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May 1, 2006

Houston Hoops captures Las Vegas title

Houston Hoops isn't just one of the nation's most talented AAU teams, it is also one of the deepest.

That became obvious at the Las Vegas Spring Showcase this weekend. A handful of players helped carry Houston Hoops to the 17-under title on Sunday night.

The 17-under field included 102 teams, the largest of any event this past weekend.

Houston Hoops rolled to a 61-41 win over the Miami Tropics in the championship game behind three players that scored in double figures.

Jai Lucas dished out a game-high 12 assists and finished with 13 points. Gary Johnson returned from a groin injury and had a double-double of his own with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Mike Singletary led the team with 17 points.

Playing without Johnson in the semifinals, Houston cruised to another 61-41 win over Branch West Reebok. Houston led the entire game.

Lucas led the way once again with 14 points and seven assists. Singletary finished with 14 points and six rebounds and Tommy Mason-Griffin - the first freshman to start for Houston in more than 20 years - added 10 points and six steals. Anthony Jones and Isaiah Rusher helped provide an inside presence with Johnson sidelined and sophomore Corbin Ray came off the bench to make some key plays.

"Jai was outstanding throughout the entire event and Gary was unstoppable for stretches," tournament director Hal Pastner said. "But it truly was a team effort. The younger players really stepped up and played some big roles."

The Tropics proved they are a dangerous team without O.J. Mayo, Rivals.com's top-rranked prospect from the class of 2007, who joined them temporarily for the Houston Kingwood Classic last week.

Trailing by 20 points with 13 minutes left to the H-Squad, the Tropics put together a furious rally and pulled out a 61-58 win.

The California Cavs captured the 17-under gold title and the San Diego All-Stars captured the 16-under silver title.

California Hoops won the 16-under gold title and Club Vegas took home the silver title.

The NM Force took the 15-under gold title and the Colorado Fellas won the sliver title.

The tournament marked the end to the Vision Sports Trifecta, three tournaments in three weeks.

The SoCal All-Stars captured the Las Vegas Easter Classic and Houston Kingwood Classic titles. The HKC had the largest field ever in an AAU tourney with more than 600 teams according to Pastner.


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