New England Storms New Jersey
A small contingent of teams from New England made the trip southwest to Neptune, New Jersey for the annual Hoop Group Fall Showcase this weekend. Collectively, they walked away from the event having made a big impact, with several programs advancing late into the day on Sunday.
The Rhode Island Hawks scored a 20 point victory over the New Jersey Playaz on Sunday morning before coming back to earn a second win to advance to the tournament finals. Unfortunately, with a good deal of their roster made up of players from prep schools, the Hawks had to return to New England before a match-up with the New Jersey Roadrunners that would have decided the tournament championship.
The Hawks were led by the Northfield Mount Hermon duo of Anthony Dallier and Skyler White. Dallier, a six-foot-six swingman, handled the majority of the ball-handling and playmaking responsibilities from the point while White’s sweet shooting stroke was on display all weekend. Sam Donahue chipped in with a number of timely daggers from behind the three-point line while Pete Weston also made big contributions through the weekend.
The Mass Rivals were one of the tournament’s biggest attractions on Saturday, taking a team of freshmen and sophomores and advancing all the way to the quarterfinals before running into the Roadrunners. Noah Vonleh controlled the game without having to score a point, blocking shots and distributing the ball, while Kaleb Joseph, Matt Cimino, Mike Auger, and Dimitri Floras all got into the scoring flow.
Sunday was a big day for Connecticut Select as they stormed all the way to the finals of the silver bracket in the u17 division. Austin Carter emerged from under the radar as a prospect to keep an eye on in the class of 2013 and punctuated his weekend with a buzzer beating dunk to advance to the finals. Devon Nolan and Dontae Gittens also played their way into our prospect section this weekend while Raiquan Clark made a positive impact as well.
The New England Playaz advanced to the semifinals behind another starring performance from Jarred Reuter, who was playing up two levels in the u17 division. Aaron Calixte led the way in the backcourt, showing his power and creativity off the dribble.
The New England Playaz were the story in the sophomore division as they took an undermanned roster and advanced all the way to the finals before ultimately running out of gas against D.C. Assault. Kahari Beaufort scored at will throughout the weekend while Jeff Spellman provided a big spark behind the three-point line. Djery Baptiste provided a big boost in the middle with his size and length around the rim while Colin McManus quietly had his best performance to date. Jacquil Taylor solidified the triple post line-up and scored around the rim as well as with his dribble throughout the two days of competition.
The Rhode Island Hawks fell to the New Jersey Roadrunners in the quarterfinals of the gold bracket but showed a deep and talented team. Henry Bolton and Jackson Donahue formed a talented perimeter duo with complementary skills while Drew Shea and Justin Bristol did the same on the interior.
Connecticut Select had a similar showing in the silver bracket, again running all the way to Sunday’s final, but this time taking the title with a win over the Running Rebels. Kobe Ancrum’s size and strength created constant mismatches in the sophomore division while Ian Gardener also played to rave reviews with his all around impact. Raiquan Clark showed well playing double duty with the juniors while Shane Christian provided a big boost in the championship game.
Connecticut Elite was the lone New England team in the freshman division, but they represented the region well sending yet another local program to a Sunday final before ultimately falling to D.C. Assault in the championship game of the gold bracket.
The New York Falcons took the silver championship in the open division as Shane McLaughlin provided a consistent playmaking presence on both ends of the floor along with his trademark on-the-ball defense. The Falcons knocked off a talented Jersey Hot Shots team in Sunday’s final.