The 2022 travel season wrapped up last weekend and I finished my summer in Wisconsin for the last day of the Final Chapter where NY2LA Association teams competed for championships, along with programs in the open divisions and multiple showcase games. The semifinals and championship matchups were as good as you could have asked for with exciting back & forth battles. In this piece, I’ll go over the NY2LA Association Champions from the 16U & 17U levels, the Wisconsin Blizzard and MidPro Academy.

17U MidPro Academy
2 July Live Periods, 2 Championships for MidPro as they came out on top at both Best Of The South and The Final Chapter to claim the NY2LA Association Title. This MidPro group might have been my favorite team to watch over the last 4 months and given their success over the last few summers, it was fitting that they ended it with another championship. What has stuck out to me with them is their ability to win both close games and games where they might not be having the best offensive outing. The final of this championship game was 51-48, defeating the Wisconsin Swing after facing a deficit for the majority of the contest.

Each of the MidPro guys knows & understands their role, accepts it, and excels in it. Against the Swing, Brock Harding led the way with his trademark playmaking, stepping up in the 2nd half particularly. He connected on 4 3’s for the game, including the game-winning triple at the buzzer, along with orchestrating everything & helping MidPro to get on track after a slow 1st half. I can’t think of many other PG’s I watched this summer that play with Harding’s type of pace. Fellow Iowa commit Owen Freeman also had a productive day in their 2 games. He was just too big at times for the opposition, demanding constant attention in the paint. The Swing did do a good job of limiting him & placing their defense so his touches weren’t easy, but this helped to free up teammates and Freeman still ended up with close to a double-double.

Although the championship game wasn’t as productive as others during the weekend, overall, Danny Stephens showed once again why he’s an under-recruited prospect who deserves more attention. He came through with a 20-point performance in their Final 4 win and has gotten the job done whenever I watched a MidPro game. Stephens is an efficient 3-point shooter from the wings & corners, brings strength & toughness inside, and hardly need any dribbles to score. Zach Hawkinson and Justin Page fit this label also; they’re guys who should not be forgotten as we enter the fall and are worth getting another look at with their high school programs.

16U Wisconsin Blizzard
Being without 2 key pieces didn’t matter for the Blizzard on Sunday; they battled with only 6 players in action and put together a nice performance to prevail as the 16U NY2LA Association Champions. I had not been able to see their team previously but came away impressed with their resiliency & energy in the final game of a long weekend even with that roster shortage. Their guard play and shooting proved to be crucial in the 2nd half against 3D Empire, resulting in a 60-55 win.

While I just mentioned perimeter production, it was the interior work of Jon O’Neill that stood out early on in this one. For a young 6’8-9” prospect, O’Neill is very mobile and light on his feet. He was all over the offensive glass in the 1st half, converting on putback attempts and creating extra opportunities for the team. His mobility was an asset defensively too as he was able to rotate over and get off the floor quickly for blocks. Although he’s thin, O’Neill wasn’t shying away from contact either. He finished the game with 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

Now focusing on the Blizzard backcourt, Brady Corso and Ty Fernholz combined for 35 of the 60 points with 9 made 3’s between the two. Corso was the leading scorer with 21 points on 5 triples, knocking down some loud perimeter bombs. He has a very high-arcing lefty shot and doesn’t need to be square or on balance when he lets it go. Fernholz showed that he can light it up from deep too, hitting 4 3’s for 14 total points in the game. Both of them connected on important shots in the 2nd half when 3D looked like they were gaining momentum, and there was just an energy & aggression that they displayed on both ends of the floor that made a big impact in leaving Homestead High victorious. I am excited to see this group at the 17U level next year.