OSA Crusaders 3SSB and other Adidas shoe circuit teams traveled to Georgia for their first weekend of competitions outside of the metro area. The Exposure Breakout featured Adidas Shoe Circuit AAU teams from across the country and took place at the 12-court LakePoint Championship Center just north of metro Atlanta.
The 15U, or current freshman group, had the most impressive weekend of the three teams from Omaha. A 4-0 weekend in its first action against some of the best teams the Adidas Circuit has to offer was the highlight of the weekend.
OSA 17U 3SSB: Papillion-LaVista South forward Danair Dempsey did all he could to give the undermanned 17U team a victory. Dempsey was aggressive from both inside and outside offensively. He led the team in scoring, averaging 14 points per game. At 6-foot-8, Dempsey can protect the rim and isn’t afraid to challenge players defensively.
OSA 16U 3SSB: Pryce Sandfort (Waukee, Ia.) started the weekend hot on Friday night, scoring 15 of the team’s first 21 points in their first game. At 6-6, Sandfort is a significant threat offensively from beyond the arc. He has a smoothness about his game and an effortless jump shot that you expect to go in every time he lets it fly.
Bellevue West sophomore Josiah Dotzler has had a great start to the AAU season. He’s the team’s best ball handler and generally makes the right decisions with the ball in his hands. He can be physical defensively and plays with next-level pace.
Connor Millikan (Platteview) can fill it up. The jump from Class B basketball in Nebraska to a shoe circuit isn’t too much for Millikan. He handled himself extremely well and attacked the basket similarly to how he plays at Platteview. Millikan rarely lacks for effort and intensity. A true scorer with the ball in his hands, he takes and makes tough shots.
Brennan Clemmons (Lincoln North Star) came up with some big rebounds on both ends of the floor. The team’s only true post player, he battled in the paint against some taller, longer and stronger opponents. He can stretch the defense to beyond the 3-point line and his effort in the paint was a welcome sight. His ability to be physical is just what the heavy-guard-oriented team needs.
OSA 15U 3SSB: The team defense is impressive. If you can’t play hard, particularly defensively, you can’t play for this team. A lot of times in AAU basketball it’s a get-mine mentality. This team shares the ball offensively extremely well and in all four games had balanced scoring.
Millard South forward Will Cooper has made significant strides since the end of the high school season. He’s always been known as a threat from distance, but his post defense and physical play was impressive. It was rare that he wasn’t the first to the floor for a loose ball and he just battled in the paint against, at times, taller, longer and more athletic post players.
The Omaha Westside guard duo of Caleb Benning and CJ Mitchell were as advertised. They’ve played in big games against talented opponents virtually their entire lives. They weren’t the team’s leading scorers in any of the four wins, but they just make game-winning plays. Whether it’s finding open teammates, knocking down clutch free throws or hounding the opponent’s best guards defensively, they seemed to handle whatever came their way.
OSA 15U 3SSB 70, Game Elite (GA) 61
OSA started the game on a 19-0 run. Elite’s first basket came with 10:41 left in the first half. The second half was a different story, though. Elite held OSA scoreless for a large portion of the second half. With the game tied at 59 with 5:17 left, Millard South’s Will Cooper connected on his fourth 3-pointer to give OSA a three-point lead, one they would not relinquish.
Cooper led the team in scoring with 20 points while Jaden Jackson (Bellevue West) scored 13. Caleb Benning (Omaha Westside) had five of his nine points in the second half.
OSA 16U 3SSB 58, Team Florida 54
With 11 seconds left and the game tied, OSA Lincoln North Star forward Brennon Clemmons was fouled on a post move at the basket. Clemmons sank both free throws to give OSA a 56-54 lead. On the ensuing possession, Jaxon Stueve (Bellevue West) took a charge in the lane which stymied Team Florida’s game-tying attempt. Pryce Sandfort (Waukee, Ia) clinched the game with two free throws of his own with 1.1 seconds left.
OSA was led in scoring by Bellevue West guard Josiah Dotzler’s 15 points. Connor Millikan (Platteview) scored nine and Clemmons finished with eight while Tate Odvody (Omaha Westside) and Rylan Smith (Lincoln Southwest) both had seven.
