholls added eight points and seven rebounds.
NEPA Elite 15U
The NEPA Elite 15U team put together its highest-scoring effort of the tournament, but fell to New York Lightning-845, 70-63, in a 15U HGSL Division losers’ bracket game.
Marc Jackett led four players in double figures with 15 points.
Mario Matrone had 12 points and 4 rebounds.
Demaja Dunston and Jake Skoff scored 10 points each.
James Pappas added six points and three assists.
Matrone, Skoff and Pappas are from Scranton Prep. Jackett is from Wyoming Seminary while Dunston is from Mid Valley.