The third annual Brandon Jennings Invitational held outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin featured nationally ranked teams and players, sprinkled with some of the top teams and players from the Midwest. The event was held at Brookfield Central High school and treated spectators to come from behind victories, upsets, and even a buzzer beater throughout the day.
Game 1: St. Frances (MD) 60 Bogan (IL) 44
The opening game of the Invitational tipped off at 11 a.m. and it looked like neither team was fully awake early on. Senior guard Maurice White woke up first for St. Frances as they took an early first quarter lead which turned into a 27-15 halftime lead. White will be headed to play for Loyola (MD) next year and finished the first half with 10 points. His backcourt mate, senior Tevon Saddler took over in the second half as St. Frances kept their double digit lead throughout the second half. The future UNC-Greensboro guard finished the game with 19 points and took home the first MVP of the day. St. Frances is normally led by junior forward Dwayne Morgan; however he was kept scoreless during the first three quarters and finished up with six points. In the 4th quarter Morgan had a nifty left to right cross over for a driving lay-up along with a ferocious dunk showing off his elite potential. Bogan was led by sophomore point guard LuWane Pipkins who finished up with 14 points, but overall the team struggled shooting all morning.
Game 2: Orr (IL) 50 Shiloh (GA) 45
Shiloh had the height with 7 foot junior center Trayvon Reed; however Orr, one of the top teams in Chicago brought the tenacity and jumped out to an early lead they never relinquished. Junior center Marlon Jones stands at 6’8” but brought the fight to the more heralded Reed right away. Jones finished with 17 points and out played Reed throughout the course of the game. He also got some help from fellow juniors Tyquone Greer and Louis Adams who both scored 12 points. Adams helped Orr get off to a quick start, scoring nine points in the first quarter en route to a 25-15 first half lead. Shiloh tried to mount a comeback in the final minutes and ended up within two points after a floater closed the lead to 45-43, but their comeback stalled and Orr pushed their lead out one more time.
Game 3: Denver East (61) Minnetonka (MN) 60
Denver East came into their match-up as the top ranked team in Colorado and they needed all 32 minutes to leave Milwaukee with a hard fought win over one of the top teams in the state of Minnesota. While the first two games of the day lacked outside shooting and a fast tempo, this game got off to a torrid start. Star junior guard Dominique Collier knocked in two quick 3-pointers to start off the game and junior guard Jevon Griffin contributed nine points in building a 24-17 first quarter lead. Minnetonka then rallied back in the second quarter to take a 33-30 halftime lead. In the second half, it was the Riley Dearring show for Minnetonka. While the Wisconsin Badgers were busy reigning threes in a blowout win over Illinois in Madison, the future Badger was raining three’s for Minnetonka. Dearring scored nine consecutive points at one point and 17 total in the second half in a back and forth affair. With both teams taking turns with the lead, it was only fitting that the game came down to the final possession. As the clock wound down, Griffin controlled the ball on the left side of the floor down one point. While most expected Griffin to rise and fire he instead found a wide open Ronnie Harrell alone under the basket for the game winning lay-up. Griffin finished with 21 points and Collier had 15 despite foul trouble as Denver East escaped with a hard fought victory.
Game 4: Brookfield Central (WI) 64 Chester (PA) 56
Chester came into their game against the host school with a national ranking, but left Wisconsin with a shocking defeat. Despite not having their five star senior in future Arizona Wildcats player Rondae Jefferson, Chester was still the more talented team on paper and used their speed and athleticism to overwhelm Brookfield Central in the first half. Facing a zone, senior forward Richard Granberry had his way down low early and scored nine first half points as Chester enjoyed a 28-20 halftime lead. The second half was a different story as junior guard Riley LaChance caught fire for the hometown squad. LaChance scored 11 points in the first half, but started the second half with several picturesque 3-pointers and mid-range jump shots. Brookfield Central grabbed the lead in the 3rd quarter and never looked back. LaChance finished with 29 points and his teammate junior big man Elijah Goodman finished with 20 rebounds. After losing two games in the City of Palms tournament, Chester added a third loss to their resume.
Game 5: Lone Peak (UT) 63 High Point Wesleyan (NC) 59
After running through teams in the City of Palms tournament on their way to a 2nd place finish, Lone Peak worked themselves up to a top-3 national ranking. Lone Peak is known for their stellar three-point shooting and they opened up the game knocking down a wide open three in a set play off the opening jump ball. Both TJ Haws and Nick Emery knocked down long jumpers to start the game, but then Wesleyan utilized their athleticism to control the game. Junior Theo Pinson scored 15 first half points as Wesleyan Christian led 35-28 at the half. Lone Peak closed the gap to three points entering the 4th quarter and regained the lead on two Emery free throws in the final minutes. TJ Haws had the play of the game following up a missed Emery lay-up with a two-hand tip dunk giving Lone Peak a 60-57 lead, one they would not relinquish. Emery finished with a game high 20 points and Haws tallied 17 points. Pinson finished the game with 19 points and freshman big man Harry Giles put up 7 points. Despite only being a freshman, Giles went toe to toe with Lone Peak big man Eric Mika and showed off why he is considered one of the top players in the class of 2016. Despite not playing up to their normal standards, Lone Peak gutted out a hard fought victory as they get ready for Archbishop Mitty in the Hoophall Classic.