Middlesex Magic take 3rd straight HGSL title
Middlesex Magic 17u Crotty won the 2019 Hoop Group Showcase League Championship this weekend, defeating Garner Road NC, Team Takeover Orange, DC Blue Devils and Crown in the title game.
The HGSL began three years ago and the Magic have claimed every title. They finished off the 3-peat with a 71-65 win over a great Crown team, in a rematch of the NERR Super 16 title game that the Magic won in dramatic fashion in May. Matt Knowling led the way in the championship game with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Jay Dieterle scored 13 points, Jack Poirier 11 points and big man Sam Thomson had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Tyler Kolek finished off his five year Magic career in style, leading the Magic 17u team to another championship, as he did a year ago. Kolek had explosive scoring games of 32 and 30 this week, but showed his overall floor game with his transition passing and pick-n-roll play in the half-court. He currently holds 20+ division I offers.
Knowling was the X factor for the Magic in their championship run, averaging 15.5 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in the HGSL championship run while defending 1-4 on the opposite end. He also holds numerous division I offers.
The 6’9 Thomson anchored the team inside was what Coach Crotty dubbed “amazingly consistent” defense and rebounding to match his motor, passing instinct, and developing offense. He had double-doubles in both the semis and the finals and now holds 15+ D1 offers.
A trio of Magic veterans were key contributors to the championship run. Will Dorion was the team’s defensive standout on the perimeter, provided his trademark toughness, and knocked down multiple threes in both the semis and the finals. Jay Dieterle stepped up and played some of his best basketball of the season this weekend. He scored 13 points, including a couple of big threes, while playing a large majority of the game at the point guard position. Finally, Jack Poirier continued to provide three-point shooting and reliable decision-making. He too was in double-figures in the final and is now starting to generate scholarship level interest.
6’9 big man Niko Rocak also rose the level of his game in the championship, coming off the bench to finish with 8 points and 6 rebounds. Just now starting to get healthy after an injury plagued spring, Rocak is sure to draw increasing attention this fall. Also back from injury was Ben McPherron, a hold-over from last year’s squad who played multiple positions while plugging various holes.
A pair of rising juniors were also important to the championship run. George Smith, who stepped up this spring when injuries shortened the Magic rotation, was again deadly from behind the arc. He finished the season as the team’s second leading scorer and earned his first division I offers in the process. Kurtis Henderson provided a creative playmaker and hard-nosed defender off the bench while continuing to do double-duty with the program’s 16u team that advanced to the finals of the tournaments elite bracket.