By Tom Robinson, NEPAElite.com
MANHEIM – Two NEPA Elite boys teams won their pools Saturday while the other two split their two games in bracket play as The Summit, a Zero Gravity event, got underway at Spooky Nook Sports.
NEPA Elite teams had a combined 7-2 record on the first day of the two-day event in Lancaster County.
A look at how each team did:
NEPA Elite 15U Dempsey
NEPA Elite won the three-team Pool D with a pair of morning victories to land a spot in Sunday afternoon’s semifinals of the 15U Chrome Black Division.
After defeating Wyoming Valley Junior Clutch-Wood, 50-25, NEPA Elite downed Empire Youth ZGXL, 56-39.
Andrew Kettel hit two 3-pointers while scoring 12 points in the first half as NEPA Elite took a 30-8 halftime lead in the opener.
Brayden Rose did the same in the second half.
NEPA Elite led by as much as 40-10.
Brody Martin joined Kettel and Rose in double figures.
Rose led the way in the second victory with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Tony Battaglia added nine points while Nate Aviles had eight and Kettel and Agapito added seven each.
Agapito also had nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
NEPA Elite did not score for the first three minutes, but then Aviles hit a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run to a 9-3 lead and the team never trailed again. Kettel and Battaglia each had a basket and an assist in the run.
Rose scored twice and Brian Dempsey hit a 3-pointer in an 11-0 run to break the last tie and open a 24-13 lead with 3:29 left in the half.
Rose is from Riverside; Kettel from Abington Heights; Martin from Scranton Prep; Battaglia from Scranton; Aviles from Dunmore; Agapito from Crestwood; and Dempsey from Seton Catholic Central in Binghamton, N.Y.
NEPA Elite 16U Tillery
NEPA Elite defeated Team New England MW ZGXL, 49-44, and New York Select Academy ZGXL, 56-39, to win Pool D and reach the 16U Chrome Black semifinals.
Brycen Martin led a balanced attack in the opener with 10 points. Robby Lucas added nine points while Pedro Lugo and Mario Matrone had eight each.
NEPA Elite took control midway through the first half of the second game, using a 16-5 run to open a 27-15 lead.
Martin is from Scranton Prep; Lucas from Abington Heights; Lugo from Scranton; and Matrone from Holy Cross.
NEPA Elite 17U Coyle
DTX ZGXL from Connecticut defeated NEPA Elite in the first round of the 17U Diamond Black Championship bracket, then held off a rally by Central PA Elite for a 56-55 win in the losers’ bracket.
Najimi George and 6-foot-5 David Melson hit five 3-pointers each to lead DTX, which went 9-for-17 from long range in the first 14:18 to open a 40-21 lead.
Chris Cornish scored 10 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and blocked 2 shots in the loss.
Connor Cranage added nine points. Oliver Almonte, who grabbed six rebounds, and Daniel Santaniello had six points each. Will Marion added four points, five rebounds and a team-high four assists.
NEPA Elite emerged victorious from a wild and physical losers’ bracket game in which both teams reached the double bonus in each half.
Marion scored a team-high 17 points along with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. His 10-footer from the left side with 52 seconds left opened a 56-51 lead and NEPA Elite held on from there.
The lead had been at 38-23 with a 12-1 run to open the second half and got back to 15 three more times, including at 46-31 with 7:37 left.
The game tightened up on a 12-point streak by Central PA Elite.
Almonte scored 14 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. Cornish scored 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, including 5 on offense. Justin Blanding scored nine points.
Cornish is from Charlotte, Fla.; Almonte from Scranton; Marion from Abington Heights; Cranage from Blue Ridge; Santaniello from Scranton Prep; Blanding from Wallenpaupack.
NEPA Elite 17U Frank
NEPA Elite lost 68-65 to All-American Valley Basketball Club in the 17U Gold Championship bracket first round, received a forfeit over Narrow Gate to advance in the losers’ bracket, then defeated Team Pennsylvania, 60-55, in a game that was not part of the bracket competition.
George Sabatini hit seven of eight shots in one stretch to finish with 14 points and 6 rebounds in the victory during the last game of the night.
Pedro Lugo scored 10 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and made 2 steals.
Demaja Dunston and Chris Ogden added eight points and three assists each. Dunston was 2-for-3 on 3-pointers.
Charlie O’Malley scored seven points, making all three of his shots from the floor and his only free throw. He also made two steals.
Sabatini is from Holy Redeemer; Lugo from Scranton; Dunston from Mid Valley; Ogden from West Scranton and O’Malley from Holy Cross.