Adam Johnson scored 23 points, leading Team Alpha to a thrilling 94-93 victory over Team Elite on Saturday in the inaugural Buddy Hield Invitational exhibition game at the Kendall Isaac National Gymnasium.
Johnson, a recent Prince William High School graduate, also pulled down 14 rebounds, handed out five assists and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Along with MVP honors, Johnson was awarded the invitational’s ultimate prize, a $10,000 college scholarship provided by MAD Events.
“This really feels great, having the opportunity to show what I can do in front of this crowd,” said Johnson. “It mean’s a lot that I was selected as the MVP, because it means that people are watching and taking note. Even though we went down in the game, we kept believing in each other and we stayed strong.”
The first annual event saw a competitive first quarter as the teams ended the period knotted at 28 a piece. In the second, team Elite found a groove on offense, relying heavily on pick and roll movement between Antol Rodgers Wolverines Azaro Roker and Domnick Bridgewater. The duo shouldered a large portion of team Elite’s offensive load, finishing the game with 22 and 17 points each respectively.
The game would go back and forth through the third and wouldn’t be decided until the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
Charles Rahming was fouled with three seconds remaining and knocked down two free throws on the opposite end to put team Alpha up 94-93. With one chance left, Eastern Florida State College commit Kaleel Solomon attempted a full court heave but didn’t come close to threatening the lead.
Cedric Delancey gave team Alpha a huge lift with his 17 points. Franco Miller had 16 for team Alpha, Solomon finished with 15 for team Elite and Ridley College guard Livingston Bromwell put up 13 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Hield, who was running frantically back and forth between both benches giving advice, said he was proud of the effort the guys put out for the crowd. He added that the game completed what was truly a weekend to remember for him.
“I thought the game was great. Team Elite fought back, but they didn’t fight hard enough. Simple mistakes by some young guys cost them, but today was all about togetherness and playing for the community,” said Hield. “I just wanted the kids to learn from this and to use this as an experience moving forward.
“Thanks to all the sponsors that came and backed this and to all the organizers that helped make it possible.”
Tabernacle Baptist guard Janeko Russell won the Ministry of Tourism 3 point shootout while Roker was crowned as the invitational’s first ever slam dunk champion.