KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Ian Steere was sick of coming up short in the biggest games.
In his last two championships – Under Armour Association title and high school state title – Steere failed to close the deal.
“That’s the worst feeling in the world,” said Steere, a Creighton commit said. “To get there and then not finish it off… You work so hard to get there and then it’s over. I couldn’t let that happen again.”
In the waning seconds of the AAU Super Showcase Gold Division title game, Steere drained a heavily contested turnaround jump shot in the post to lift Team Charlotte (N.C.) past Boo Williams (Va.) 50-48 Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
It was Team Charlotte’s second consecutive AAU Super Showcase title.
“Coach Jeff (McInnis) asked me if I wanted to take the last shot,” said Steere, who gave his game shoes away to a younger player in the program after the win. “Who wouldn’t want that opportunity? So I screened down and got the ball with just enough time for one dribble and to get that shot off. I knew it was good as soon as I let it go. That was my first game winner. I can’t even describe how good it feels!”
Team Charlotte had to work its way back into the game from the opening tip.
Boo Williams held a commanding 10-point cushion for most of the first half, but Team Charlotte turned up its defensive pressure in the third quarter forcing five turnovers and turning that into eight points to cut the lead to one, 39-38.
It finally took the lead, 44-41, on Kody Shubert’s three-pointer with 4:45 left in regulation.
Zion Harmon answered for Boo Williams draining a three-pointer to tie the game at 48 with just 26.6 seconds left, but Steere’s turnaround sealed the game for Team Charlotte.
“The play didn’t go exactly the way I drew it up, but the guy I ran it for got it and made a great shot,” McInnis said. “I’m proud of the kids and how hard they worked. I told them that 25 years ago I was playing while Boo Williams was coaching and now I’m here coaching against him. That was special for me because I have a lot of respect for him. He’s the godfather of AAU.”
The game also had an underlying sneaker war storyline.
Boo Williams is one of the top teams on the Nike EYBL, which most consider the toughest shoe circuit of them all, and Team Charlotte is one of the top teams on the Under Armour Association.
“We’ve got a little bragging rights after this one,” said Team Charlotte wing Aaron Wiggins, a Maryland commit. “Everyone says Nike EYBL is the best circuit, but the Under Armour teams play better defense and we play together as a team. Whether we have top players or unknown players we compete hard. This win should show the country what we’re all about.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY