New England Fall Challenge Event Recap
The New England Playaz, Bay State Magic, Connecticut Basketball Club, and New England Select all participated in a very talented 17 and under division. Ultimately, the game of the day was the one that sealed the tournament championship for the Playaz as they were able to hold off Connecticut Basketball Club by a score of 81-78. The game went back and forth for all 40 minutes with no team ever leading by more than 5 points. With one minute remaining the Playaz held a three point lead when David Gibbs hit a fade-away bank shot from about 18 feet away on the left wing. CBC immediately fouled Terrell Halloway who proceeded to make both free throws. This sequence repeated itself several times with CBC scoring a quick basket, immediately fouling, and the Playaz knocking down their free-throws. In fact, the Playaz squad went nine for nine, with Halloway going 6 for 6, in the last minute of the game before missing one last shot with 3 seconds left. Gibbs quickly snatched the rebound, pushed the ball to 8 feet past half court, and fired a long distance three that would have tied the game but instead banked too hard off the backboard.
The backcourt battle in this game was particularly intriguing with Halloway, Janzy Cruz, and Jamal Turner for the Playaz going up against Chris Prescott, David Gibbs, and Doran Mitchell for CBC. Crews impressed with his super quick first step, Turner with his superior athleticism, Prescott with a great shooting touch from the outside and mid-range, Gibbs with his ability to attack off the dribble, and Mitchell with his pure scoring ability. But ultimately it was Halloway who was the most impressive, especially in the last minute of the game, when he took control of his team and virtually willed them to victory. TJ Robinson, Dartaye Ruffin, and Andrew McCarthy also played well for the Playaz while Chris Baskerville, Stanford Dulaire, Luke Mattarazzo, and Vic Anderson did the same for CBC.
Bay State Magic had a good day going 2 and 1 behind the solid play of Peterson Bernard, Tony Gallo, and Danquah Rollins. Berard was an absolute beast inside scoring and rebounding the ball. Gallo was solid the entire day running the point for the Magic. He is the type of player that won’t wow you but gets a lot done and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. Rollins is an athletic wing player who was proficient attacking off the dribble and even knocked down a couple of outside jumpers. Overall, the Magic played with an organization and discipline that was impressive throughout the day.
The New England Select team came in without as many high profile names as the other three clubs but impressed with their solid fundamentals and fast tempo style of play. In their first game of the day Select gave CBC quite a scare and was actually winning for the majority of the game. 6’2 freshmen Joe Sharkey from Brimmer & May in Massachusetts may be the top overall prospect on the roster and was impressive while scoring 19 points in a losing effort to the Magic.
In the first 16 and under pool, The New England Playaz again took home the title, but not without their fair share of excitement. In their last game of the day the Playaz went up against a New England Select team that was missing its two best players in Tucker Halpern, who couldn’t make the trip, and Kyle Casey, who was very impressive with his size and pretty jump shot, before going down with an ankle injury earlier in the day. But with as little as ten seconds left in the game Select was up by two points when the Playaz brought the ball down hoping to tie the game. Nadir Tharpe, one of the best freshmen point guards anywhere in the country, penetrated the lane and tossed up a floater. The ball bounced off the side of the rim but Preye Boyle (pictured above) rose above his defender to secure the rebound. As time was about to expire, he immediately elevated to bank in a shot that sent the game into overtime. During the overtime session the Playaz were able to escape with the victory and the championship. For his heroics, Boyle was awarded the MVP. Tharpe, Cory Stockmal, Kyle Stockmal, and Dominique Langston were also impressive for the Playaz. Another player who turned some heads in this bracket was Conor Meehan a 6’3 guard from the Central Connecticut Hoopstars.
In the second 16 and under pool the Connecticut Comets went undefeated to secure the championship. Sean Markle a pure point guard from Amity High School was very impressive for the Comets earning the MVP award. Robby Williams a 6’1 guard from Danbury High School was also very impressive during the course of the day for Danbury PAL.
In the 15 and under pool the CT Knights were able to go undefeated and earn the championship, and a big reason for that was the play of Rashard Moore. Moore, from Bloomfield High School, was scoring at will throughout the day, going for as many as 30 in one game. Darius Watson a 6’4 forward from the Connecticut Basketball Club was very good throughout the course of the day as well.
The 13 and under pool was the most hotly contested of the day. With three teams finishing at 2 and 1 the championship was ultimately won by the Middlesex Rage who were able to edge out both All For One from Massachusetts and Connecticut Basketball Club. Niko Donato led the Rage squad throughout the day and was awarded with the Most Valuable Player plaque.