KC area hoops teams sweep inaugural Jr. NBA World Championships
Kansas City area basketball teams Drive5 Power Elite and KC Prodigy finished off a dominant week of hoops with victories in the world championships games of the Jr. NBA World Championships on Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
Drive5 Power Elite, which includes Shawnee natives Damar’e Smith and Adrian Dimond, topped Africa & Middle East, 60-50, to take home the boys world title. Shawnee native Gabi Henderson-Artis helped KC Prodigy roll to a 68-38 win over Europe in the girls world championship game.
Smith — who will be a freshman at Shawnee Mission Northwest — scored five points and dished out one assist. Dimond — a future Mill Valley freshman — netted all eight of his points in the tournament in pool play. Drive5 Power Elite finished the tournament with a record of 7-0.
The post combo of Grandview freshman-to-be Taj Manning (20 points, 14 rebounds) and Bishop Miege future freshman Mark Mitchell Jr. (15 points, 14 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles in the world championship game. St. Thomas Aquinas freshman-to-be Cooper Jackson added 10 points. Joining Manning, Mitchell Jr., Jackson, Smith and Dimond on the boys world championship squad were Jordan Brown (Lansing), Quinton Conley (Kansas City, Mo.), Gradey Dick (Wichita), Mozae Downing-Rivers (Lawrence) and Aidan Shaw (Overland Park).
“That’s what they deserve. They’ve always been winners,” Drive5 Power Elite coach Allen Skeens said in a postgame interview. “They can to Disney World and they got that storybook finish they were looking for. I’m just so proud of them. I love these kids.”
Henderson-Artis — who will take her talents to Bishop Miege — tallied seven points, an assist and a rebound in the girls world championship game. KC Prodigy had three players score in double figures between Sania Copeland (Kansas City, Kan.), S’mya Nichols (Overland Park) and Tasia Johnson (Greenwood, Mo.). Copeland poured in a team-high 20 points. Nichols and Johnson added 13 and 12, respectively. The rest of the KC Prodigy roster included Brooklyn Rhodes (St. Louis, Mo.), Tiyani Rollins (Kansas City, Mo.), Saniya Simmons (Kansas City, Kan.) and Cierra Smith (Grandview, Mo.).
“Preparing all summer and actually getting to showcase what these kids can do in front of the world, that’s what it means to me,” KC Prodigy coach Sam Johnson said in a postgame interview.