After advancing and being runner-up in three tournaments, the Castle Knights 16s, led by Coach Kenny Pretlow won the ZG Summer Finale Championship this past weekend.
The team started out by routing Connecticut Elite CB 59 to 34, hitting twelve 3s for the game. Next up, the team took on High Rise Basketball and pulled out a 69 67 win in thriller. The Knights started out cold and could not defend the High Rise big men. At the half, the team trailed by twenty points. The second half started out the same and, with only five minutes to go, Castle was still down by twenty, 59-39. At that point, Coach P. went aggressive, pressing High Rise full court. Guards Nasir Muhammad, Siyani Arthur and Keshawn Morris caused turnover after turnover and the team came all the way back and Nasir hit a three with 30 seconds to go to give Castle the lead. After a defensive stand, the Boys came away with the victory and clinched a playoff spot.
On Sunday, the team took on Connecticut Elite KM, with a bye to the championship game on the line. The game was a back-and-forth affair, with Connecticut Elite leading at the half by ten. In the second half, Castle tightened its defense and, with three minutes to go, held a six point lead. But, the opposition was able to hit back-to-back three’s and pulled out a 61-58 win. Nevertheless, Castle moved on to the championship to challenge Pro Skills Gold.
Having played a tough earlier game, Castle started out cold and a little tired. But, the team received some strong minutes from Kenohi Davis and Kamden Vidal. At the half, Castle trailed by fifteen points. In the huddle, Keshawn Morris exhorted his teammates to pick it up because the team was not going to lose another championship. Not leaving it in the huddle, Keshawn led by example, defending Pro Skills’ best player and scoring 15 second half points. Siyani Arthur added 3 three pointers of his own and helped the lock down on defense. The MVP, however, was 5’5” Nasir Muhammad. Nasir came up with four second half steals, drew three charges and hit five three pointers. With the team down one point with 20 seconds to go, the Knights ran their out-of-bounds play to get Nasir a three pointer which he buried giving the team the lead. The Knights held on defense and, after Keshawn hit two free throws, came away with a 59-58 win!!! It was a well-earned Championship and sets the tone for the upcoming Live Period.