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October 22, 2007

Ebanks, Samuels Leads Stars to iS8 Championship

The iS8/Nike tournaments in Jamaica, NY are synonymous with having the premier talent in the Northeast United States, and Sunday afternoon's iS8/Nike Tip-Off Classic 2007 championship game was certainly a microcosm of the whole tournament in terms of talent.


The Shooting Stars, led by three possible McDonald All-American's in Louisville-bound Samardo Samuels, Indiana-bound Devin Ebanks and North Carolina-bound Ed Davis, beat the talented frontcourt of the Playaz Club-Seniors by a score of 92-83. Despite the 54 combined points from the St. Anthony's duo of Mike Rosario and Travon Woodall, the size of the Shooting Stars became too much for the Playaz to handle. Additionally the Playaz Club guards unable to press the Shooting Stars point guard and future Florida Gator, Erving Walker, who was successful at not only breaking the press at will but feeding the ball inside to his "Bigs" Samuels, Ebanks & Davis.

Guarding Walker was simply too daunting a task for the Playaz Club guard, Jiovanny Fontan, who quite often found himself the victim of a crossover dribble and flat on his stomach in the backcourt looking up as Walker crossed half court.

Future Pittsburgh Panther guard Travon Woodall struck first in the game, actually he struck twice hitting two three pointers to open up a 6-0 lead for Jimmy Salmon's Playaz Club. However, that lead would disappear very quickly as St. Benedict's big man, Samardo Samuels dominated the frontcourt of the Playaz and forced Florida-bound Allan Chaney into foul trouble early in the first quarter. Coach Kareem Meminger's Shooting Stars squad put on a display of impressive ball movement on their way to a 23-20 lead by the time the first quarter ended. Samuels was simply a man amongst boys in the paint and powered his way to 22 first half points, and assisted a number of plays off impressive passes from the low block. When the half ended, the Shooting Stars led the game by 12, by a score of 47-35 despite the inside-outside scoring of Travon Woodall and Rutgers-bound guard Mike Rosario.

The game plan for the Shooting Stars continued to be executed to perfection throughout the third quarter, as it was Devin Ebanks that was converting baskets as the Playaz Club often front-and-backed Samuels and left several mid range jump shots open for Ebanks. Combine the several jumpers with a third quarter buzzer beating three from the future Hoosier, and the Shooting Stars opened up a 67-54 lead. The Playaz wouldn't go quietly into the sunny afternoon, as Fordham-commit, Fontan converted a lay-up mid-way through the fourth quarter, which cut the Shooting Stars lead to 4pts. However, that was as close as they would get as Kareem Meminger's squad executed well down the stretch en route to a 92-83 victory and the Fall iS8 championship. Samardo Samuels (28 points) and Devin Ebanks (32 points) shared game MVP honors.

BONUS: Full game webcasts of the iS8/Nike semifinals and championship games will be available on www.HSBnetwork.TV and exciting 4 minute highlight clips will be available to member of NYCHoops.

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