(from left to right) Levar Seals, Luther Head & Sean Dockery
Fire Impress in Own TourneyAt Mac Irvin's Adidas Chicago Classic this weekend at Depaul, Mac was not going to allow his Illinois Fire team be showed-up by anyone.
Winning the championship game 59-53 over the Houston Superstars, the Fire finished the tournament impressively undefeated, knocking off top-notch competition.
One of those top teams that the Fire overcame, was the Illinois Gold, whom the Fire played in pool play.
To start the show, the Illinois Gold, led by 3 The Hard Way (Curry, Echols & Straight), arrived over an hour late because of the ACT testing that morning. While the Fire were waiting patiently, they put on a remarkable dunk exception in their lay-up lines, which had the whole gym on their feet, ohhing and ahhing.
Then, when everyone saw Curry and Echols walk in, it finally hit that there was going to be a match-up of two of the best AAU teams in Illinois and the whole country.
With the Fire already warmed up and loose from their dunk show, they jumped off to a quick lead with tournament MVP, Levar Seals, performing marvelously.
Luther Head would catch the outlet passes from Chris Alexander or Kelly Whitney and sprint out into a fast break, then tossing the ball high in the air for an alley-opp, with the 6'4" Seals usually being on the receiving end. With the outstanding backcourt of Head, Seals and Sean Dockery, the Fire has a terrific backcourt that play very well together.
However, the Fire's backcourt couldn't do anything to prevent the early onslaught of the Illinois Gold at the beginning of the second half. The 6'10" Curry, who's play was nowhere to be found in the first half, ignited his team's comeback in the second half, simply overpowering the Fire's big men for easy low post baskets.
The game went down to the wire with Curry getting a tip-in to tie the game at 72-72 and send the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, the Fire's backcourt again took over, leading the hometeam Fire to a 84-81 win.
The Illinois Gold had an early dismissal, eventually being knocked off by Cleveland Club in the quarterfinals.
The Fire went on to defeat that same Cleveland Club team in the semifinals in a closely fought game. Next up, and the last hurdle for the Fire, were the Houston Superstars.
Led by All-American candidate, T.J. Ford, the Houston Superstars were considered an early favorite by many. However, Julian's Sean Dockery, had something to say about it.
With poise beyond his years, Dockery played outstandingly. Knowing when to get the big men involved with post feeds and how to pick his spots on offense Dockery used his tremendous handles to continually break down the Houston team.
Leading all scorers was Dockery with 19 points, to lead his Fire to a championship win. Garnering all-tournament for the champs were Manley's Luther Head, Dockery, and MVP of the tournament, Providence St. Mel's Levar Seals.
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