LOUISVILLE — Kinnon LaRose’s statistics have dropped somewhat since he recorded 18 points and 15 rebounds in the opener of the AAU National Basketball Championship at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
But he is still making an impact at different stages of the games for the Albany City Rocks, who climbed to 4-0 with an impressive 67-59 victory over the CIA Bounce on Saturday night.
The national tournament resembles the format of the Wimbledon Tennis Championship in England. One hundred teams in 11th Grade Division I start out playing all over the 18-court complex.
They have one goal to reach center court on Monday for the national championship, game which will be televised nationally on ESPN 3.
The City Rocks stand three games away after moving into the final 16 on Saturday. They look to lower the magic number to two today as they play at noon.
In Saturday’s game LaRose, an OFA senior who earned Class B All-State honors as a junior, sparked the last lead change of the game. He buried two 3-pointers as the City Rocks erased a 5-2 deficit, took a 14-11 lead and opened a 32-22 halftime lead with LaRose connecting on a three from beyond NBA range in the closing seconds of the second quarter.
LaRose scored all of his nine points by netting three straight first half threes. He did not score in the second half and missed his only 3-point attempt, but he was part of a stellar defensive effort against a CIA Bounce squad that represented one of the premier AAU programs in the country.
That same type of defense produced a 53-35 win over the Florida Tar Heels on Friday.
Earlier wins came against GBoyz of Michigan 78-55 and the Ohio Cougars 64-61.