Upward Stars (SC) 72, OSA 17U 3SSB 57
OSA was led by Papillion-La Vista South unsigned senior Daniar Dempsey’s 15 points. Reggie Thomas (Omaha Westside) 13 and PJ Davis (Omaha Central) 11.
OSA 15U 3SSB 71, New World (Washington DC) 61
OSA finished the weekend 4-0 with the win. Another balanced scoring attack led by Omaha Westside forward Kevin Stubblefield’s 10 points, CJ Mitchell (Omaha Westside), Caleb Benning (Omaha Westside) and Rickey Loftin (Omaha South) each scored nine. Will Cooper (Millard South) chipped in eight.
OSA 15U 3SSB 83 Indiana Elite 2024 75
A balanced scoring attack led OSA in its first game of the weekend. Trailing 7-0 early, OSA tied the game at 28 with four minutes left in the first half on a Jaden Jackson (Bellevue West) 3. Auburn guard Maverick Binder connected on three triples in the first half and led the team with nine at the break.
Tied at 41 at the half, OSA extended its lead with a barrage of 3-pointers and forced turnovers. Millard North’s Neal Moser scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half. Jackson also finished with 16 and Binder 15. Marcus Glock (Wahoo), and Kevin Stubblefield were both in double-figures with 10.
Southern Assault (TX) 70, OSA 17U 3SSB 61
Omaha Westside guard Reggie Thomas led the team with 16 points, 14 of which came in the first half. Kyler Ingerwson (Papillion-La Vista) and Danair Dempsey each scored eight.
OSA 15U 3SSB 74 Garner Road Bulldogs – West (NC) 57:
OSA led 39-32 at the half after leading by as many as 15 in the first half. A 39-32 OSA halftime lead ballooned to a 20-point lead in the second half. Jaden Jackson led OSA with 17 and Neal Mosser 15. Stubblefield added 10 and Benning 7.
Team Loaded VA 78, OSA 16U 3SSB 73
Platteview’s Connor Millikan scored 15 of his team-high 20 in the first half but it wasn’t enough for OSA to get the win. Pryce Sandfort scored 10 of his 17 in the second half and hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to cut the Loaded lead to three, 75-72. Loaded would make the ensuing free throws to seal the win. Bellevue West guard Josiah Dotzler finished in double-figures with 11 and Brennon Clemmons (Lincoln North Star) scored eight.
Team Loaded NC 2023 82, OSA 16U 3SSB 63
OSA started slow and couldn’t get any sort or momentum going. Pryce Sandfort led the team with 11 points in the loss. Josiah Dotzler and Connor Millikan each scored nine.
Team Loaded NC 2022 77, OSA 17U 3SSB 63
Omaha Central forward PJ Davis led OSA with 20 points while Danair Dempsey had 15. A six point Loaded 35-29 lead at the half was stretched to 20 plus in the middle of the second half. Unsigned Omaha Bryan senior Jaylin Spears finished with nine and Reggie Thomas seven.
OSA 16U 3SSB 79, Southeast Elite (FL) 74
Pryce Sandfort lit up Atlanta early on Friday night. The 6-6 forward had a game-high 24 points to lead OSA 16U 3SSB in a 79-74 win over Southeast Elite (Fla.).
Sandfort scored 15 of the team’s first 21 points, including four 3-pointers in the game’s first nine minutes. Trailing by double-figures in the first half, Southeast Elite chipped away at the OSA lead and took a 40-38 lead at the half.
Sandfort continued his hot shooting in the second half and Josiah Dotzler scored seven of his 13 in the second half. Connor Millikan finished the game in double-figures with 10 and Westside forward Tate Odvody scored eight.
Game Elite 17U 3SSB 76, OSA 17U 3SSB 50
Reggie Thomas led OSA with 16 points and grabbed six rebounds. Unsigned senior Danair Dempsey (Papillion-La Vista South) finished with a double-double. He had a team-high 13 rebounds and 11 points.
Missing in Action
OSA 17U 3SSB was without two of its better players. Abraham Lincoln (Council Bluffs, Ia.) guard Josh Dix didn’t make the trip due to illness. Dix recently received scholarship offers from Wake Forest, Purdue and Iowa. Ruot Bijiek (West Des Moines Valley), a 6-9 forward, made the trip but didn’t play due to a knee injury.
A 2-2 weekend for the 16U group was a plus considering their head coach, Andy King, didn’t travel with the team due to the birth of his second child.