05/29/2011 1:00 PM - The 11th grade Bulls Premier team got off to a rough start at the Best Buy Chicago Classic losing to the same team that beat them in a Super Regional just two weeks ago. Just as the first game played out, Bowen bumped, grabbed, and stripped the Bulls Premier on their way to an 80-64 win. The next game against the Iowa Mavericks proved to be a great rebound game as the Premier squad demonstrated tantalizing defense and attacked the rim. By limiting second chance opportunities and playing a possession for possession game, the Premier teams battled to a 57-52 win over the Mavericks.
The final game of pool play came down to the wire. The Iowa Magic’s ace shooter got hot early and tried to put the Bulls Premier away. However, he was no match for Josh Yesufu as his defense kept the shooter cold while the game progressed. After a few mental lapses in the 2nd half, the Premier fell behind 6 with 3 minutes to play. Then the Premier took charge and locked down on defense, turning the Magic over 3 times in a row to tie the game as time dwindled. The game ended with the Bulls Premier caught sleeping and the Iowa Magic converting a 3-point play to win 61-58. It was a tough loss but would prove to be valuable as they would play for a Division II Silver Title.
To begin the Silver Bracket, the Bulls Premier team was up against a tough DW Wildcat team from Milwaukee. After defeating the Wildcats 62-52, the Bulls claimed the DII Silver Title with another solid performance over the Iowa Mavericks, a team who they beat in pool play. The final score was 64-55 and according to the coach Kevin Brockington, guard Derek Westman ignited the team all day. Westman had missed some play over the past few weeks due to school activities, but has a clear schedule ahead and looks to help the ballclub as they continue tournament play. Brockington stated that Westman came more than ready to play even though he is fighting a turf toe injury. “He attacked the rim, his jumper was working, was active in the press, and pushed his teammates, what more can you want from a player,” said Brockington. The squad followed his lead as the 17u Bulls Premier took home the Division II Silver Title.
Overall this was a great weekend for the 17u Bulls Premier team. It was their first weekend with multiple wins and the first time they have won 2 straight games all season. There are a few guys pushing this team to the level of intensity and tenacity that it needs and they look to continue this as they move forward.