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La Salle commit Jones has monster night, a Cinderella run continues at Donofrio Classic semifinals

04/16/2024, 2:15am EDT
By Owen McCue

By Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

College Achieve Academy (N.J.) senior Deuce Jones had never played in the Donofrio Classic during his high school career before Toomey Anderson sent him a text earlier this spring.

Anderson was looking for a point guard on his Team Awesome team with a few of Jones’ former NJ Scholars teammates already on the roster. Jones was in, ready to make the 50-minute drive from Trenton, N.J. to Conshohocken to play in the prestigious event.

“Definitely worth the trip,” Jones said. “Every time I come here, it’s a great crowd, good players. I love competing.”

La Salle commit Deuce Jones plays against Raw Sports last week. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL File)

The La Salle commit made the commute for the third time Monday night for Team Awesome’s semifinal against Marathon-Sport and ensured it was a trip to remember. He poured in 47 points to lead the way in Team Awesome’s 117-110 win that booked a spot in Tuesday night’s championship game at 7:30 p.m. against Positive Image Blue (More on their semifinal win below).

“I wasn’t really worried about the points,” Jones said. “We was just worried about getting the win, so we can play in the chip. This is my first time playing here, so I’m coming out and trying to do big things.”

Jones and Team Awesome trailed 56-48 at halftime despite 15 apiece from Jones and Florida Gulf Coast commit Tristen Guillouette (2024 | George School), who finished with 30 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Even with Northeastern recruit Ryan Williams (2024 | Malvern Prep) going down early in the game with an ankle injury, M-Sport had enough fire power in Miami (Fla.) commit Jalil Bethea (2024 | Archbishop Wood) and Jake West (2025 | Penn Charter) to hold onto an eight-point lead at half. 

Bethea finished with 38 points in the game, while West added 27 and Sadeeq Jackson (2024 | Pottstown) had his best game of the tournament with 12 points. M-Sport, last year’s Donofrio runner-up, looked ready to return to the title game for the second year in a row until the 6:30 mark in the game when Jones tied the game 92-92 with a steal and a slam. He capped a 7-0 Team Awesome run at the 2:32 mark to start pulling away. He was clutch at the line in the game, going 24-of-29 overall and making his first 10 foul shots of the fourth before missing the front end of a one-and-one and fouling out with 34.8 seconds left to prevent a 50-point effort.

“My dad usually knows when I get over there, but he said last time I had 49 and missed the foul shot and same thing happened again,” Jones said. 

Jordan Ellerbee (2025 | St. Joe’s Prep) added 17 for Team Awesome, including arguably the top dunk of a game full of them (He got Guillouette’s and this writer’s vote, while Jones gave the nod to Bethea despite having some worthy slams himself. Milan Dean had one worthy of consideration as well). Jalen Harper (2024 | St. Joe’s Prep), who recently announced his plans to do a postgrad season at the Newman School in Boston and recently received an offer from Penn, added another 15.

Guillouette, who played his sophomore and junior seasons at St. Joe’s Prep, is excited to chase a championship with his former teammates on Tuesday night, which is something he didn’t get to do this winter due to a PIAA ruling that had him finish his career at George School.

“It’s fun playing with Deuce, me and him played AAU together, of course Jalen (Harper) and Jordan (Ellerbee) my old St. Joe's Prep guys,” Guillouette said. “Everyone on our team got talent. It’s really enjoyable playing with good players, they know how to make the right plays and win.”

Guillouette wasn’t a Donofrio first timer like Jones entering this season’s tournament. However, his only appearance with Team Awesome in 2022 ended with a one-and-done run, so he’s also soaking in the ride as a way to close out his high school career with a championship.

“Us seniors haven’t played a game since February and we won’t play another one until next November,” Guillouette said. “It gives us seniors a little last high school moment before we go off to college.”


Game Two: Positive Image Blue 98, Friends of Dave Oldfield 93

TJ Bryson (2025 | Penn Charter) came into the Donofrio Classic hoping to build some chemistry with the guys he was set to play AAU with this summer by getting an extra game or two under their belts.

Four wins later, Byrson and and his Positive Image Blue teammates are just one win away from a prestigious Donofrio Classic championship.

A core chunk of the BW Elite program’s 17U teamed up together as Positive Image Blue on March 26 for an opening round win on the second day of the Donofrio Classic. They keep racking up wins, using a 98-93 victory over Friends of Dave Oldfield on Monday night to earn at spot in the title game against Team Awesome on Tuesday.

“I didn’t expect to come this far, but we’re making it, came to get the chip, so hopefully we get the job done,” Bryson said. 

Friends Select junior Jalen Chiles was one of Monday's stars for Positive Image Blue. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

Abrahaman Coulibaly  (2024 | West Philadelphia), who is doing a prep year at Avon Old Farms School, continued an eyeopening start to his spring, finishing with 17 points, including 15 in the second half. Jalen Chiles (2025 | Friends Select), who was one of the ones floating alley oops lobs to Coulibaly, and Byrson both added 16 with Saaid Lee (2025 | West Catholic) and Fazl Oshodi (2024 | Friends’ Central) chippining in 13 each.

Friends of Dave Oldfield led 44-42 at halftime as Owen McCabe (2024 | Lower Merion) and Jaden Murray (Archbishop Ryan) combined for 21 points. McCabe had 15 and Murray 18 in the game. Positive Image Blue started the second half strong to go up double digits, 62-50. 

Adam Herrenkohl (2024 | Lower Merion), who chose to cheer his high school teammates on as a spectator in the stands during Friends of Dave Oldfield’s first two games of the tournament, had 19. He put his team up 70-69 with a little more than 10 minutes to play, but Positive Image Blue rallied with nine of the game’s next 12 points to retake control of the game and never relinquish it.

“It’s all about playing through adversity,” said Chiles, who was one of five players who played all 40 minutes in a quarterfinal win over NEPA Elite. “Every team goes on a run, so there’s no need to rush or panic. We just get together, slow down and reset.”

Coulibaly, Chiles, Lee, Kam Waters (2025 | Springside Chestnut Hill) and Brandon Williams (2025 | West Philadelphia) are the Positive Image players who also played AAU together last spring for BW Elite. Oshodi won’t play with them this AAU season, but Bryson is one of the new additions along with Ahmeil McLaurin (2026 | Friends Select) and Matt Johnson (2026 | Archbishop Ryan).

There’s a palpable chemistry amongst the squad that’s been on display throughout the tournament.

“We all love each other,” Chiles said. “We all want to see each other win, so it’s easy to just play for each other. We all want to score. We all want to play defense. … We like to win.”

The official tip off to the boys AAU season is this weekend with BW Elite traveling to Pittsburgh for the Hoop Group Pitt Jam Fest to kick off the April live period.

A Donofrio title would be a nice confidence booster before playing in front of college coaches.

“I definitely think we’re getting that chemistry up, and hopefully in Pittsburgh this weekend it will all gel together,” Bryson said.

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