SCRANTON – Periodic updates, with assistance from freelance reporter Ben Magnotta, from Sunday’s action in the third annual KYDA Invitational, presented by Top Tier Events:


SCRANTON – Chris Cornish led balanced scoring and rebounding efforts as NEPA Elite 17U Coyle closed out the third annual KYDA Invitational with an 81-75 victory over the New York Gauchos in a 17U Division Pool A game.

The finale of the two-day event evolved into a physical battle that resulted in 61 combined free throws.

NEPA Elite went 26-for-40 from the line while the Gauchos were 15-for-21.

Cornish had team-high totals of 15 points and 5 rebounds.

NEPA Elite finished 2-2 playing in the prospect-laden highest division of the tournament and outrebounded three of the four opponents despite facing a size disadvantage throughout the weekend. It outrebounded the Gauchos, 31-27.

Mason Fedor and Ryan Nealon scored 13 points each.

Will Marion went 9-for-12 from the line to finish with 12 points, along with a team-high 4 assists and 2 steals.

Connor Cranage scored eight points while Oliver Almonte and Drew Erickson added seven each. Almonte also led the defense with five steals and two blocked shots.

NEPA Elite led by as much as 18 points in the second quarter and 17 in the third.

A.J. Rodriguez, who finished with 22 points, scored 16 points in 6 minutes to rally the Gauchos to within three late.

Isaiah Brown added 15 points and 3 steals. Iowa State commit Dwayne Pierce had nine points and six assists.


SCRANTON – Teams from the New York Rens programs had the best record in 4 of the 11 divisions during the KYDA Invitational.

The Rens 17U EYBL team went 3-0 while the Rens Blue 15U team was 4-0, the Rens United 8th-Grade team was 3-0 and the Rens United 7th-Grade team was also 3-0.

Four NEPA NXT teams, which play out of Riverfront Sports, the site of the most games in the two-day event, went 2-0.

The 2-0 NEPA NXT teams were the C. Joyce 8th-Gradeboys team, Rotell 5th-Grade boys team, Peters 4th-Grade boys team and Coyne 4th-5th-Grade girls teams.


SCRANTON – WeR1 UAA finished 4-0 in the 16U boys division Pool A at the KYDA Invitational.

The team, which includes former Mid Valley player Gabe Tanner on its roster, won two games each day.

WeR1 UAA defeated K-Low Elite, 74-52; Rising Stars of New York, 64-61; Marston Elite 16U Purple, 55-36; and New York Rens EYBL, 68-48.


SCRANTON – Malachi Palmer scored 22 points as the New York Rens EYBL team completed a 3-0 run through Pool A of the 17U boys division at the KYDA Invitational by rallying past the New York Gauchos, 67-62, in an early afternoon game at the John Long Center.

The Gauchos led by 10 until Palmer hit a deep 3-pointer to end the first half.

Tariq Francis added another 3-pointer in the opening seconds of the second half, triggering what became an 15-3 run to a 39-37 lead. Tyler Betsey’s 3-pointer tied it and Francis scored on a drive to put the Rens ahead.

The lead changed hands eight times in the fourth quarterbefore Dylan Harper kept the Rens in front by scoring on consecutive drives, finishing the second with a dunk, for a 63-58 lead with a minute left.

Palmer, a 6-foot-6 guard from Harrisburg, has played high school basketball in three states, most recently at Mt. Zion Prep in Maryland. He had 12 points in the fourth quarter, including hitting two straight3-pointers midway through.

Betsey finished with 14 points, Harper 10 and Francis 9.

The Rens showed their versatility while winning three times in less than 24 hours with three different scoring leaders.

Naasir Cunningham led the way Saturday night and Qingfang Pang was the second-leading scorer Saturday before hitting 25 in Sunday’s first game. They chipped in eight and five points against the Gauchos with Cunningham opening the game on a high-flying, alley-oop dunk.

A.J. Rodriguez scored 21 points to lead the Gauchos. He had nine points in the first quarter to help the team to a 19-12 lead.


SCRANTON – NEPA Elite and New York Rens teams squared off early in the second day of the third annual KYDA Invitational.

The KYDA (Keep Youth Dreams Alive) Invitational was created two years ago by NEPA Elite founder Kevin Clark and Oz Cross from the Rens.

Teams from their AAU clubs met at the University of Scranton’s John Long Center and Riverfront Sports.

Qingfang Pang, one of the major prospects at the event, scored 25 points and grabbed 6 rebounds while leading the Rens 17U EYBL team to a 64-51 victory over the NEPA Elite 17U Coyle team in a 17U Division Pool A game at the Long Center.

Rashad Robinson Jr. scored 19 points to lead New York Rens Blue to a 54-30 victory over NEPA Elite 15U Dempsey in a 15U Pool A game at Riverfront.

Pang, a 6-foot-9 forward from Christ the King in New York, offset a difficult shooting day by some of his teammates.

The 98th-ranked recruit in the country, according to On3 Sports, has offers from Michigan, Illinois, UMass, Oregon, St. John’s and many others.

Pang scored 11 points in the first quarter without missing a shot.

Will Marion gave NEPA Elite its only lead on a deep 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in the first quarter, but Pang answered from 18 feet for a 19-18 lead.

The Rens then held NEPA Elite scoreless for 5:12 to begin the second quarter and allowed just six second-quarter points on the way to a 32-24 halftime lead.

The lead ballooned to 15 twice in the third quarter, but NEPA Elite got within six in the fourth before the Rens scored the game’s last seven points.

Even with missing his last two shots, Pang finished 9-for-12 from the floor, 3-for-4 on 3-pointers and 4-for-4 from the line.

Mason Fedor led NEPA Elite with 16 points. Marion added 12 and Chris Cornish had 10.

Drew Erickson had his second double-figures rebounding game of the weekend with 10 while Cornish and Oliver Almonte grabbed seven each.

NEPA Elite used a 40-25 rebounding advantage to stay within striking distance.

Robinson hit two 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first half when the Rens Blue was taking a 28-9 lead in the 15U game. The Rens ran off 18 straight points to open that lead.

Jacob Canton added 12 points and had two of the team’s seven 3-pointers.

Nate Aviles led NEPA Elite with eight points.

The Rens Blue team had opened the day with an 82-37 rout of Rising Stars New York in another Pool A game at 8 a.m. at Riverfront.

Sunday’s action concludes with a 3:20 p.m. game between the NEPA Elite 17U Coyle team and the New York Gauchos at the Long Center.

Tom Robinson