Team Liberty Ballers advanced to the Super 17 of The Basketball Tournament on Sunday with a convincing 85-73 win over the Georgetown-studded team, DMV’s Finest.
Now only four wins away from $1 million in this 5-on-5, single-elimination, winner-take-all tournament, this squad of home-grown Philly talent, which includes Villanova’s Reggie Redding and Antonio Pena as well as Temple’s Ryan Brooks and St. Joseph’s Garrett Williamson, has their eyes on the ultimate prize.
“Over the years we’ve really developed that pride and Philly toughness,” Redding said. “Our mentality is to protect our house and to keep winning for the people of this city.”
Redding is the team’s leading scorer through two games. He’s averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 assists, while displaying his impressive shooting ability which made him such a threat for the Wildcats. Pena has added 14.5 points per game, while Siena’s Ryan Rossiter has averaged nearly a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
“We’re all back from playing professional and it brings back memories of the battles we had all the way back to high school for a lot of us,” Brooks said. “To come back here and to show the country how far we’ve come as players together is always fun.”
Liberty Ballers will now head to Chicago to play the winner of Boeheim’s Army and 20th & Olney, in a potential Philly matchup in the Super 17, starting July 23.
20th & Olney features former La Salle players Jerrell Wright, Tyreek Duren and Tyrone Garland who were a part of the Explorers Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament in 2013. Boeheim’s Army is a Syracuse-based team with Philly native Hakim Warrick, Demetris Nichols and Eric Devendorf among others.
“We know both of those teams and we’ve played with a lot of those guys and are familiar with a lot of those guys,” Redding said. “It would be crazy to play either of those teams. It will add even more intensity to the game.”
Brooks speaks on The Basketball Tournament:
“It’s caught everyone’s attention now when you say TBT or the Tournament. People know what it is and they know what it’s all about. It’s really on the come up and it’s something that we all look forward to playing in, in the summer time.”