Carmen's Crew nears $2 million title prize

Adam Jardy
Aaron Craft dribbles on Quincy Diggs during The Basketball Tournament in 2018. [Adam Cairns / Dispatch]

As a five-year player at Ohio State, David Lighty played in the championship game in both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.

On Sunday afternoon at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, he helped lead his team of mostly former Buckeyes players to another championship berth.

Behind Lighty’s 13 fourth-quarter points, Carmen’s Crew became the first team to ever defeat Overseas Elite in The Basketball Tournament with a 71-66 win in a semifinal game.

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Lighty scored the final two points on a layup after teammate and Otterbein product Jeff Gibbs lost the ball as he attempted to drive the paint, sending it right to a waiting Lighty on the right block.

“I told them to draw it up just like it happened: go up the middle, lose the ball and I’ll score,” a joking Lighty said on ESPN after the game.

It capped a significant upset in the single-elimination tournament that awards $2 million to the winning team. Now in its fifth year of participation, Overseas Elite had won four straight championships and entered the game at 29-0 overall. During the pregame introductions, one of the commentators noted that its top challenger figured to be Team Hines, which played — and lost — in the following game.

Instead, Carmen’s Crew opened with a three-pointer from Evan Ravenel and led until the 5:46 mark of the fourth quarter when Overseas Elite took its first lead at 58-56. From there Lighty, who had the only fourth-quarter field goal for his team, hit two free throws to tie the score. He then took a charge and hit a deep jumper to reclaim the lead, and when Overseas Elite’s Jonathan Simmons hit a three-pointer, Lighty answered with one of his own for a 63-61 lead.

Carmen’s Crew wouldn’t trail again, although it would enter the Elam Ending — game clock turned off, teams play until one reaches a target score — tied at 63-all. With both teams needing eight points to win the game, Lighty got things started with two free throws before an Aaron Craft steal — his seventh of the game — led to a Lighty fast break finished by William Buford to make it 67-63. Gibbs, on his 39th birthday, hit a jumper while being fouled, setting the stage for Lighty’s winning basket.

Lighty led Carmen’s Crew with 18 points, Buford had 15 and Gibbs 12. Carmen’s Crew will play in the title game Tuesday night against  Golden Eagles, which won the second game 68-62. ESPN will televise the 9 p.m. game.


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