The Lair Set for the Pro-Am Finals

By Steve DiMiceli

If you haven't made it out to Greentree to see the PBC Pro-Am, tomorrow would be a good time. For one thing, it will be your last opportunity. For another, The Lair, led by four Dukes will be playing in the championship game after dismantling #1 seeded South Hills Audi 108-90.

I arrived a little late tonight and I was surprised to see a near double digit lead for The Lair when I walked into the gym. They got it up as high as fourteen before Audi went on a strong run to tie it by the half, 52-52. Both teams came out shooting the ball hot, but The Lair managed to keep it up for almost the entire game hitting 50% of their 3's and 53% from the floor. It was tight for about the first 10 minutes of the second half with Audi leading the way early but when I looked up with five minutes left, The Lair led by double digits again.

The Lair got strong performances from each of the team's Dukes. Jeremiah Jones was particularly strong dropping 29 points. When they needed a big basket, it felt like Jeremiah provided it and he played the strongest summer game I've seen from him. He was an efficient shooter and ran the offense with Desmond Ridenour on the bench. He was active on the glass grabbing 9 rebounds and was a perfect 6 for 6 from the free throw line.

Ovie Soko had a bit of trouble finishing in the first half but got to the line a ton tonight. He cleaned it up and was nearly perfect in the second half. He had a scary moment late in the game when he drew a blocking foul as he dunked high over Josh Taylor. His legs went out from underneath him and he did a face plant hard to the floor. Thankfully, he got up quickly and showed no signs of the big fall on the ensuing free throw. All and all, it was just another night at the Pro - Am for him with a 27 point and 14 rebound double double performance.

Ridenour's late tournament breakout continued as he dropped another 16 points and played tough defense against the bigger, stronger Lance Jeter. He was getting into passing lanes and forcing turnover as well as fighting through screens to hassle the former Nebraska guard all evening long. Ridenour scored in a variety of ways; catch and shoot, pull up, dribble drive, fade away. They were all working for him tonight. He also had 6 assists to only 1 turnover. They don't keep track of steals, but he had at least 3 of those.

LG Gill had his first night shooting under 50%, but managed to flash a play making side of his game we've yet to see. He handled the ball more often grabbing the rebound and heading up court with it several times. He dished out 4 assists bringing his total to 5 for the entire league. Just as impressive was his 0 turnovers. Gill finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds.

I jokingly tweeted this afternoon that I was close to upgrading my outlook for the 2013-14 season from "cautious" to "cautiously optimistic." This game pushed me another step in that direction. I get that it's summer league, but when one clear starter, one likely starter and two guys who I didn't expect to play much dismantle a team composed of college grads and veteran European professionals, you have to take notice.