Rivalry Restored at CNIT: DC United VS Grassroots Elite
The heated rivalry between DC United and Grassroots Elite added a new chapter on Sunday in the U13 Finals at CNIT. Grassroots Elite won this round, defeating DC United 72-71 in overtime.
Player of the game, Kole Scott filled the cup with 29 points for Grassroots Elite, including a huge four-point play to help his team complete the comeback in the fourth quarter. DJ Jackson also added a strong 17 points for Grassroots.
Leading the way for DC United and the game was Isaiah Adams, pouring in an incredible 34 points.
The rivalry between these two teams started in May during the CYBL Finals when Grassroots Elite defeated DC United. When they met again at the Top Gun Tournament Final, DC took home the trophy. To add fuel to the fire, Kole Scott played for DC until CNIT to play for Grassroots.
Let the rubber match begin.
DC United looked like the better team to start the game and jumped out to an early lead. They were moving the ball well and had Adams playing at a top tier level.
The Durham City athletic guard attacks, attacks and attacks more. He never allows the defence to fall asleep, with his quick dribble moves Adams got to the rim and finished consistently.
Grassroots had many chances to close the gap but countless second chance opportunities at the rim were just being missed.
Jackson and Scott were able to get the Grassroots offence clicking. The 5’11 Jackson hit an elbow jumper and stepped out to knock down a three ball. Scott used his grit and ability to get to the basket and finish through traffic to score 10 points in the half.
Just as Grassroots got going, DC stepped it up a notch. Jaden Clayton was facilitating on an elite level all tournament and he was able to find Adams for a three to cap an 8-2 DC run. Adams finished with 15 points in the half.
After a much needed timeout, Grassroots ended the half strong and got themselves back in the game once again, but another big time Adams three-pointer gave DC a 31-29 lead at the break.
Two teams that don’t like each other battling it out, the second half got highly emotional and physical. The whistle-flooded second half was a result of this.
DC remained in the lead but Scott began to leave his mark on the game. The 5’5 guard was attacking fearlessly and making mid-range jumpers.
Then one of the more controversial and possible game changing whistles in the game happened. DC United’s Kaleb Birch took a knee due to an injury just as Grassroots had inbounded the ball, and were on their way to an easy fast break bucket. The decision on that play is up to the referee’s discretion whether to stop the play or not. In this case, he blew the whistle to end the play.
A very emotional stoppage ensued and lit a fire under the Grassroots players and coaching staff. On the very next play Elijah Fisher went straight to the rim with a nice spin move in the lane and scored through contact.
Grassroots carried that momentum to take the lead and keep it with two minutes remaining.
The two teams went back and forth trading the lead and the Adams VS Scott battle took over.
Adams made three free throws and gave DC a 61-58 lead, but he missed one, leaving the door open for Scott to pull off one of the best plays in CNIT history.
With just under 30 seconds left, Scott takes and makes a deep three with the whistle blowing. Splash plus the foul! Scott makes the free throw to complete the four point play and put Grassroots up by one.
On the next possession, Clayton can only tie it at the charity stripe and the teams trade baskets again to make it 63-63 and send this heated affair into overtime.
Scott absolutely dominated the overtime period making back to back And-1 plays at the bucket to put his Grassroots team in the lead for good.
Adams tried to claw DC back, making a difficult lay-up contorting his body to just get the shot up but Scott was able to ice the game at the free throw line. Grassroots takes the rubber match 72-71 to win the U13 Final at the third annual CNIT.