Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Team Melo’s Magnificent Championship Run Comes Just Short – Still Brings Home Hardware to the DMV

"....I saw something special from this group this weekend and that was that they didn’t want to let each other down" Said Coach Francis


COLUMBUS, OHIO – The 2020 Team Melo / Terror Squad had a riveting weekend competing in the NYBL National Championship – showing why they have long been considered one of the top teams in the nation.
Arriving to Ohio the talented bunch had claimed the title in every single tournament or league that they entered in the 2014/2015 season, except for one which was lost on a last second buzzer beater.  Confident and poised the group realized this would be one of its biggest challenges on the season.
Prior to game one the players made a commitment to play each possession and every game for each other, to go beyond the framework of team and to operate as a family.  The results were devastating to the competition as they opened play with a dominating performance in the round of 28 to advance to the Sweet 16.
In the Sweet 16, Melo was pitted against Canada Drive who upset the favorite Team Felton by double figures in the previous round.  The Canadian upstarts came in on a high but any hope of victory was quickly put to rest as Team Melo continued to click on all cylinders in route to a 23-point drubbing.   

In each of the first two games Melo looked to be peaking at the right time; after a 72-5 start to the season this is saying a lot about the focus and determination of the team.  A team who through the first two games boasted 6 to 7 players in doubles figures in each of the contest.  With a roster of many of the nation’s top players – playing in this manner made them exceptionally hard to contain let along stop.

 As the evening’s Elite 8 game drew closer; the intensity could be felt in the air as Team IZOD/Sports U prepared to face Team Melo with a chance to advance to the final four on the line.  IZOD jumped out to a 17-12 lead behind the shooting of Qudiar Manari and Richie Greavis; but Melo weathered the storm taking a 4-point lead into the half.  After the half the lead ranged from 6 to 10 for Melo as they controlled the pace of the game until IZOD made one last at the start of the 4th to cut the lead to 3-points 44-41.  Melo’s clutch gene kicked in leading to a 6-0 run and ultimately control of the game as they waltzed into the Final 4 behind their 58-47 victory over IZOD.

Waiting for the Melo squad in the Final 4 was the defending NYBL Champion and national top 5 team West Coast Stars led by top ranked 6’8 Jason Harris.  In what could possibly be labeled as the game of the weekend the two Goliaths battled from tip to buzzer.  Melo put on a shooting display throughout the game that allowed them to answer any run put on by WCAC going 8-14 from 3-point range and shooting 16-21 from the charity stripe.  Again everyone contributed to the win both offensively and defensively where Melo used a collapsing defense to keep Harris off balance.   

Down the stretch Melo maintained a 3 to 5 point lead with WCA cutting the lead to 64-61 with 16.6 remaining on the clock. Melo who looked to be attempting to foul intentionally to avoid the 3-point attempt caused a turnover with under a second remaining in the game, went to the line knocked down a FT and the rest was academic – putting Melo into the long awaited Championship game against their fellow NIKE brothers from the west coast; the reigning AAU National Champions Oakland Soldiers.

Team Melo receives instruction in route to 2nd place finish in Columbus, OH
In the Championship game it opened with each team throwing round houses with mini-runs of their own ending the first quarter tied 17-17.  The slugfest continued as each possession was contested and the players became testy with each other.  Soldiers looked to be in trouble as both superstars Kyree Walker and Shemar Marrow battled foul trouble.  Melo who entered the bonus early in the 2nd quarter wasn’t able to take full advantage and enter the half down 33-30.  

Coming out of half Melo knocked down a 3-pointer from the leftwing to tie it up 33-33; but immediately went ice cold and sustained a 9-0 run putting them down 42-33 a deficit they were not able to recovery from as they entered the 4th down 12.  The Solders spread the floor and knocked down their FT’s to secure the win – leaving the DMV’s own Terror Squad who represented the area and Team Melo to fullest finishing second in the most competitive league in the country.
Melo’s Headman, Coach Francis stated; “the team showed confidence and believed in each other all weekend long – they trusted me and were coachable, when this group plays and operates like that there's never been a moment where I’ve doubted them. I saw something special from this group this weekend and that was that they didn’t want to let each other down; it wasn’t about points, minutes, highlights - nothing.. it was about winning at the end of the day we played perfect basketball for 18.5 of 20 quarters, I couldn’t be any prouder of these young men.

Melo’s NYBL Championship Runner-Up Roster

Jordan Toles
Cameron Byers
AJ Hoggard
Tyler Brelsford
Montez McNeil
Jeremy Roach
Ryan Conway
Jenkins Dormu
Justin Graham* (injured) 

Corey Barns* (injured)

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