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Cavs Reach Final 4 at NTBA Nationals

Myrtle Beach, SC – Congratulations to the 16U-Sawitzky NOVA Cavs who had a wonderful run at the NTBA National Championship.  In a 45 team field, the Cavs reached the final four and finished the week 5-1.

The Cavs went 3-0 in pool play with a 64-49 win over the silver bracket finalist, Cavs North (WV); a 63-60 win over the Richmond Jammers (NC) where they trailed by double digits midway through the second half; and a 59-40 win over the Carolina Sabers-Fab 5 where in a close game they finished on a 15-0 run the final 4 minutes.

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With the 1 seed in pool play, the Cavs got a first round bye and were in the round of 16.  They faced Tricounty Impact (SC) and raced out to a 29-14 lead at halftime.  In half two, the Cavs faced intense pressure and started losing Tricounty’s top scorers on the 3 point line making it a one possession game the final two minutes.  With the team’s trading baskets, the Cavs just hung on for a 56-54 win.

In the quarter final the Cavs faced a phenomenal shooting team in NC Top Flight.  The Cavs would stay in the game with their size advantage down low, but most of the second half, NC Top Flight held the lead as they continued to hit timely shots.  In the final 5 minutes, Sami was determined to score points and NC Top Flight had no answer.  The Cavs took their first lead at 54-53, got a quick Chas steal for a layup to extend the lead to 3, and never looked back winning 63-56.

In the final 4, the Cavs faced the eventual national champion, Metrolina Havoc.  Metrolina pressed from the onset and the Cavs got off to a slow start with uncharacteristic turnovers.  They did eventually settle down and trailed 22-21 at the half.  In half two, the Cavs failed to capitalize from the foul line shooting 4-15, and a strong player from Metrolina broke open the game with 3 big 3’s.  With the Cavs trailing by as many as 14, they pushed hard to the finish cutting the lead down to 5 at the very end for a 61-56 defeat.

Despite the painful final loss, the Cavs had a special week.  What led to the success was virtually everyone on the roster having big moments over the duration of the tournament.  Just some examples included Joey scoring big baskets down the stretch, Chas locking down team’s leading scorers and draining big shots, Jordan having his best offensive run of the season and converting on 6 dunks, Sami back from injury leading the team in scoring once again and being a mismatch all week for the opposing forwards, and Joe consistently breaking the opposing team’s heavy pressure and attacking the rim out of the offense.  Then just as impressive, the Cavs took 8 charges on the week led by Sahil, Tyler, and Joey, which very well could have been the difference in several close games.

With the strong finish, 16U-Sawitzky finished an injury-riddled season at 23-14, with 2 tournament championships in 3 appearances and the final 4 run at nationals.  With close to a full roster the final two tournaments, the Cavs had great showings and look forward to their fourth and final season together at the 17U level next year.