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Slamming Success: Hoop Dreams Club Teams Score Big at Griffin Elite

Hoop Dreams is at it early, 930am early (gotta love AAU ball), to cover the 2033 Boys and 2031 Girls Hoop Dreams Club Teams from Lexington. This tournament, being held at Griffin Elite in the Greater Cincinnati Area, looked to highlight some of the top elementary talent in the region. It’s going to be a long day, but Hoop Dreams is up to the task.

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Hoop Dreams, founded by Mike Scott, features two private training facilities in Lexington, Kentucky. Along with experienced Coaches and Trainers at their home base, these teams often play with maturity far exceeding their years.

The day started with G-League Alum Ismaru “Coach Iso” Kane’s 3rd grade boys from Hoop Dreams featured on the Main Court taking on the Knights. Hoop Dreams, led by Class of 2033 elite ball handler #4 Baylor Mays (pictured to the right) jumped out to a 5-2 lead on a nice drive to the basket by HD’s Jackson Bryant, a big man with a knack for rebounding on both ends of the floor. Not to be outdone, Mays took his defender on an isolation down the court, nailing the right handed layup to give Hoop Dreams a 7-4 lead with 11:19 to go in the first. Carrying momentum from the made layup, Mays immediately stole the inbounds pass but was called for steps, showing he is here to ball. Miller Sutton from Hoop Dreams, carved defenders early, putting up an impressive floater off of the dribble to give HD a 13-4 lead with 5 minutes remaining in the initial half. Mays came right back down the floor nailing open from NBA range to give his team some separation on the offensive end as Hoop Dreams doubled up the Knights 16-8 with 3 minutes remaining in the 1st half. Graves, not satisfied with the lead, drove down the court for an impressive right handed finish with the foul at 18 seconds remaining. Although he failed to convert from the charity stripe, he had to feel good as his team took a 10 point lead into the half. HD started out the 2nd half with a nice basket from big man Jackson Bryant on the dish from Mikey Scott who provided a quick spark plug but was removed from the game due to a cast on his arm. Bryant, who was feeling it, took it back up on the next possession, giving HD a 22-10 lead with 12:59 remaining. Bryant, converting an old fashioned 3 point play, stretched the lead to 15 with 11:13 to play. Showing his versatility down low, he swatted #45 Cook from the Knights leading to a bucket by Mays on the opposite end. This game was never in doubt as Hoop Dreams wins big 37-14 and move onto the next round.


The 5th Grade girls reigning from Hoop Dreams in Lexington had next. Playing up a division, the first round game put them against the 6th graders from Winchester, Kentucky and Win-City Elite. Class of 2031’s Nora Jane(pictured to the left), a constant energy on the floor and relentless rebounder and defender, played to the strength of her game at the start, leading to separate buckets by twins Zoe Brown (pictured to the left) and Reece Brown. Nora Jane and Zoe Brown carried HD on a 4-0 at the expense of the Win-City defense as HD forced a timeout from red with 14:21 left in the first half leading 8-6 behind an early 4 points from Nora Jane. Sophia Flynn of Hoop Dreams, showed Caitlyn Clark range with 7:23 remaining nailing a deep three in the face on a Win-City defender, however HD was slow getting back and got caught in transition on the other end leading to a timeout from HD Head Coach DeShaunti Clay. Flynn, showing her range is no joke, nailed another from deep. Win-City had a flurry of offense matched only by the snow falling outside to cut the HD lead to 1 with 14.1 remaining in the half. Karter Scott, fouled on the other end went 1/2 from the line. We are all knotted up at half, 20 a side. The 2nd half started with Win-City jumping out with a four point advantage early. Zoe Brown got HD started on the offense end in the 2nd half with 15:33 remaining, narrowing Win-City’s lead to 2. Next trip down the floor, elite passer and ball handler Karter Scott evened it up at 26. Scott, stepping up to the line with 12:17 remaining, went 1/2 putting HD on up 1. That free throw must’ve boosted her confidence, as she slashed down the lane to her dominant side (left) to execute a beautiful floater through a crowded paint on the next 2 possessions giving Hoop Dreams a 31-27 lead. Harper Hale of Hoop Dreams penetrated the lane hard on a great look from Karter Scott drawing the contact but failing to convert going 0/2 from the line keeping the Hoop Dreams lead to 36-35 with 3:14 left in the contest. Hoop Dreams fell down 1 on a Win-City made bucket from 2 forcing Hoop Dreams to call timeout with 8.4 remaining in the game to set up a play resulting in a Karter Scott made layup to go up 38-37 with 2 seconds remaining, forcing a Win-City timeout. Win-City failed to get up a heave for the win. Hoop Dreams wins it 38-37, keeping their own hoop dreams alive in the tournament.

