LIHUE — Elijah Leslie of Dream Hoops Elite grabbed a critical rebound with 4.4 seconds showing Sunday at the Island School gym.
He followed that grab with a pair at the 2.9-second mark to give Dream Hoops Elite a 35-32 edge over the Upcountry Elite of Maui for the Division I title in the 2013 Merv Lopes Hoops Classic.
Coming back from a 16-19 halftime deficit, the Dream Hoops — seeded No. 3 in the finals — got two treys from Christopher Dillard, a field goal and a 5-7 showing at the free throw line for 23 points to lead the comeback win.
The Upcountry Elite — seeded No. 4 in the championship bracket — used the three ball to its advantage by dropping a total of four — two in the first half — to gain the upper hand while its tenacious defense worked to stymie the Dream Hoops.
Chase Bartolme, leading the charge for Upcountry Elite with 13 points in the title effort, dropped one trey in the game. Guard Jansen Agapaly launched two from outside the three-point line, and Elijah Engoring finished with one in the second half toward his game-total five points.
Coming off the halftime break, the Dream Hoops adjusted for the Upcountry defense by opening up with scores from Kevin Ng, who got four second-half points, and Elijah Leslie, who bagged four of his game-total six points in the second half, including the final charity pair to ice the nail-biting win.
Leading to the title match, the No. 4 Upcountry Elite upset top seeded Team Central,46-38, to advance, while the third seed Dream Hoops upset the No. 2 Aiea Blazers, 60-40, to advance to the title matchup.
Aiea Blazers — the No. 2 seed in Division 2 — got past the No. 4 seed Upcountry Kings of Maui, 38-32, for the Division 2 title.
The Honolulu Sharks-Green — top seeded in Division 3 — took out the Honolulu Sharks-Black — third seeded in the division — for that championship with a 52-38 win.
The Division 1 Kauai Ballers, despite its opening loss 43-53 to Upcountry Elite on Thursday, chipped back to end in the semifinals of the Consolation Bracket where they advanced following a 56-51 edge over the Upcountry Kings-Black.
The Kauai Ballers finished runner up in the consolation bracket after dropping to the Upcountry Kings-Red, 28-37.
The 2013 Merv Lopes Hoops Classic, hosted by the Team Central program, unfolded from Thursday with games being played at the Kauai High School gym and the Island School gym through the championships on Sunday.
“It’s good to be able to watch these young coaches work the games,” said Phil Baclayon, the Kapaa High School boys basketball coach as well as coach of the Hanakila program, while watching the Division I matchup.
It was a crazy weekend of basketball, one spectator commented.
Coach Willie Aki of the Kauai Ballers was going back and forth between Lihue and the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center where the Kaulupono Summer Bash was taking place.
He had his daughter Jessi, who is home from college where she is playing basketball, help coach the Kauai Ballers girls team at the tournament.
Visit www.tcb808.com for full results of all division games and brackets at the tournament.