Entering its 28th year, the Kenner League, an annual summer basketball tournament held at McDonough Gymnasium, began tonight with three high-quality games. Although this year the tournament was moved back a bit from its typical start date because NCAA paperwork was filed later than usual, the tradition of seeing Georgetown menâ€™s basketball players in action during the summer continued. A number of Hoyas were on hand for opening night and several turned in stellar performances.
In the first game of the night, The Tombs team, led by Austin Freeman, former guard Tyler Crawford, and freshmen newcomers Vee Sanford and Jerrelle Benimon, thoroughly handled the Premier Athletics team, winning by a score of 69-40. Freeman turned in a dominating performance, comfortably knocking down pull-up jumpers, converting on powerful drives to the basket, and controlling the Tombsâ€™ offense from the beginning. Crawford was a bit more passive on offense, but did knock down a few threes throughout the game. Both Sanford and Benimon got off to relatively slow starts, but Sanford picked up his game in the second half â€“ showing incredible speed and strong use of both handsâ€“ and Benimon demonstrated tough defense and a willingness to fight for rebounds. In a physical game, Tombs led 32-17 at the half â€“ capped by a breakaway Crawford dunk to extend the lead to 15 â€“ and they never looked back.
In the second game, freshman Hollis Thompson led the We Are One team to a 67-62 victory over the Bearcats. Thompson came out strong, hitting a number of long and medium range jumpers. His length was difficult for the Bearcats to guard, but the Bearcats won the battle of the boards in the first half to tie the game at the half, 30-30. University of Maryland guard Adrian Bowie and Georgetown walk-on Ryan Dougherty also played on the We Are One team, helping to control the backcourt. In the second half, We are One wore down the Bearcats with an intense full-court zone press, leading to a 67-62 win.
In the final game of the night, Jason Clark and Henry Sims played for the Clydes team, which came up short against the Madness All Stars 77-72. Clydes had the manpower advantage, with 14 players compared to a benchless five for the Madness, but Clydes struggled on the glass and defending the post throughout the game. Clark hit a number of threes and floaters, while Sims struggled to find his touch or post game. Two field goals by Sims cut the Madness lead to three with only 13 seconds left, but Clydes couldnâ€™t cut it any further and fell five points short.
With a sizeable crowd on hand and both Thompson coaches, Georgetown head coach John Thompson III and former coach John Thompson Jr. in attendance, it was a good opening night for D.C.â€™s summer league. A tournament official said that full rosters were not yet available because the league was still finalizing rosters up until an hour before the start.
Play continues tomorrow night at 7:15pm. Playoffs begin Thursday, August 13th, and the championship game is slated for Sunday, August 16th at 2:00 p.m. Check back with Hoya Paranoia for more updates on Kenner League play.
- Andrew Dwulet