#NEHF Varsity Division Recap
NY Rens came to New England and took the 2015 Northeast Hoops Festival championship in the varsity division. The Rens had a relatively slow start on Saturday but got better with each passing game and were absolutely dominant through their three games on Sunday.
Rawle Alkins, a top 30 national prospect, treated local fans to displays of his talent all weekend long as he combined power, playmaking skills and athleticism. He wasn't alone though as Sacred Heart (CT) southpaw Tyrn Flowers also stepped up on Sunday showing great length and physical upside on the wing along with a fluid shooting stroke.
MB Nation advanced to their second straight #NEHF championship game. The backcourt of Shyheim Ulrickson and Nicholas Gilpin set the tone all weekend long while there's no denying the contributions that Elliott Welmer provided as a finisher and rebounder inside the paint, but Jack Lesure and Ian Milekis continued to emerge throughout the course of the weekend as unsung heroes for this squad as well.
GBL/Cambridge took a late night win in the American Division to claim the championship and spark a major celebration inside the University Sports Complex. Cambridge knocked off Middlesex Magic Garrity in the National final while Middlesex Magic Crotty advanced to the semifinals of the National Division. Collectively the Magic's three varsity division programs finished the weekend with an overall record of 12-3.
The System Basketball Club also capped a succesful weekend with a trip to the semifinals. Ryan Pittman, Gianna Carwin and Joey Wallace took turns stepping up and providing great contributions in the backcourt throughout the two days of action.
The Mass Rivals went 5-1 on Sunday in a series of showcase games. The 2017 backcourt of Makai Ashton-Langford and Wabissa Bede were especially impressive throughout the day. There wasn't a player in the field able to create off the dribble with the same ease as Ashton-Langford while Bede showed off a new chiseled frame and endless toughness to step-out as the Rivals emotional leader on the floor. Saul Phiri continued to be the team's zone buster, drilling crucial long balls in both games, while Wenyen Gabriel continues to just ooze potential.
New England Playaz' guard Kellan Grady hit the shot of the day when he found himself isolated on the right wing and the Playaz trailing by one in the closing seconds early Sunday afternoon. Grady was cut-off trying to attack the rim but was able to use his size and length to get off a tough 18 footer that went through the net to give the Playaz the win.
Jimbo Lull was also impressive for the PLayaz with his staggering size, ability to score around the rim and increasing willingness to rebound out of his area. Matt Karpowicz came off the bench to provide some productive minutes as well, showing a more defined frame and soft touch from the short corner.
Derrick Ellis had an impressive day running the show for Expressions. Well known for his quickness and ability to defend the ball, the progression of his handle has now made him one of the quickest playmakers around. Philmon Gebrewhit and Sukmail Mathon played well on the wing and post respectively. Gebrewhit showed a consistently expanding offensive arsenal with great size for the perimeter while Mathon provided a true low post scoring presence.
Keyshaun Jacobs and James Foye provided a nice backcourt tandem for Metro Boston. Both players did damage with their jumper but Jacobs also had a tight crossover move to get himself into the lane while Foye's increased muscle mass has made him that much more dangerous going to the rim as well.