SALEM, OR: Seattle Rotary (boys) and Tree of Hope Pacific (girls) won the final two spots to compete for the Jr. NBA World Championship, Sunday. Each team earned a trip to Orlando, Florida from August 7-12, to compete against players and teams from across the world.
Seattle Rotary emerged victorious in a well contested matchup with Alaska Tru Game. Seattle fell behind by in the first quarter. The rest of the game was a different story. Tremaine Guidry and Elijah Johnson put the team on their backs to pull even with five minutes to go in the 4th. The game stayed tight until the final two minutes in a sequence that saw Alaska miss two wide open three point attempts. Seattle converted their opportunity to extend their lead and finished with a ten point win.
Johnson finished with a team-high 18 points and four assists, and Guidry added 14 points. But the most impressive individual effort came from Mier Panoam, of Alaska Tru Game. He finished the final with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals.
Tree of Hope Pacific fought off a comeback from the Washington Evolution to claim their title. After Tree of Hope jumped out to an early ten point lead, the Evolution came storming back back tightening up defensively and forcing turnovers throughout the third quarter. The final frame saw the lead change hands five different times. A clutch three pointer from Jada Wynn ended up being the difference.
Wynn would end the game with a double-double, as she racked up 19 points and 11 boards to go along with four assists. Catelyn Deaver had an impressive game as well for Tree of Hope as she also put up 19 points, while adding six rebounds. Taylor Campbell showed up with one of the most impressive defensive efforts of all the domestic regional action so far. Campbell tallied 11 points and six steals in the girls final.
If the name Wynn sounds familiar, it’s probably because Jada is the daughter of Jody Wynn, the head coach for University of Washington Women’s Basketball team.
10-year NBA veteran, Cherokee Parks returned to The Hoop to present the awards and trophies to the tournament’s participants.
The Jr. NBA promotes play on the court that focuses on four core values: Teamwork, Respect, Determination, and Community. Players who showed strength in Teamwork, Respect and Determination were honored for their exceptional character.
Guidry and Deaver received the Determination Award for their top level effort and drive to win throughout the tournament.
Panoam and Jada Wynn were each rewarded with the Teamwork Award for their leadership and selflessness on the court.
Players to receive the Respect Award were Seattle Rotary’s Johnson and Zahirah Watson of the Washington Evolution.
Every representative has been chosen for all 16 worldwide regions. 32 teams, 16 boys and 16 girls, will compete in a few short weeks in the Jr. NBA World Championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports