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New York USBA 18 Named Top Dogs in Bean Town

Ten squads entered the madness known as the Juniors division. After Round Robin, the top 6 teams earned byes, while the bottom 4 teams had to play wild card games to advance into the Quarters. The NY CASE Cougars moved on in the first wild card, defeating the Philly Rising Suns 29-20 despite double digits from Daniel Chau. In the second wild card game, it was an all-Toronto affair as CCYAA faced the Downtown Raiders. CCYAA downed the Raiders 43-36.

In the Quarterfinals, the #1 seeded NY USAB Warriors 18 used a “Box & 1” defense to defeat Toronto CCYAA 37-21. Thomas Cui had 8 and Mitchell Cheung had 6. The best game of the round looked to be the #4/#5 game between NY United East and the Chicago Dragons Jr. United East had been using their speed to their advantage as their full court press and sheer hustle had put them in the mix of contenders. But the Dragons were well prepared and picked apart the gaps in the press by spreading the court correctly and making the safe pass. Anthony Chan had 11 in his team’s 44-32 victory. Big man Eddie Zheng led his NY Young Life Rockits to a 31-29 nailbiter over the improved Montreal MMAC 18’s. Finally in the round, the Boston Knights Juniors won by the skin of their teeth over the surprisingly good NY CASE Cougars, 39-35. Korey Mui had 16 and running mate Ray Yang was solid with 7.

The first Semifinal was NY USAB v/s the Chicago Dragons 18. Chicago’s Anthony Chan was tearing up USAB to the tune of 17 points from everywhere on the court. His teammates were singing sweet string music, as they tickled the twine 5 times from beyond the arc. But USAB went on a run with about 10 minutes to go, pushing the lead to about 20 and they cruised from there. NY won 56-38. The other Semifinal game was a close one, as Korey Mui (23 pts, 3 treys) was a young man who put an entire team on his shoulders in this 41-38 upset.

The Championship game between the USAB Warriors and the Knights was played in front of a curious audience. Most spectators had never seen the Knights play, and were curious how they would fare against one of the powerhouse teams of the NACBA. Although this may not have been one of the best USAB teams ever, the kids still wore the USAB jersey and everyone knows that you have to be pretty special if you’re pulling one of these over your head. Talented kids like Jeffrey Chan, Thomas Cui, Russell Huang, and rookie Matt Xie could play on any USAB Warriors team, so it was still a formidable lineup. For Boston, 6-6 C James Huang, 6-3 swingman Korey Mui, and lightning quick G Ray Yang were the headliners. USAB rookie coach Daniel Ng (a former All-NACBA selection himself in his glory days) decided to make his boys play like men if they wanted to earn a coveted Championship ring. Ng instructed his players to play tough man to man defense against the quicker and taller Knights. The decision might have been questionable, as the Knights were clearly the more explosive squad and could get to the hoop against the slower USAB players. But it also forced the less experienced Boston guards to make pressure decisions early on in this bright lights game. A couple of crucial turnovers proved that Ng was right in his assessment. At the other end, Boston was forced to also to go man as they were trailing and USAB was playing the drive and dish game against their zone. Once NYC saw the man defense, they went to the high pick and roll with J Chan and Russell Huang. The Stockton/Malone play was effective and Greg Hsu was hitting his jumpers whenever Chan dished the basketball his way. USAB got a small lead and then did their usual 4 corners smallball type thing with no turnovers and smart shots. MVP Jeffrey Chan put the trophy on ice with his free throws, and the Warriors were champions 49-40. Cheers to NY USAB!

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