The de facto AAU state championship in Nebraska returned to the Omaha Metro this weekend. The River Cities Hoops Summer Tip Off, which has been around for more than 20 years, is in the ninth year of its revamped format.
River Cities has evolved into a tournament where kids can compete with and against the best in the state in front of their hometown fans, as well as in front of college coaches from the Division II, Division III and NAIA levels.
The tournament, which ran Friday through Sunday in Council Bluffs, brought together most of the top AAU programs from Nebraska.
More than 200 teams in 23 divisions from third grade through high school (17U) competed in the event.
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17U Platinum Championship
OSA National Franzese avenged its only loss of the weekend in a rematch with Omaha Elite, capturing the title with a 51-48 win. Ely Doble (Gretna) hit two free throws to put OSA up three, and the Crusaders got a stop to seal the game.
Jack Dotzler (Omaha Roncalli) finished with a game-high 13 points and nine assists, while Doble chipped in eight points and nine rebounds. Taiden Red (Omaha Roncalli) and Spencer Schomers (Omaha Creighton Prep) each knocked down a pair of 3s as well.
Ty Griggs (Omaha South) led Elite with 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and 4 of 4 from the line. Jay Saunders (Omaha South) chipped in nine points, six rebounds and two steals, while Curtis Ogba Jr., a 2021 guard from Omaha North, added nine points on 3 of 5 from deep.
16U Platinum Championship
OSA Gauntlet rolled over Kingdom Hoops Navy 72-59. The Crusaders raced out to a 20-point lead at halftime and cruised to the championship.
Cam Binder (Auburn) led OSA with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-6 from deep. AJ Rollins (Omaha Creighton Prep) did work down low with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and eight rebounds. Hunter Sallis (Millard North) chipped in 10 points, and Denim Johnson (Omaha Benson) just missed a double-double with eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
15U Platinum Championship
Team Factory Gold pulled ahead by 20, OSA Gauntlet cut it to one at 1:17 to play, and Factory held on to win 68-63 to claim the 16U championship.
Factory got off to a fast start, racing out to a 17-4 lead behind seven quick points by PJ Davis (Omaha Central). Factory led 44-32 at halftime, and OSA steadily cut into the lead throughout the second half. Davis shot 4 for 4 from the line in the final minute, Chandler Meeks (Omaha Westside) split the shots on a pair of trips to the line, and Gage Stenger (Millard South) forced a key turnover later to seal the win.
Meeks led Factory with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, six rebounds and four steals. Davis finished with 17 as well, shooting 4 of 6 from the field (3 of 5 from 3) and 6 of 6 from the line. Daniel Brocaille (Papillion-La Vista South) chipped in 15 points on 5 of 6 from the field and 4 of 6 from the line.
OSA’s Jakson Page (Omaha Central) led all scorers with 19 points on 8 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 5 from 3, and notched three steals as well. Payson Gillespie (Omaha Westside) added 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting (2 of 3 from deep) and eight rebounds.
17U Platinum Semifinals
OSA National Franzese 62, Lincoln Supreme National 60: OSA National Franzese pulled out a come-from-behind win over Lincoln Supreme National with a late rally to punch its ticket to the championship game.
Leading by two in the final minute, Supreme turned the ball over, and Doble scored inside to tie it up at 60-all. Supreme ran the clock down and went for the win, but the shot was off target, and Doble drew a foul on the rebound while in the bonus with a couple of seconds left. He hit both shots, and Supreme’s prayer at the buzzer came up empty.
Doble finished with a team-high 15 points on 5 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line. Red scored 13 points, and Clay Frost (Gretna) chipped in 10 points, including seven straight at one point during the second half.
Justin Bubak (Lincoln Christian) led Supreme with 28 points on 10 of 17 from the field, 4 of 5 from deep and 4 of 7 from the line.
Omaha Elite 86, OSA 17U Gauntlet 80: Jay Saunders led Omaha Elite with 23 points. His Omaha South teammate Ty Griggs and Skyler Wilson each scored 17, while Omaha North wing Wal Chuol scored 15. Omaha Central guard Max Polk led OSA with 21 points. Latrell Wrightsell Jr. (Omaha Central), Jadin Booth (Omaha Westside) and Chase Thompson (Omaha Westside) each scored 13.
16U Platinum Semifinals
OSA 16U Gauntlet 72, All Iowa Attack (Ames, Iowa) 59: Auburn's Cam Binder connected on 10 of 12 3-pointers and led OSA with 31 points. Denim Johnson (Omaha Benson) scored 12 on 6-of-9 shooting and had four rebounds to go with four assists. Millard North's Hunter Sallis had 11 points, four rebounds and two steals.
Kingdom Hoops (Ankeny, Iowa) 95, Team Factory 16U 89: Tied at 36-all at the half, Kingdom Hoops came out on fire in the second half, scoring 59 points and connecting on eight 3-pointers. Factory was led by Chucky Hepburn (Bellevue West) with 23 points. Glenwood (Iowa) wing Ryan Blum scored 22, and Omaha Burke's Greg Brown scored 18.
15U Platinum Semifinals
Team Factory Gold 64, Lincoln Supreme National 53: Two of the better in-state guards in the 2022 class are Westside's Meeks and Ashland-Greenwood's Cale Jacobsen. The two went head to head in the Factory win. Meeks scored 15 points and had six steals. Teammate PJ Davis scored 14 while shooting 4 of 7 from behind the 3-point line. Lincoln Supreme was led by Isaac Traudt (Grand Island), who scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds. Jacobsen led Supreme in rebounding by collecting 14, scored 10 points, dished out three assists and recorded three steals and three blocked shots.
Also: OSA 15U Gauntlet 68, All Iowa Attack 9th Red 59