SSA Elite, featuring four Topeka class of 2019 players, went undefeated and took home the 14U championship at the Memorial Day Run N Slam tournament in Fort Wayne, Ind.
SSA Elite went 5-0 at the event, which featured 26 teams in the 14U division across six different states including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Kansas.
Levi Braun (No. 25) led the team in scoring during the tournament including pouring in 27 points in the championship game. Jordan White (no. 54), Trey Duffey (No. 41), and Charlie Roeder (No. 20) also helped SSA Elite to the title.
After winning their first two pool play games by a total of 59 points, SSA Elite defeated the Dayton Elite 66-55 and the Hybrid Elite 71-61 before advancing to the championship game against Reach Detroit All-Stars and coming away with a commanding 73-56 win in the championship game.
“They really started to come together as a team and they definitely learned their roles and this weekend was their best weekend by far,” said Will Spradling, who recently starred at Kansas State. “They played hard the whole tournament and played great together.”
Braun is a 6-foot shooting guard who is headed to Topeka West this fall. He averaged 17.8 points in the tournament. He also scored 22 points in the semifinal game and 20 in the quarterfinals.
“Levi is definitely a great player,” Spradling said. “The biggest thing with him is he is almost too passive and I felt like this tournament he really understood when he had mismatches and when it was his time to go. He didn’t really force anything. He also took the advantages that he needed to take.”
Braun will be looking to make an immediate impact as a freshman for the Chargers.
“I would be very surprised if by the end of the high school season that he’s not a key player on their varsity team,” Spradling said. “He’s such a great player and he does it on both sides of the floor. He’s someone that will be hard not to play at that level. His work ethic, coachability, and attitude is going to allow him to go so far.”
White usually plays with PowerGroup, but joined SSA Elite for the weekend and the future Washburn Rural guard had a solid tournament averaging 9.2 points a game and came on strong scoring 28 in the final two games.
“It was his first tournament with us, but the way he plays and how he’s such a team player it was like he had been playing with us all spring,” Spradling said. “He just fit in so well. He really helped us out especially handling the ball. We really handled the ball and didn’t have a lot of turnovers and he was one of the key reasons why.”
Duffey, a small forward who is headed to Seaman, provided a key role averaging 6.2 points a game including 13 in the quarterfinal victory.
“You always know what you’re going to get from Trey, he’s always going to play hard and he’s always going to crash the boards,” Spradling said. “He’s just one of those players that’s always going to give 110 percent and he’s really starting to develop all the way around defensively and offensively.”
Roeder, a future Hayden guard, also filled a role and chipped in nine points in the championship game.
“He has been great for us,” Spradling said. “He isn’t one of our key scorers and he understands that. He does his role. He comes in and plays hard on the defensive end and this weekend he came in and knocked down some huge shots for us. I think he went 5-for-7 from the 3-point line this weekend. He shot the ball at a high level and he really stepped up and made plays when we needed him to.”
SSA Elite also features future Shawnee Heights guard Tyce Brown, who did not play in the tournament due to an injury.
The team will take time off to allow players to play with their respective schools throughout the month of June before reconvening in July and playing in the Great American Shootout in Dallas (July 16-19), the KC Hardwood Classic (July 23-26), and the MAYB Nationals in Wichita (July 30-Aug. 2.)