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June 11, 2012
The Green Run Stallions of Virginia Beach completed a perfect 9-0 sweep at the Fifth Annual Boo Williams Team Camp held at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, VA this past weekend. Green Run defeated the Bethel Bruins, 62-49 in the Championship after ousting Nansemond River 70-61 in the semifinals and Norview 76-66 in the quarterfinals.
Several players from last season's team that lost to Menchville in double-overtime in the Eastern Region Tournament return for Green Run as well as a couple of newcomers.
"We definitely we feel made a lot of progress this weekend," said Green Run assistant Rod Cooper, who with assistant Shane Clements coached the team the final two games while Head Coach Kenneth Harris was at a family function. Harris was on hand coaching the previous seven games, however.
Green Run was led by junior guard Tyler Blount's 21 points and four three-pointers in the Championship. Another junior, Jamaal Matin, also chipped in 13 points and three treys, and Class of 2013 point guard Lequan Thomas, nicknamed 'Laybay,' added 12 points and five assists.
"Tyler, Jamal and Laybay have been together since the beginning when Coach Harris took over," Cooper added. "These are actually our kids that have come up from future league and now they're starting to see that hard work pay off for them."
Outside shooting played a huge part in the Stallions' success throughout the weekend, and in particular in the Championship round. They knocked down eight shots from three-point range compared to only one for Bethel, which came courtesy of point guard Rakeen 'Roc' Brown.
Shaun James, Marquise Williams and Koty Buchanan, all of whom will be juniors next year for Green run, combined to chip in 12 points versus Bethel and are part of a supporting cast that continues to improve.
There's plenty to feel good about for Green Run while they prepare for next season with three starters back and a host of reserves and players who were on J.V. returning that will play significant minutes in 2012-13 and beyond.
"I think with the group we have, they're starting to understand their roles. That first five knows they've got to set the tone and if they don't then that second five we trust will come on, contribute and give us whatever we don't get out of the first group," Cooper said.
"It's always good when our second group can get an opportunity to gain some confidence, build some rapport with a few guys from that first group and get some experience against the kind of quality competition we saw here. We feel that the second unit can give us a spark at any moment's notice."
A major plus for Green Run is they managed to survive despite not being at full strength. Talented swingman Keon Buchanan, a Class of 2014 prospect, suffered a hip pointer in the team's first game on Friday night and sat out the rest of the weekend. In addition, they played four games on Saturday without Thomas and James, both of whom were at a school event.
"One of the most important things about this group is we've built that family type of relationship where we stick together no matter what. We could be down 18 or down two. It doesn't matter to them, and they stick together like brothers."
The Stallions trailed by 11 against Nansemond River in the semifinals and rallied for victory behind 22 points from Blount, 15 from Thomas and 14 by Matin.
Both losses for Nansemond River, which finished 6-2 on the weekend, came at the hands of Green Run. On Saturday night, the Stallions came from behind and beat the Warriors, 59-55. Forward Ed Drew was Nansemond River's top scorer with 22 points in the semifinal loss.
Bethel, which finished 7-2 on the weekend, got 10 points apiece from DaShawn Barton and Brandon LaRose in their Championship loss to Green Run. The Bruins edged Heritage, 74-57 in the semifinals and Peninsula District rival Phoebus 82-72 in the quarterfinals. Barton averaged over 18 points per game during the tournament, putting up a team-high 25 points in the win over Phoebus, which was led by James Daniel III's 39 points.
In the Silver Bracket Championship, the Kellam Knights topped the Deep Creek Hornets, 46-37 behind 21 points from Ramone Snowden. The Menchville Monarchs routed the Warwick Raiders, 60-39 in the Championship of the Bronze Bracket.
While the Stallions are months away from getting a chance to achieve some of their goals and the season beginning, Green Run can take comfort in the fact that previous winners of the Boo Williams Team Camp have fared mighty well during the postseason.
Last year's winner of the Team Camp, Hampton, went on to win the state title, and the year before that Phoebus was the Eastern Region Tournament runner-up and a State Playoff participant.
"This is a confidence boost and something we needed," Cooper admitted. "You want to establish some things this time of year and grow. But we've got a long way to go and there's still a lot of work to do."
Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and don't forget to listen to him on the VirginiaPreps.com Hour every Tuesday at 6PM on ESPN Radio 94.1 plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.
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