Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Peach Jam Semis Set With Two Northeast & Two Southern Teams
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — The Peach Jam semifinals are set for Sunday morning and will feature two teams from the Northeast and two from the South.
Team Penny, coached by Penny Hardaway and featuring Memphis-bound forward K.J. Lawson and his brother Dedric Lawson, who is expected to announce later Sunday for Memphis, and Florida commit Kevaughn Allen, will face Boo Williams in the first semifinal at 9 a.m.
Isaiah Briscoe and the New Jersey-based Playaz Basketball Club will face Tyus Battle and New York’s Team Scan in the second semifinal at 10:30 a.m on ESPNU.
The winners will meet at 3 p.m. for the championship on ESPNU.
“We’re the first team in Playaz history to make the Final Four, so that’s great,” the 6-foot-3 Briscoe told SNY.tv after putting up 18 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists as the Playaz overcame a double-digit first-half deficit to beat Texas Titans, 66-59. “Everybody’s playing well. Everything is just falling into place.”
Initially, the Peach Jam Website indicated the Playaz and Team Scan would be on opposite sides of the bracket and could meet in the finals, but the original bracket in the tournament program called for the semifinals as they are now.
Asked about two of the four semifinalists being from New York and New Jersey, Briscoe said it means “That the Northeast has probably the best basketball in America.”
This is the 19th year of the Peach Jam and four programs have won it twice: Boo Williams, Riverside Church, the New York Gauchos and the Illinois Warriors.
Since the EYBL began in 2010, the event has been won by Team Takeover (2010), BABC (2011), the Oakland Soldiers (2012) and E1T1 (2013).
The Playaz advanced to the semifinals thanks to a brilliant performance from Briscoe, who is leading his team with toughness and tenacity while he is being courted by Arizona, Louisville, St. John’s, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Villanova.
Shakur Juiston added 16 points and 9 rebounds for the Playaz, T.J. Gibbs had 14 points and Trevon Duval 10.
“I not going to say I’m shocked, but I’m happy,” Playaz coach Jimmy Salmon told SNY.tv. “To be playing the last day of the tournament is a great credit to our program. It’s what we worked all year for, so it’s the ultimate as far as goals on this team are concerned.
On having two Northeast teams in the semis (along with WER1 winning the Under Armour Association finals over Sports U, Salmon said, “I think our region is the toughest region in the country.”
Team Scan moved on to the semis with a 66-61 win over Houston Hoops thanks to 21 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals from 2016 guard Tyus Battle, who this week added Duke, Memphis and N.C. State offers.
Cheick Diallo, who is considering Kentucky, Kansas, St. John’s, Iowa State and Pitt, had 17 points and 10 boards despite a bad back, and Bryce Aiken tallied 12 points.
“It’s a major moment for our program,” Team Scan coach Terrance “Munch” Williams told SNY.tv. “This being our second year on the EYBL, third year being part of the Nike family. Last year we went to the Elite 8, this year part of the Final 4, it’s just consistent growth for us to have goals to shoot for.”
Boo Williams moved on with a 64-53 win over the Soldiers thanks to 15 points apiece from Chris Clarke and Justin Robinson.Stephen Zimmerman and Ivan Rabb went a combined 4-for-15 for 8 points with 8 rebounds for the Soldiers.
Team Penny advanced thanks to 23 points and 16 boards from Dedric Lawson and 23 and 13 from Keelon Lawson, plus 21 points for the Florida-bound Allen.
LSU commit Ben Simmons had 24 and 10 in the loss and Antonio Blakeney scored 14.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.