FBC Black JG improved to 2-2 as it earned a solid win over Rocky Mountain Fever 66-42 Sunday morning to start the final day of the Triple Crown NIC.
Trailing early 14-6, FBC Black JG went on a 9-0 run thanks to two 3-pointers and an old-fashioned 3-point play to take a 15-14 lead late in the quarter. Rocky Mountain Fever would sink a field goal to take the lead after one quarter of play. However, the second quarter would see FBC Black JG flip the script by out-scoring Rocky Mountain Fever
21-8 to take a 36-23 lead at halftime.
“With [Rocky Mountain Fever’s] style of play, they want you to help on defense and leave their shooters open,” said FBC Black JG head coach Johnny Gray, Jr. “Once the girls got disciplined and stayed to their man, I think that really made the difference in the game.”
FBC Black JG would win the third quarter of the game, 25-12, before cruising through the fourth quarter of the contest.
Kamryn Collins and Kyra Jefferson each had 16 points to lead the way for FBC Black JG.
SUCCESSFUL TRIP EAST FOR ROCKY MOUNTAIN FEVER
While Rocky Mountain Fever didn’t win the first game of the day, the team still had a successful weekend after going 3-2, closing tournament play Sunday morning with a 61-26 win over Team Brandan Wright 2021/2022 Rise. Three players scored in double-figures for Rocky Mountain Fever, led by Makylee Buell’s 16.
“It was so much fun,” said Buell of the tournament. “I’ve never been this far for basketball. I think it was a good tournament for us to come and rank ourselves and see how we play together.”
Buell says her teams like to play fast, but the speed this weekend was different. “We’re learning to play fast, but this was a different pace,” she said. “I think we learned how to play together through thick and thin and to play for each other.”
“I was pretty happy,” said Rocky Mountain Fever head coach Brandon Valdez. “Friday night seems like a long time ago now, but we played one of the best Brandan Wright teams and played A-plus basketball for the entire game. We shot the ball extremely well, we hit 10 3-pointers and we shot 90 percent from the line.”
While the second day of the tournament was a different story, Coach Valdez felt his team took a lot out of the two games. “We took some knocks Saturday. We had a couple of players go down due to injury, and we finished off with a small bench, but overall, I’m very happy.”
Coach Valdez was happy to be able to bring his team east to get looks from coaches east of the Mississippi River. “Some of these kids are being recruited by some schools that, instead of having to travel way out there, it really gives them a different look.”
Overall, the tournament was highly on the list of tournaments that Rocky Mountain Fever attended this year. “I think this is one of the best tournaments we’ve been to all year because of the competition. I talk to some of the other coaches before the game, and they tell me they have five or six D-I recruits. We probably only have one D-I kid, but we were able to play with these teams and compete with them at a high level,” Coach Valdez said.
LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR ABA BLACK
Head Coach Steven Gardner knew this weekend was going to be a learning experience for his ABA Black squad. The team, based out of Vancouver, Wash., travelled a long way to play against teams that play much different styles. Still, while ABA Black didn’t pick up any victories to put in the win column, the squad still exceeded the team’s expectations.
“It’s been great,” Coach Gardner said. “We’re young, so we knew we were going to take some lumps. We usually travel east, but not with a team this young.”
Coach Gardner’s side was filled with primarily high school freshmen and sophomores, with only a couple of juniors to provide leadership.
“It’s been great to see these teams from the southeast,” Coach Gardner said. “These teams are a little more physical than the teams we usually see out west. I think we’ve learned to handle the pressure and play with a little more physicality.
“We really just wanted to compete,” Gardner said. “They’ve really exceeded my expectations. They came out and played hard.”
COACHES GETTING A LOT OUT OF NIC
With over 40 D-I college coaches registered for the Triple Crown NIC, and more arriving during the day Sunday, there were plenty of eyes watching the talent during the weekend. The coaches were pleased with what they saw from the tournament.
“This is an amazing tournament at an amazing facility,” said Tennessee State University assistant coach Deont’a McChester. “I hope that we’re able to keep this local tournament here, but I am thoroughly impressed with this tournament. There’s great people running it and there’s great resources for the young ladies to go out and see what’s in the Franklin and Nashville area.”
“There’s a lot of great talent that’s come out,” said University of North Alabama assistant coach John Ashley. “It’s great to be able to turn over every stone, see some kids from places we weren’t necessarily coming here to see, but get a chance to see how they play.”