The inaugural Generation Next Invitational Championships was a huge success this past weekend as teams from Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin took to the courts for three days of intense middle school hoops action.  We begin our look back at the 2012 GNIC with a look at the championship games from yesterday where Courtney Ramey, Jordan Bohannon, Connor McCaffery, and Matthew Brown were just a few of the names who stood out with exceptional performances this past weekend.

Conor Enright stole the show for Kessel Heat as the talented young guard powered his squad past Playground Elite 54-41 for the 9U Platinum Championship. Enright, at times, scored at will on his way to a game high 29 points and teammate Kimarhi Wilson was spectacular in his own right as the talented young middle school standout poured in 11 points for Kessel Heat in the win.

Playground Elite got a great performance from Ezra Stargell who played very well in his own right on his way to 12 points and Cardion Banks added a solid 9 point effort in the loss for PGE.  

Playground Elite smothered both ends of the court and eventually pulled away in the second half to take the 10U Platinum Championship 44-23 as both teams prepped for their AAU Nationals this week with solid performances at the Generation Next Invitational Championships the past few days.

Donovan Billings led the way for Playground Elite cleaning up the boards and converting second chance opportunities while also serving as a menace on the defensive end altering shots and getting his hands in the passing lanes. The talented young 4th grader finished with 11 points in impressive fashion while teammate Kylan Millianis added 9 points in the championship game for the victors.  

The Wisconsin Playground Warriors were led by Jalen Johnson who got to the rim and found open teammates using his long frame and finished with 6 points. Equally solid at times was Logan Pearson who added 6 points for PGC in the losing effort.

Playground Elite outlasted the DTA Spartans in a back and forth game to claim the 11U Platinum Championship 62-52. PGE got great production from their guards Mathew Brown and Trequon Carrington as the 1-2 perimeter punch combined for 35 of their 62 points in a stellar championship game performance by each. Brown scored early and often for Playground Elite and was able to create his own opportunities offensively as well as for his teammates on his way to a game high 20 points while Carrington scored 14 points and ran the show on both ends for Playground Elite, distributing for his teammates, getting to the rim, and picking off passes defensively, which were key late in the game.

DTA got a solid performance from Ramon Blakely who worked extremely hard on both ends and did the dirty work inside for the Spartans on his way to 11 points while Johntae Martian finished with 9 points and Rob Anderson added 9 points in the losing effort for the Spartans.

In arguably one of the most impressive performances by both a team and a player on Saturday, Ramey Basketball Club, led by Courtney Ramey (No. 3) rolled in the Platinum Championship Game of the 12U division over Meanstreets 72-52. Ramey was dynamic offensively, getting into the paint at will, dishing out assists, and drilling some perimeter shots and mid-range looks on his way to 22 points.  

Ramey wasn't the only one who stepped up in the championship as Ramey Basketball Club got a very solid performance from Antonio Burks who finished with 14 points and Ricky Guynn who added 9. Meanstreets got a very good effort out of their backcourt as Jordan Simmons dropped 14 points in the title game and and Jordan Jusevitch poured in a game high 26 points with a scintillating effort scoring inside and outside, as well as converting in transition.

In the 13U division, the Iowa Barnstormers powered their way to a gritty win in the championship over Playground Elite 36-33. Both teams struggled to score throughout the game, largely due to smothering defense on both ends of the court.  Playground Elite got nice games from Melvin Lee and Jake Bennett while the Barnstormers countered with solid efforts from Connor McCaffery and Devontae Lane.  After trailing for most of the game and shots not falling, the Barnstormers were able to rally late in the game and make a couple big plays, none bigger than the basket by John Nagel who hit a shot in the lane with 50 seconds left to give the Barnstormers the lead that they were able to hold on to.

Connor McCaffery (No. 22) led the way for the Barnstormers with 16 points while Devonte Lane chipped in with 9 points and brought tons of hustle plays and intangibles to the court as well.  Lee paced PGE with 9 points while Bennett added 8 points in the losing effort.

The Iowa Barnstormers claimed another championship in the 14U division by knocking off Playground Elite 72-65. The Barnstormers got very solid production out of their starting five, led by Jordan Bohannon (No. 23). Bohannon knocked down a few open threes and also distributed the ball very well from the point guard position. Playground Elite was always within striking distance, but could never catch up to the balanced Barnstormers. Playground Elite's physical toughness of Ammar Becar (No. 13) and Kaj Days (No. 99) helped keep Playground Elite close. Both players were terrific on the boards and often outworked the opposition for second chance points. The balanced scoring of the Barnstormers was too much as Wali Parks (No. 10), Alonzo Cole (No. 11), and Alex Henderson (No. 13) all had a big hand in the win. Parks used his athleticism to create shots, while Cole often muscled his way inside for scores, and Henderson would come off screens, slipping his way into the paint.

Bohannon led the way with 14 points along with Parks who also poured in 14 while Henderson chipped in with 13 and Cole added 12 for the champs.  Becar finished with a game high 20 points in the loss for PGE.


Stay tuned to GENERATIONNEXTBASKETBALL.COM and NY2LASPORTS.COM for continued coverage of the 2012 Generation Next Invitational Championships…