Upward Stars claim 17U title at Icebreaker
N. AUGUSTA, S.C. – If you watched any of the games at the Icebreaker this weekend, you would not be surprised to know that the 17 and under championship game would come down to the final minute.
But would you have guessed it would end on a highlight, throw-it-up-with-a-prayer three-pointer? Probably not.
Upward Stars guard Justin Dotson drilled the game winner in one of the most exciting games of the tournament.
“I just knew that I had to get it over the top of him and all I thought about was him being 6-foot-10,” Dotson said with a laugh.
Dotson did indeed. He banked in the three-pointer with 2.6 seconds left to play to help the start-up Upward Stars program claim the 17U gold division championship of the Icebreaker.
Dotson finished with 10 points in the win but had tremendous help from Justin McKie (14 points) and Jamel Jones (10 points).
Playing in their first event of the season, Upward impressed the field with their team play, hustle and ability to shine in tight spots. Dotson said the event was the perfect jump off point for the team.
“We are just a bunch of guys all trying to help the next guy out,” Dotson said. “None of us are the star. We all just want to win and will do whatever it takes.”
The Stars had to put away a very good Southern Stampede team, a club that powered through the pools and proved to be a very worthy contender for the trophy. Stampede had one last shot to win it but the final heave hit the rim similar to Gordon Hayward’s championship shot against Duke two years ago.
Stampede boasted one of the best backcourts in the tournament and that shined through in the championship game. Nate Mason led all scorers with 27 points while Tahj Shamsid-Deen pumped in 15 points.
We will have much more from the 2012 Icebreaker on MyLineageOfChampions.com this week.