Superior point guard play and overall team size closing things down defensively powered Championship Sports Gold to the 15U title of the seventh-annual Up North Challenge. They got by APT in the semifinals and then the West Michigan Lakers in the final both with relative ease.
- 15U All-Tournament
- Isaiah Bridges 6-4 Fr Program by GWE (Midland)
- Will Eldred 5-9 Fr APT (Otsego)
- Nate Flannery 5-8 Fr Champ Sports (DeWitt)
- Louis Irrer 6-1 Fr Champ Sports (St. Johns Home School)
- Ben Leeka 6-2 Fr West Michigan Lakers (Holland)
It starts at the point for Championship Sports Gold, with Nate Flannery a 5-8 freshman from DeWitt. The time he’s put into his game is apparent in how well he already executes the mundane but crucial, such as the spin and velocity on his passes. Too many guards are just chucking it because all their scoring avenues are blocked, whereas Flannery has a plan and intent and made Champ Sports’ plethora of shooters that much better. Good both pushing it or when the game slowed down. Would like to see him operate the left side of the floor as readily as the right, and get a more consistent shot.
Chief among said shooters was Louis Irrer, a 6-1 freshman from St. Johns Home School. He was money with the corner three-pointer and also cut well to get opportunities inside the arc too. Champ Sports has depth up front with 6-5 Pewamo-Westphalia freshman Andre Smith; 6-1 Gaylord freshman Blake Charboneau was playing on two bad ankles but still had enough athleticism and toughness to produce; and 6-3 McBain freshman Garrett VerBerkmoes came off the bench to block shots and get tough rebounds in traffic.
There were two standout point guards in Championship Sports’ semifinal win, Flannery and APT’s Will Elred, who could be the next Jared Klein out of Otsego. He’s one of the smoothest three-point shooters in the 2019 class and will also defend.
Making the all-tournament teams was one of the top prospects in the 15U field, 6-4 Isaiah Bridges of The Program presented by GreenWood Elite, who is transferring from Kalamazoo Central to Midland. Bridges has a solid post game for his age plus the vision and touch to 15 that suggest a versatile future. He led The Program to wins over Champ Sports in pool play and the Mustangs in the knockout round before falling to the Lakers in the semifinals.