Suwanee, GA – Cal Sparks Gold of Los Angeles and Spiece Indy Gym Rats of Indianapolis will face off in less than two hours for the FILA Nationals Championship, after both won their semifinal game last night.
Relative unknowns Spiece took out Kentucky Premier to advance. Cal Sparks Gold defeated the Jacksonville Lady Rams, 68-54 in a dominating performance that surprised many.
The Lady Rams come from a private school and play nationally year-round. They forego a regular high school season to play tournaments and events, so they know each other very well. They had been thought by many at this tournament to have the most complete overall play of any team.
Yet last night, Cal Sparks Gold took control of the game early on. The Lady Rams literally charge at their opponents, using an aggressive, attack-style defense. On offense, they have the same attacking mentality. But Gold point guard Ariya Crook-Williams repeatedly broke their two-woman traps, sliding or spinning through, and other teammates battled back under the basket and away from it. Crook-Williams hit three consecutive three-shots in the second half, which effectively buried the Rams into a hole from which they couldn’t emerge. Crook-Williams had to take full charge after the team’s other PG, Chante Miles, was injured early in the first half.
Gold has dominated opponents that spectators didn’t expect them to. Their performance has been even more impressive because they have only eight of their 12-woman roster; one player was injured three weeks ago, one had a medical appointment this week and two elected not to come.
“The chemistry of this team right now is unbelievable,” Cal Sparks Coach and Director Elbert Kinnebrew said.
Spiece has quietly advanced up the ladder themselves, beating lesser-named but quality opponents. As they’re relatively unknown, a scouting report is hard to come by.
The two teams face off at 10:50 a.m. PDT/1:50 p.m. EDT.