Northeast Hoops Festival Saturday Night Recap
Xpressions Elite, MBR, Connecticut Basketball Club, and YABC are all still in contention for the Northeast Hoops Festival crown. Xpressions will face YABC in one semi-final while CBC and MBR will face-off in the other.
Xpressions suffered a one point loss at the hands of Bay State Magic in the final pool play game of the night, but still took first place in their pool to advance to the quarter-finals. The SECC All-Stars gave them a good run in that round before their athleticism and depth finally overcame. Eric Ferguson made the most noise today as he produced a number of thunderous dunks utilizing his quick leaping ability.
MBR’s road to the semi’s went through the Rhode Island Hawks and Syracuse Select in pool play and then Connecticut Basketball Club in the quarters. Keegan Hyland and Indiana Faithful paced the team as expected while Stephano Mancini chipped in with some well timed shot making against CBC. Hyland impressed not just with his shooting stroke, but also with a deceptively quick first step, good passing ability, and overall toughness. Meanwhile Faithful was extremely crafty and clever, balancing his responsibilities to run the team while still getting to the rim.
CBC’s other u17 team had better luck in their quarter-final match-up as they survived a battle of athleticism with New Jersey’s Memorial Park Playaz. Will Tye was a major presence throughout the day as his incredible combination of strength and athleticism allowed him to dominate inside, including perhaps the day’s most explosive dunk.
YABC scored a convincing win over the Rhode Island Hawks in the final quarter-final as the threesome of Mike Rivera, Paris Massey, and Louis Montes continued to produce. All three are currently seniors leaning towards doing a post-graduate year and if they do, you can bet they’ll have plenty of scholarship consideration before it’s all said and done.
The Central Connecticut Hoopstars were the spoiler of Saturday night’s action as they executed beautifully in route to a very convincing upset of Syracuse Select. Darryl Best Jr. stepped up to the challenge of his individual match-up with Dajuan Coleman and ended up holding his own and then some. The rising junior even blocked Coleman’s shot on three different occasions. Next up for the Hoopstars will be a match-up with CBC, who received a bye in the quarter-finals.
The Vermont Basketball Group continued to shine as they swept their pool and then defeated the Long Island Lightning in the quarterfinals. Evan Tullar was the team’s leading scorer today and caught the crowd’s attention with a couple of smooth dunks in transition. Josh Varney and Jake Donnelly were also consistent double figure scorers while Alex Snyder, Nick Swim, and Ben Ferris all stepped up at times as well.
They will face Xpressions Elite in tomorrow’s second semi-final. Alex Murphy paced the way for that team’s convincing victory over CBC in the quarter-finals as Murphy went for 22 points while connecting behind the three-point line on several different attempts. Ricardo Ledo also continues to emerge as a big time player in the region as he has grown to a legit 6’4” and has obvious potential with his length and athleticism. Kaleb Tarczewski showed signs of his immense potential as well as he anchored the interior. Billy Soriano and Tyler Olander also played well.
Here are some other players that caught our eye today:
• Bay State Magic’s win over Xpressions was a tremendous accomplishment. They got contributions from numerous places as D.K. Johnson, Ryan Chambers, Ryan Kilcullen, Dennis Clifford, Andrew McCarthy, Kris Joyce, Jared Fay, Ryan Hayes, and Matthew Barboza all stepped up at various times.
• Eric Jean-Guillaume turned in some late game heroics as he almost single handedly led the Academic Basketball Club to a terrific pool play win over the Memorial Park Playaz. Jean-Guillaume made a series of pull-up jumpers in the game’s final two minutes and also forced steals on the defensive end to seal the victory.
• The RI Breakers u15 team looked good in their afternoon contest. Derryck Kilgore paced the team with 19 points but Robert Hazard and Justin Mejia also stood out as prospects to keep and eye on.
• K.C. Hoff thrived in the Hoopstars final pool play game as he found ways to score around the rim and used his strong body to be a factor on the glass.
• Josiah Hartley, Zach Blodgett, and Mike McCarm stood out for MBR’s u16 team
• Connor Boyn and Jason Pranulis both stood out for the Western CT Warriors as they scored a bit of an upset over New England Select