Last game of the night, as Combine Academy and Bull City National brought us a rematch for a chance to compete for a championship.  In the first matchup, it was an absolute slugfest, with Combine grabbing the narrow win.  Now these two met again and it brought the same energy level.  Combine was able to gain the edge after the first quarter, as they looked focused and ready to compete.  2022 AJ Smith was terrific early on, really playing strong and leading the charge with 10 first-quarter points.  Dillingham knocked a few outside three’s early on, which ultimately helped Combine hold the narrow lead at halftime.  Derrick Butler scored 11 first-half points for Bull City, while LJ Thomas got in on the action as well but it still remained a tight game.

It continued o stay that way for much of the third quarter as well, with Combine holding the narrow lead. Both teams really looked to attack the paint and Combine found some success on the boards as well. It went back and forth, with a few times the game being tied.  Watson played well in the second half for Bull City, but behind Robinson’s 11 second-half points and some big plays down at the end, it was Combine who will be moving on with a 64-56 victory and will meet Liberty Heights for the championship.

Stats:
Combine Academy:
AJ Smith 12 points
Kris Robinson 13 points
Robert Dillingham 12 points

Bull City National:
Derrick Butler 16 points
LJ Thomas 13 points
Dondre Watson 9 points

Standouts:

2021 Derrick Butler (Bull City): Many other players get the attention but Butler is one that continues to produce and has only elevated his play in big moments.  He is a 6’3 guard that can be a bull in getting downhill and finishing at the rim, but also competes on the boards and can knock down perimeter shots.  Love what he provides to this team and has continued to elevate his play over the last few months.

2022 AJ Smith (Combine): Smith is just a dog on the court.  He absolutely loves to battle and compete with bodies down low but does it in a smart way, getting defenders off their feet or just finishing through contact. But that doesn’t mean he won’t step out, either put the ball on the deck or knock down a jumper.

2022 LJ Thomas (Bull City): Thomas brings such composure along with high-major talent to the floor that makes him such a big-time talent. He scores so incredibly well on so many levels and with ease, just seeing what opponents give him.  He can hurt you in many ways and really do think he is underrated in leading and initiating the offense as a point guard.

2021 Kris Robinson (Combine): A leader steps up when his team needs him the most… Once again, Kris Robinson did just that with some big jumpers in the second half, scoring 11 of his 13 points while also getting to the line.  Kid is a winner and just does what is need for his team to pull out W’s.