Jul. 23—NORTH AUGUSTA — The action on the hardwood this week at North Augusta's Riverview Park Activities Center isn't limited to only the boys.
The girls are back in town.
Nike Nationals has made its long-awaited return to North Augusta, with the premier girls' Nike Elite Youth Basketball teams coming back to the area after their 2017 departure for Chicago.
There are 32 teams in both the 17U and 16U competitions, with games also taking place at the Augusta Convention Center.
Teams wrapped up pool play Thursday night, with bracket play beginning Friday. Like the boys, the girls are scheduled to crown a champion Sunday.
For the 17Us, Cal Stars (Pool A), Missouri Phenom (Pool C), Philly Rise (Pool E), Carolina Flames (Pool F) and Cy Fair (Pool G) all made it through pool play at 3-0 to secure top seeds. Winning their pools with 2-1 records were Boo Williams (Pool B), Exodus (Pool D) and Michigan Crossover (Pool H).
Unbeaten 17U boys keep rolling
Five unbeaten 17U boys' teams remain heading into the final day of pool play, during which each team will play twice. The top two teams from each pool will advance to Saturday morning's quarterfinals.
Brad Beal Elite continues to impress in Pool A. The No. 8 team in The Circuit's EYBL Top 25 moved to 3-0 this week with a 69-48 over MOKAN Elite on Thursday, setting up a Friday morning showdown with Pool A's other unbeaten. That's fourth-ranked ProSkills, which defeated JL3 78-67 to improve to 3-0.
Pool B is without an undefeated team after seventh-ranked Team Durant suffered a surprising 75-45 loss to Boo Williams. Team Durant, UPLAY Canada and top-ranked Meanstreets are all tied atop the pool at 2-1, and Team Durant and Meanstreets will square off Friday afternoon.
Eleventh-ranked E1T1 United is still breezing through Pool C, beating Team Thad 74-61 to get to 3-0. Still remaining are games against 2-1 Phenom U and 3-0 NY Renaissance, which won 60-57 over Indy Heat in Thursday's nightcap.
Second-ranked Team Final secured another tight victory Thursday to stay unbeaten, sneaking past Team CP3 76-74. Team Final's total margin of victory through three games is seven points, yet that's more than enough to be the only 3-0 team in Pool D. Up next Friday are 1-2 NJ Scholars and 2-1 New Heights Lightning.
Positive COVID-19 tests sideline prospects
Some of the country's top prospects, and at least one team, won't finish out the week at Peach Jam due to positive COVID-19 tests, according to a report in The New York Times by Billy Witz and Adam Zagoria.
According to the report, NY Renaissance 6-foot-11 forward Kyle Filipowski, ESPN's 20th-ranked player in the Class of 2022, and Albany City Rocks 6-4 guard J.J. Starling, ranked 38th by ESPN, were sidelined after positive tests.
Additionally, Witz and Zagoria reported that Strive For Greatness, which has been coached by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and features his son Bronny, pulled out of Peach Jam following Thursday night's game against Emoni Bates and Bates Fundamentals.