TD Sports ousted

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 6, 2003

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – &uot;Nobody expected us to go as far as we did.&uot;

Those were the words of Chris Towell, the coach of TD Sports, a local 14-and-under AAU basketball team that was ousted in overtime on Tuesday during the national championship tournament here at Walt Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.

&uot;I couldn’t ask for anything else from this bunch of overachievers,&uot; said Towell. &uot;I can tell you that this team turned a lot of heads down here in Florida. If others didn’t know who TD Sports was when we got here, they definitely know now.&uot;

Down by nine points with four minutes remaining in Tuesday’s contest against Nike Select of Nashville, Tennessee, TD Sports rallied and eventually sent the game into overtime thanks to a soft jumper in the lane by La’Marcius Jenkins with 4.8 seconds left in regulation.

However, TD Sports fell in overtime by an 84-78 count, thus eliminating the local squad in the double-elimination portion of the 80-plus-team tournament.

&uot;We were the team that everybody expected to trounce,&uot; noted Towell. &uot;With the exception of Monday’s loss against a team from South Carolina, one where we got outplayed and outcoached, I thought this bunch from rural northeastern North Carolina really held their own against a very talented field of teams.&uot;

In Tuesday’s loss, Towell’s two &uot;big men&uot; – Jenkins and Tydreke Powell – enjoyed what the coach described as a &uot;monster game.&uot; Powell poured in 33 points and dragged down 17 rebounds while Jenkins tallied 26 points and collected 19 caroms. In four games, that duo combined for 136 points and 101 rebounds.

&uot;I still think I had the best two big men in this entire tournament field,&uot; stressed Towell. &uot;The Nike team had a highly touted 6’9&uot; big kid and Tydreke and La’Marcius just wore him out.&uot;

Macques Daye (7), Danny Dembry (5), Kenneth Bazemore (4) and Antonio Branch (3) added to the TD Sports point total against Nike Select.

On Monday against the Up State Warriors of South Carolina, TD Sports dug themselves an early hole and eventually fell by a 63-43 count. Jenkins led the way with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Bazemore (8), Desmond Williams (7), Daye (6), Powell (6), Marcus Burnell (4) and Jeff Long (2) rounded-out the scorebook. Powell added 10 rebounds.

&uot;The best team definitely won that game,&uot; admitted Towell. &uot;They were a bit quicker than us and they came out very aggressive in the early going. We weren’t ready for that. We got down very early in the game and never recovered.&uot;

TD Sports – consisting of players from middle schools in Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties – posted a perfect 3-0 record in the pool play portion of the tournament, one that began with over 170 teams this past weekend. After receiving an opening round forfeit against the Cleveland, Ohio Basketball Club, TD Sports swept past Puerto Rico (53-51) on Saturday and Albany, NY (53-43) on Sunday. Those wins advanced the club to the National Championship round.

&uot;This was a growing experience for all of us,&uot; concluded the coach. &uot;I was extremely proud of my guys. They represented northeastern North Carolina in a very positive manner.&uot;

The team was sponsored by TD Sports, an athletic apparel and supply company based in Rich Square.