By Tom Robinson
The JB Hoops National girls team is at the McCormick Place in Chicago for the Nike Tournament of Champions Wednesday through Friday.
JB Hoops is competing for the title of the Prague Division, one of 58 groups of 12 teams at the national championship event.
The Prague Division is split into A and B Pools for five games of round-robin play. The winner of each of those pools will play Friday afternoon at 12:45 Eastern for the division title.
JB Hoops is in a pool with the Cal Stars Valley 17 Select, the Chicago Hoops Express Silver, the MCW Starz 2020/2021 Kia, the Jersey Cardinals 2020, and Bucky’s NWBA Gold.
The JB Hoops schedule opens Wednesday at 5:45 against Bucky’s from Washington State. The Scranton-based team plays again at 8:15 against Chicago Hoops Express.
JB Hoops plays MCW from Massachusetts at 12:45 Thursday, followed by a 3:30 game against the Cal Stars.
The round-robin schedule concludes Friday morning at 10:15 against Jersey.
Following the tournament, JB Hoops will have a week off before returning to the USJN Nationals in Oxon Hill, Md. at the National Harbor just outside Washington, D.C.
JB Hoops won its pool at USJN Nationals last season, advancing to championship bracket play for the first time.
That success led JB Hoops director John Bucci, the head coach of this year’s JB Hoops National team, to add another national event to this season’s schedule.
“This is our first time going to Chicago,” Bucci said. “With the success of last year and what we knew we had coming back, we wanted to upgrade our schedule a little bit.”
The JB Hoops team arrived in Chicago Tuesday night after completing a 4-1 weekend and second-place Pool A finish in the Blue Chip USA Invitational at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim, Lancaster County.
The JB Hoops Bucci team is 15-1 in its three 2019 live events in front of college recruiters.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” Bucci said. “All the tournaments we’ve played in during the live time, we’ve had some very good opponents and to come out unscathed, except for one loss, is a credit to the team and the coaching staff.”