Northeast Hoops Festival Sunday u16 & u15 Recap
Sunday was a good day for the Expressions Elite program as they captured championships in both u15 and u16 (as well as u14) at the Northeast Hoops Festival.
The sophomore championship saw a blend of kids from two powerful programs, Expressions and Mass Rivals, unite under the Expressions banner under the direction of Rivals head coach Vin Pastore. The results spoke for themselves as they ran away with the u16 final.
The run began with a hard fought 63-61 win over Connecticut Select in the semifinals. They opened up a 41-21 halftime lead behind Kaleb Joseph’s strong first period as the Cushing guard couldn’t be checked off the dribble. The second half saw Select come storming back behind the play of Danbury’s Danyjoel Harris who caught fire with his jumper, but ultimately it wasn’t enough as Expressions would hang on to advance.
The other semifinal saw Maine Mac put on an offensive clinic with their ball movement and perimeter shooting to score a convincing win over CBC. While it was truly a team effort, Garet Beal was the standout for Maine, scoring a team high 18 points while showing off a powerful frame and true mismatch ability with his scoring on the post and perimeter. Point guard Tanner Hyland also impressed with his decision making and ability to run the show from the point while Zach Gilpin proved himself to be a young freshman with a high ceiling.
The finals saw Expressions depth of talent be too much for Maine as both teams were playing back to back following their semifinal wins. Jared Terrell led the way with 20 points, bullying opposing defenders with his power and athleticism. The performance capped a strong day for the Weymouth guard as his Sunday began with one of the highlight plays of the tournament when he streaked down the middle of the lane to rise up and hammer a one handed slam in traffic.
Ikemefuna Ngwudo and Cornelius Tyson also finished in double figures for Expressions. Ngwudo had 14 including a buzzer beating three-pointer to end the first half as he showcased a perimeter skill set that continues to evolve. Tyson finshed with 11 points while running the show at the point while Noah Vonleh and Dimitri Floras also made a variety of big plays for the champions.
Here’s a look at some other players who impressed in the u16 bracket:
Charles Correa, RI Hawks – He put up 16 points against CBC in the quarterfinals, knocking down open jumpers early to get into a good rhythm and drilling a tough contested shot down the stretch.
John Mitchell, CBC – He provided the team’s most consistent offense of the day and hit the game winner in the quarterfinals, knocking down a mid-range pull-up with just 16 seconds left on the clock.
Cane Broome, CT Select – The southpaw was breaking guys down off the dribble at will, getting himself into the paint and creating space for a variety of floaters and pull-ups.
John Powell, NE Playaz – He was the best player on the floor in the quarterfinals, dominating the interior with his size and length to the tune of 17 points.
Expressions Holds off CBC in u15
Expressions and CBC locked up in a hard fought u15 final that wasn’t decided until Expressions finally sealed the 57-54 outcome. Alijiah Robinson had the play of the game, throwing down a ridiculous baseline dunk in the first half, but it was Aaron Falzon who proved pivotal up front, stretching the defense with two deep jumpers in pick and pop action and scoring some around the rim. Jared Wilson-Frame led the way for CBC, mixing powerful drives to the rim with a few timely pull-ups while Quincy McKnight was a defensive spark plug for the team.
The semifinals saw Expressions earn an equally hard fought overtime win over the Rising Stars from New York. Falzon was the key in the first half, scoring 11 of his team’s 22 points while Kevin OConnor provided help inside in the second half. Patrick Benzan was the crucial player down the stretch, drilling a step-back three-pointer with 40 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Falzon opened the extra period with a three-pointer and Expressions never looked back, advancing to the final.
CBC’s semifinal win saw them dismantle Mount Vernon. Levy Gillespie Jr. again stood out as an athletic playmaking guard who hit two threes in the first half and made plays for himself and others off the bounce.