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15U Cavs Win the Commonwealth Classic

Leesburg, VA – The 15U NOVA Cavs entered the Commonwealth Classic coming off a weekend which saw them play in 4 (lose 3) one to two possession basketball games in the Potomac Valley Regional Qualifier.  The close game experience helped this weekend as the Cavs found themselves in 3 more exciting finishes coming out victorious in all of them.

The first game of the weekend put the Cavs up against LBA Attack.  In this game the Cavs were too stagnant in their zone offense and settled for some bad shots which opened up transition lanes for LBA. LBA capitalized on these mistakes taking the game 52-41. 

The next two games now became must win if the Cavs wanted to advance out of their pool and they had two more difficult teams to face.  The first being Gainesville Elite, who like LBA has won several local tournaments.  In this game the Cavs executed their offense well and minimized their turnovers, but unfortunately struggled to knock down shots.  Fortunate for the Cavs though, their defense led to Gainesville settling for many contested jumpers and they too did not have the hottest shooting night.  With 6 seconds to go and the Cavs trailing by 4 what ensued was craziness as with Gainesville up, no timeouts left for the Cavs and the clock winding down Gainesville was surprisingly instructed to foul, and they did as Josh Fraser was in his shooting motion and nailed a fade-in 3 pointer with the foul to cut the game to 1 with .8 seconds left.  After a minute delay trying to fix the score clock, Fraser calmly sunk the clutch free throw to tie the game for the first time since the early minutes at 45 and send the game into overtime.  In the OT the Cavs would take their first lead of the game and win 49-47.

The way the pool played out, the Cavs would now take on the Virginia Heat out of Richmond with the winner advancing to the semis in a quintessential playoff game.  The Cavs raced out to a 10-0 lead but the Heat capitalized on second chance opportunities and 3’s and went on a 12-4 run of their own to get back in the game.  The Cavs would retain the lead throughout, but at the end of the game they missed 3 front ends of the one and one and the Heat cut the game to 3 with the ball.  The Cavs instructed to foul at a certain point on the floor unfortunately fouled to close to the 3 point line and the officials determined the foul to be in the shooting motion, while disputable.  With .6 seconds left, the Heat guard calmly sunk the first 2 but missed the final one and the Cavs escaped a sloppy ending with a 40-39 win.  The Cavs cruised to a 60-16 win in the semis against the Defenders setting up a rematch with Gainesville Elite for the championship. 

In the final Gainesville could not stop Sami’s offensive attack around the basket.  They switched to a zone which did disrupt the Cavs rhythm and Gainesville led by 5 first half 3’s and several defensive miscommunications by the Cavs jumped out to a 31-23 halftime lead.  With 8 minutes to go and the Cavs trailing by 12, they used their last timeout and realized the only way they were going to get back in this game was nonstop pressure and going into attack mode.  The Cavs forced several turnovers, capitalized on missed free throws, and aggressively attacked the basket.  It took the whole 8 minutes but the Cavs tied the game near the end and after several nail biting possessions the game went into overtime again.  The Cavs jumped out to a lead in the overtime but Gainesville responded with 4 points of their own and the Cavs trailed by 1 with 11 seconds to go.  The Cavs got a good look at the basket, missing a 3, but with the Cavs crashing the boards they were able to get a hand on the rebound and tip it out to Fraser at the top of the key.  Fraser went right at the basket hitting a runner with 3 seconds to go and was fouled to take a 58-57 lead.  On the free throw which was missed the Cavs got their hands on the ball again, tipped it, and time expired leading to the Cavs second tournament championship on the year!  All 8 players at this weekend’s tournament gave significant contributions in this real memorable tournament with two one point victories and a two point victory.