The third grade boys from Hoop Dreams were back at it against the Bluegrass Buckets in the championship game of the 2033 division. HD’s Baylor Mays looked to continue his impressive performance thus far in the tournament, playing well individually in spite of his squad taking an L in game 2. “Sirus” made famous by the Alan Parsons Project and the Chicago Bulls teams of my childhood, greeted the starters as both teams looked locked in and ready to compete for the title. The BlueGrass Buckets’ Earlywine kicked off scoring 90 seconds into the game, answered at the other end on a Mays assist evening it up with 16:16 to play. Donovan from the Buckets claimed a bucket of his own on the offensive end before immediately forcing a Hoops Dream turnover on a poorly executed pass. The snow must’ve made the baskets cold because both teams fell ice cold from the field, with HD leading 5-4 as Coach Iso took a timeout to regroup with 8:15 remaining in the half. Immediately out of the timeout, HD’s Miller Sutton fouled Braxton Mitchell, a shifty guard, from three land converting 2/3 freebies. The game went into half, baskets still frozen, we sit 14-8. Beginning the championship half, Hoop Dreams Bryant crashed the boards and laid the ball back in, one thing that stood out was him keeping the ball high and never bringing it down. Utilizing a size advantage he is going to have on most teams. One team wide struggle is getting back on defense, as they give up another quick one in transition to give the lead to the Buckets 17-12 with 14:24 remaining. Next trip down the floor for HD Mays laid one in off the glass which was answered no more than 3 seconds later on the other end by the buckets. Coach Iso takes a timeout with 12:39 remaining to stop the bleeding. With 10:45 remaining, Mays decided to take over, going 2/2 from the field narrowing the Hoop Dreams deficit to 3 as the Buckets lead 21-18. Bryant, relentless on the glass, gobbled up another board and laid it back in to for Hoop Dreams to answer a bucket on the opposite end narrowing the gap back to 3 with 7:30 remaining until we crowned a champion. Earlywine nailed one from 18 feet, good for three, 25-20 Bluegrass bucket lead with 3:21 left. Hagan Earlywine sunk the dagger from 12 feet, followed by a Grayson Donovan three that left an insurmountable lead for the HD squad from Lexington. Congrats to Bluegrass Buckets as they are crowned champion of the 2033 Division, 30-21 final.


The main event featured Hoop Dream’s class of 2031 girls team against the squad from North Laurel. They will have their hands full as this North Laurel 6th grade team has some towers down low and showcases elite depth. The girls from Lexington jumped out to an early 3 point lead on a made free throw from Karter Scott, 3-0 with 17:25 remaining in the 1st. Scott went right back to the other end with a euro step to her dominant left side and converted the difficult bucket through traffic. Zoe Brown got in on the action, nailing a 9 foot chip shot from the corner to make it 7-5 HD, but the Dreamers were caught sleeping on the other end as North Laurel scored 2 quick field goals to take the lead 9-7 with 14:18 left, timeout Hoop Dreams. Zoe Brown must like the taste of nylon, because she got a whole bucket full out of the time out, ball game was shortly squared up at 9 before a costly HD turnover resulting in an easy basket for the North Laurel press. The North Laurel press was working as they exploded for a quick 8 putting up North 17-11. The Dreamers caught fire as Scott started looking to get her teammates involved, firing a cross lane pass from the top of the key for an easy Nora Jane layup. North Laurel still finds themselves on top by 7 with 5:15 remaining. This team from Laurel County is experienced, providing a well needed challenge for the Dreamer c/o ‘31 team who normally finds themselves on top at half. Not today, North leads the Dreamers 29-17. The final half started with more of the same from North Laurel, extending the lead to 18 with 17:08 remaining. Reece Brown got scoring started for the Dreams squad with 16:17 remaining in the game, the score is now 37-19 as the Dreamers are searching anywhere for some answers to this high powered North Laurel offense. The Hoop Dreams girls never gave up, fighting hard but were clearly outsized and outmatched physically, give them a year and they will be winning these types of games in the 2031 division. The girls from Laurel County wins this round, in a contest that was decided early, 51-28.