Watch some of the best AAU teams in the country battle it out at the Big State Flava Jam including: DFW Elite, Essence, West Coast Premier, Arkansas Mavericks, United Basketball, East Bay Xplosion, WP Celtics, Oklahoma A-1 Premiere.
PHOTO GALLERY: Big State Flava Jam
It wasn't an easy road to the Flava Jam title game for Essence Purple -- and the Florida power ran into the well-rested host, DFW T-Jack Elite, in the finals and simply didn't have enough left in the tank to defend its 2011 championship.
Essence began the day with a tough 8:30 a.m.matchup against West Coast Premier Black, who took them down to the wire before a late burst by Ieshia Smalls gave Essence the slim 47-42 win. Meanwhile, DFW got a semifinal forfeit, and then had another advantage when Essence forward Shayla Cooper was benched for disciplinary reasons. Prior to the semifinals, Cooper had been averaging double-figures for the tournament.
In the championship game, DFW immediately went to the full court trapping press that had baffled teams all weekend. The entry pass trap was fueled by aggressive pressure applied by one of the many scrappy DFW guards and long, agile Brianna Turner.
“Defense is our mindset," said DFW head coach Daryl Horton. “The kids know to get on the floor they have to defend. We always feel like if we have one thing to hang our hat on, it’s going to be defense."
“They dig in, they harass you, they make you feel very uncomfortable,” said Essence head coach Kim Powell. “They make you speed up the game and Brianna Turner wreaked havoc because she is fast enough to defend a guard.”
And when they weren’t working the ball into the Bigs, DFW buried the hatchet with the three-pointer, sinking four in the contest.
The result was quick and sudden death for Essence as DFW jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. T-Jack only allowed Essence nine first half points and cruised to a 20-point lead at the break. Ten out of 11 players on the roster scored for DFW. Brianna Turner led all scorers with 13 points, Jada Terry chipped in eight as DFW dominated for the 50-24 win.
“This feels great, especially coming off Boo Williams this spring where we lost some really close ones”, said Horton about winning the first major tournament of the season.
If there were a tournament MVP award, it would undoubtedly have gone to Brianna Turner. The 6-3 rising junior played exceptionally well all weekend. “Brianna was great”, said Horton. “She runs the floor, she blocks shots, rebounds, makes perimeter shots, can handle the basketball and she’s just a good kid who loves to play.”
Essence, playing shorthanded and out of steam, didn’t have any players in double figures, yet Powell was still pleased with her team’s performance over the weekend. “I thought Ieshia had a phenomenal weekend and some of our younger kids, Dee Anderson and Zada Williams, showed us some things. I feel confident that we will do a lot of good things this summer.”
Division Championship Scores
Marques Jackson Gold Bracket
Pure Sweat Elite 27, North Texas Shockers 2014 National 19
Marques Jackson Silver Bracket
GSB Elite 45, St Louis Lady Monarchs 40
Marques Jackson Bronze Bracket
New Orleans Lady Blues 51, Triple D Hoops 17U 39
17U Championship Bracket
Rising Stars 17U 47, DFW Elite North Jim 22
16U Platinum Bracket
South Texas Hoyas-Blue 51, Louisiana Lightning 50
U16 Bronze Bracket
Oklahoma Select Blu 67, OK Magic White 62
15U/14U Championship Bracket
D&R Lady Blue Devils 36, Oklahoma Select White 30
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