From Frank Burlison: "Bob Gottlieb's team in upset of summer, 70-54 over oakland soldiers"
Here is a video of the matchup -- the game begins just after the seven minute mark so fast forward it.
Gottlieb posted this at the So Cal Hoops Mens Message Forum:
It was a heck of a tournament. There were numerous divisions within the Las Vegas Fab 48, but the top division was the Invitational Division. This included 48 of the top teams in the USA, by invitation only.
Branch West Elite opened its Invitation Pool Schedule, with a very difficult and challenging three games. There were no easy games whatsoever.
Our first game was against the Las Vegas Lakers which included 6'9" Roscoe Allen and 6'8" Ben Carter both of Bishop Gorman H.S. Both are being recruited hi major at the Pac 12 level.
Early on we trailed 9-0 before we tightened things up. Using a stunting man to man defense, we fought our way back in the game, led at the half, and then coasted to a 25 pt win.
Second game we trailed an excellent Team Jones from Seattle, and we trailed 19-4 before we settled in to come back and win going away, by close to 30 pts. Again, a stunting, pressing, trapping defense got us back into the game.
In our 3rd game of pool play, against a talented and vey coached Wisconsin Swing team, we again fell behind 18-4 before we woke up and fought our way back to lead at the half by three points. Again the stunting defense came through for us. However, we seemed to tire in the second half and had a hard time scoring and lost by 16 pts.
The next day, the first day of "Bracket Court Play" we found ourselves playing the #1 seeded Drew Gooden Oakland Soldiers. They had won the Fab 48 a year ago, and were the #1 ranked team in California this year and #3 in the USA.
With an overflow of college coaches in attendance, it was a superb game overall with not more than 3 or 4 points separating the teams throughout.
With Oakland having athletes up front that are likely to be NBA Lottery candidates after one year in college, we went to a softer, help oriented defense. We fronted the posts. If the ball went in, we double them down low.
We played soft on the perimeter, took away the baseline, and kept our offside and help defense in tight to eliminate the driving seams.
In essence we wanted to force them to beat us from outside.
They are a great team. But every great team can be beat on a given night. Their perimeter players were equally athletic and impressive, but not consistent outside shooters. Furthermore, we emphasized, blocking out and bring our guards back to rebound.
We also emphasized all three of our perimeter players being back as soon as we shot the ball, to take away their fast break.
With 6 minutes left we had a five pt lead and got fouled and one of their players expressed his displeasure at the call, and was slapped with a technical foul.
We made 3/4 free throws and got the ball, and that seemed to change things dramatically. We began to spread the court which forced them to foul and we normally have a very god free throw shooting team and we hit every free throw down the stretch.
Once they were playing catch up, they began to shoot long jumpers, which only sealed their fate, and was responsible for the large margin 70-54 at the end.
They are a superb team, loaded with big time hi majors, but on that day, in that game, we did manage to beat them. It was our second signature win. Beating Belmont Shores badly last week in Dinos' Cream of the Crop was equally satisfying. Had them by 18 in the middle of the second half.
Whereas the win over the Oakland Soldiers has to be one of our sweetest AAU wins, it still is a distant second to when Branch West beat UCLA in a college exhibition game 92-67 (Steve Lavin) played at Pauley Pavilion, in 2003
Our top six players are all being recruited at the NCAA D1 level, several of them will likely have over 50 offers each.
After beating the Soldiers, we beat a very good Play Hard Play Smart team from Sacramento by over 20. The game was over at 11:30 pm .
It made it very difficult to play your best the next morning at 11:30 am. Not only that, we had to play the Wisconsin Swing, who had already beaten us by 16 points in pool play.
We teach our kids that if you play great team defense that you always have a chance to win. We did play tremendous defense and held Wisconsin Swing to just 45 pts. However, where normally, we are a tremendous perimeter shooting team, we could not buy an outside jumper, the whole game, but still had a very good shot to win.
Ended up Wisconsin Swing 45 Branch West Elite 44 in OT.
It was a terrific weekend and I could not be prouder of a great group of kids.