The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

March 10, 2014

Year of the Ice: WV Ice wins another title

AAU team beats Renegades to become a 3-time Biddy-Buddy champion

BECKLEY — Ice has dominated the winter in southern West Virginia. On Sunday, the West Virginia Ice completed its dominance of the Wendy’s/YMCA Biddy-Buddy All-Star Tournament.

Using its trademark pressure defense and timely standout efforts from several individuals, the Ice defeated the West Virginia Renegades 78-63 to capture the eighth-grade division championship at Woodrow Wilson High School.

The Ice was able to go out on top, capping off its Biddy-Buddy run with a third straight championship. They also won the sixth- and seventh-grade titles.

“I am very thankful to have this team,” Ice coach James Green said. “The boys keep working hard, and you see how much success we have, throughout the state and beyond.”

The Ice never trailed, although it wasn’t able to put the Renegades away until the fourth quarter. Facing pressure defense out of the gate, the Renegades were never able to get comfortable.

The Renegades stayed in the game largely because of the 3-point shooting of Travis Cook. The first three of his four straight bombs in the second quarter helped whittle a 30-20 Ice lead down to one, 30-29.

That was the closest they would get, thanks in part to their difficulty finishing baskets underneath.

“That sums it up,” Renegades coach Larry Kennedy said. “We missed foul shots. Their pressure hurt us a little bit. They are a very good team; you have to give them credit. But I’m real proud of our kids. They played hard, had a lot of fight in them and never quit.”

“That’s just how we play,” Green said of his team’s defense. “We play fast-paced, in-your-face basketball, and that gave them a couple of fits at first.”

Every time the Renegades would get close, a different player would step up for the Ice.

n A pair of long range 3-pointers by Bryce Radford helped the Ice add some distance when the Renegades pulled within 14-13 late in the first quarter.

n The ballhandling skills of division MVP Justin Phillips led to a couple of steals and baskets to quell Cook’s burst in the second.

n Phillips and Lattrell Collier combined for 11 of the team’s 17 third-quarter points.

“The last two years we have really had a complete team,” Green said. “We have 10 to 12 actual basketball players. We can take one guy out, put another guy in and not miss a beat. That’s what you need.”

One of them is big man Edgar Phillips, who took the game over in the second quarter. The Charleston resident scored his team’s first eight points of the period and was an inside force the entire game.

“Yes, he was. He’s a big ol’ body,” Green said of Phillips, who finished with 17 points. “A lot of teams we play have a hard time dealing with that big body.”

Justin Phillips had 13 points and Collier finished with nine. Ean Basham, Tayvon Cooke and Radford all scored eight.

Shane Jenkins’ 16 led the Renegades, followed by Cook with 14 and Broc Smith with 10. Jacob Ellis added nine.

The Renegades are comprised solely of players who will feed into Westside High School.

“It’s not the typical AAU team,” Kennedy said. “We’re expecting some good things there in a few years, too. I can’t even express how important (this experience) is. When you’re playing against competition like (the Biddy-Buddy) has, you’re going to get better. When you can compete, it will make you better.”

n n n

Also winning championships were the Riverside Flyers (seventh grade), Blue and Gold Storm (sixth grade), Team Air/TOGS (fifth grade) and Huntington Red (fourth grade).

The 43rd tournament will be held March 6-8, 2015.

— E-mail: gfauber@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter@GaryFauber.

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