JACKSONVILLE, FLA., JUNE 25 -- The public address announcer inside the Florida Community College gymnasium tried to lift Burger King Omaha's spirits late in the second half of its game against Executive III, which is representing metropolitan Washington in the Junior Men's AAU Championships.

Exhausted from a relentless Executive III fast break, the Nebraskans had little to look forward to, trailing by 96-55 with less than six minutes left in this first-round game. But during a timeout, the announcer got them to smile when he asked the crowd to "give this Nebraska team a big hand; they only had six players."

Executive III, however, did not have similar feelings; it maintained its frenetic pace to win in the tournament's biggest rout, 121-68, and advance to Wednesday's second round against Team Jacksonville.

A cast of Executive III players demonstrated that the loss of all-American college-bound seniors Charles Harrison (Georgetown) Grant Hill (Duke) and Dickey Simpkins (Providence) because of prior commitments, was not going to diminish the team's expectations.

"We miss them, but we played better as a team without them," said McNamara's Donald Ross, who is undecided about which college to attend next fall. "With them, it was run and gun and see who takes the first shot {between them}. But we feel confident about our chances after today because this victory was a big boost."