By Tom Robinson, NEPAElite.com
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The NEPA Elite Cooper 17U boys team won two more games Thursday to reach the semifinals of the 17U Casino Division of The Hoop Group Atlantic City Jam Fest.
NEPA Elite had opened the tournament with a win Wednesday.
Including a forfeit win Sunday, the team has won six straight over the past five days.
Three wins by a total of 82 points at the Convention Center in Atlantic City have the team in Friday’s 12:45 p.m. semifinal of the 32-team bracket against SMM-1.
NEPA Elite defeated Role Model Elite, 58-35, and Philly Ballhawks, 71-59, in Thursday’s games.
Julian Pagan’s 15 points led four double-figures scorers against Role Model and he joined Mason Fedor in producing 20-point efforts against Philly.
Fedor had 26 points and 14 rebounds to lead the second win and is averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds through the three games of the tournament.
Patrick Walsh and Dane Schutter each had 12 points and 8 rebounds in Thursday’s first victory. Fedor added 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Joe Macciocco dished out six assists while Pagan and Justin Love had four each.
Fedor’s big game against the Ballhawks was supplemented by Pagan’s scoring and Schutter’s double-double.
Pagan also had six assists.
Schutter contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Patrick Walsh grabbed seven rebounds and Robby Lucas had five.
Macciocco had six assists and Love four.
Brycen Martin had six points.
Schutter scored five points and Pagan four in the last 2:38 to put the game away.
Philly had scored five quick points to close within 62-54 with 3:31 left.
Lucas got to an offensive rebound and fed Schutter for a three-point play with 2:38 left to stop the Ballhawks momentum.
Following a Philly three-point play, Pagan scored four points in eight seconds, using a steal after one basket to break away for another.
Philly called timeout after scoring to get back within 10 with 34.5 seconds left, but Schutter’s basket ended the scoring.
Fedor, Walsh and Lucas are from Abington Heights. Pagan and Love are from Pocono Mountain West. Schutter is from Wyoming Area and Macciocco is from Old Forge.
The only NEPA Elite loss by its two 17-year-old boys teams came in overtime Thursday, leaving those two teams a combined 6-1 at the event.
A recap of the other NEPA Elite teams from Thursday:
NEPA Elite Coyle 17U
Mikey Cumbo’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer forced overtime, but Pro Level Titans-King recovered to knock NEPA Elite Coyle 17U out of the HGSL 3 Championship bracket in the second round with a 75-72, overtime victory.
NEPA Elite came back to defeat 6th Man Warriors HGSL, 72-63, to advance in a losers’ bracket where it will complete its tournament at 12:45 Friday.
Cumbo scored 22 points against Pro Level, putting up 13 in the first half, then helping pull NEPA Elite back from a five-point deficit in the final minute.
First, Cumbo scrambled to tip a loose offensive rebound to Ben Chilson, who finished with a dunk to cut the Titans lead to 69-66.
After the Titans missed a free throw, NEPA Elite had 20 seconds to try to go for the tie.
The Titans repeatedly shut down attempts to get off a 3-pointer until Cumbo put up a 22-footer over two defenders and drained it with a second left to force overtime.
Cumbo scored the team’s only overtime basket in the Elam Ending overtime, which is untimed with the first team to score five points winning.
NEPA Elite had one shot at the potential game-winner before Pro Level ended the game on a drive on the next possession.
Cumbo was 7-for-10 from the floor, 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and 6-for-6 from the line. He also led the team in rebounds (nine) and steals (two).
Will Marion added 14 points while Ben Chilson had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
Gabe Gonzales had a team-high five assists.
NEPA Elite shook off a 10-0 start by 6th Man Warriors in one of two four-team brackets for the teams that went out in the second round of the 32-team bracket.
The teams combined to shoot 25-for-43 (58.1 percent) on 3-pointers, led by a Chilson outburst that wiped out the early deficit.
The Warriors went 8-for-9 on 3-pointers in the first half and 10-for-16 in the game.
Chilson made five straight in a 6½-minute stretch that turned a 12-4 deficit into a 26-21 lead. He finished 6-for-7 from long range with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, all team-leading totals.
Will Marion, who added 15 points, was 3-for-5 on 3-pointers while Eli Yusavage was 2-for-3 as part of the team’s 15-for-27 effort.
Jalik Nicholls scored 13 points.
Yusavage and Cumbo matched Chilson’s four assists to share the team lead.
Marion grabbed five rebounds.
The five lead changes included a running 3-pointer at the buzzer by Danny Nemitz to put NEPA Elite up 36-34 at halftime.
NEPA Elite went ahead to stay on the first of two straight 3-pointers by Marion early in the second half.
Chilson and Cumbo each hit 3-pointers in an 8-0 streak to the game’s biggest lead, 70-58, with 2:12 left.
Marion and Nealon play at Abington Heights. Cumbo is from Dallas, Chilson is from Tunkhannock, Gonzales from Holy Cross, Yusavage from Valley View and Nemitz from Mid Valley. Nicholls, formerly from Holy Cross, now lives in North Carolina.
NEPA Elite Joyce 16U
The NEPA Elite Joyce 16U team posted its first win of the event in a night game at Stockton University, beating Penn Warriors HGSL, 75-68.
Earlier in the day, NEPA Elite had lost to New Jersey Roadrunners HGSL, 61-37, in a losers’ bracket game of the 16U HGSL Division.
The high-scoring response at night was the result of a 1-2-2 press speeding up the game and the team shooting well from 3-point range.
NEPA Elite 15U
NEPA Elite dropped two games in the 15U HGSL Division losers’ bracket, falling to DMV Rebels Blue, 60-36, and New Jersey Panthers HGSL, 55-44.
Marc Jackett had 12 points to lead the team against DMV, then Demaja Dunston and Eryan Silva had 9 each in the loss to New Jersey.
Aidan Smola had eight points and two assists in the first game.
Mario Matrone had five points and four offensive rebounds, James Pappas had five points and two offensive rebounds and Silva had four points.
Pappas had eight points, four rebounds and two assists in the second game. Jackett had seven points, five rebounds and a block. Matrone had six points and three rebounds.
Matrone and Pappas are from Scranton Prep. Jackett is from Wyoming Seminary, Silva from Pocono Mountain West, Dunston from Mid Valley and Smola from Valley View.