Augusta, South Carolina—-The Boston Amateur Athletic Club (BABC) captured their first ever Nike Peach Jam championship defeating Memphis YOMCA 84-67 in front of a packed crowd at the Riverview Park Activities Center.
BABC was once again led by standout junior Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) who finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks, 5 assists, and 4 steals. Noel, who hadn’t shot more than 10 field goals in any game at the Peach Jam, looked to establish himself early offensively, scoring on a variety of adept left-handed finishes around the rim. He finished the game on 8-19 shooting and played all but the last minute, when the game was out of reach. As good as he was on offense, it was his defense that led BABC to the 2nd Annual EYBL Championship. The 6 blocks and 4 steals standout on paper, but Noel also used his incredible length and uncanny timing to alter at least a dozen other YOMCA field goal attempts around the rim.
BABC had huge contributions throughout the Peach Jam and in the finals from Georges Niang (@georgesniang20) who had an ultra-efficient 21 points on 9-12 shooting from the field. The tandem of Niang and Noel coupled with the 1-2-2 pressure defense was too much for YOMCA to handle. Seniors Shaq Goodwin and Jarnell Stokes (@JarnellStokes) were held well below their averages and seemed to never really be able to get it going. Goodwin, marred by foul trouble, finished with 10 points on 4 rebounds, and was rejected by Noel on two occasions (although the second should have been goal-tending as Noel went through the net to swat it). Stokes, who came into the game leading the Peach Jam in rebounds, only grabbed 4 boards and turned the ball over 6 times.
Memphis YOMCA seemed poised to stay in the game trailing by only 3 at halftime, but BABC used a strong second half, capitalizing on the myriad of YOMCA turnovers to convert easy baskets. With 8 minutes remaining in the second half BABC scored on 4 possessions in a row, extending their lead from 54-47 to 63-47. From there, BABC was able to secure the ball and ran the shot clock down on a number of possessions eliminating the chance of a Memphis comeback.
The road to the title wasn’t easy as BABC had a tough quarterfinal match-up with last years champion Team Takeover; and a hard fought semi-final victory over this years favorite, Oakland Soldiers. In the end, the team defense of BABC and the indvidual performance of Nerlens Noel prevailed, and BABC captured the 2011 EYBL CHAMPIONSHIP.
BABC had played in 16 Peach Jams dating back to 1990 and had reached the finals 8 times without a victory. This was the first Peach Jam victory for Head Coach Leo Papile, and he will look to repeat with a number of contributing players set to return next year, including Noel and standout sophomore Wayne Selden (@WayneSelden23).
Memphis YOMCA made a strong showing at the 2011 Peach Jam with their 17U team finishing in second place and their 16U team winning the trophy in an overtime thriller.