ZG Championship Tip-Off Recap
At the conclusion of the Zero Gravity Championship Tip Off we had seen a weekend full of extremely competitive basketball games and the emergence of prospects from across the region who put their improved games on display to kick-start the fall season.
A young Boston Bobcats team edged out Mass Select for the Varsity American division in a one score game that was back and forth down the stretch. The Bobcats are a long and athletic team that overcame a 15-point deficit to bring home the American division crown. Ball 2 the Limit (B2L) had an impressive run and won in overtime to secure the National division.
In the 10th grade game we had another come from behind victory in the American division from Worcester Team United. B2L established themselves as a National division power program as they also took home the trophy in this age bracket. The International champion was Massasoit Warriors.
Boston Spartans 2022 impressed in the 9th grade division by winning all five of their games by double digits in route to the American division championship. Meanwhile in the National division the Massasoit Warriors won a tough battle against the Southcoast Thunder to grab the National division title.
Bensley Joseph (NE Playaz, 2020) – Joseph plays under control armed with a tight handle and an ability to finish with contact. He has a real quick first step that gets him into the paint with ease where he excels at both finishing and distributing.
Malachi Hazelton (NE Playaz, 2020) – Hazelton is a big physical wing who excels around the rim. He dunked on multiple defenders this weekend and proved to be unstoppable in transition where he racked up most of his point total.
Eli Harris (Rise Above Basketball, 2018) – He may lack size, but he played extremely well against bigger and more athletic competition. He can pull up from deep on a dime, is a crafty finisher around the rim using angles and touch, and also has quick hands on defense.
Judson Martindale (NE Playaz, 2020) – Fresh off a scholarship offer from Iona, he showed off his size and skillset this weekend. An effective and efficient wing, he is smooth from deep, a strong finisher, and has a point guard’s handle with the basketball.
Nathan Carroll (RI Magic, 2020) – Carroll has an absolute non-stop motor and can control the paint even against bigger guys with solid fundamental box outs. His activity level on the glass was second to none. He also showed flashes of his ability to stretch the floor from behind the arc.
Max Poulton (NE Playaz, 2022) – Just an 8th grader but playing at Rivers School, Poulton was playing up this weekend as well. He drained 9 threes for the 10th grade Playaz squad and showed great size for his age and position as an off-guard/wing.
Noah Downing (Boston Bobcats, 2020) – An ultra-competitive guard who gets after it on both ends of the floor, Downing uses his quickness to put the ball in the bucket but keeps defenders honest with a solid jumper. He’s fiery on defense, gets low, and guards every single possession.
Mason Hunt (Mass Evolution, 2021) – He’s a lanky playmaker who can get to the rim and shoot from distance. Mason has good size and tools for a freshman guard.
Justin Vanderbaan (BV Chaos, 2021) – An imposing freshman big, Vanderbaan is very involved defensively altering shots in the paint and being vocal on screen and roll actions. He also has better ball skills and feel on offense than you would expect for his age and size.
Tyler Mola (Mass Select, 2018) – Mola is a prototypical point guard who can do it all. He showcased his shot, PNR decision-making, and toughness on the defensive end all weekend. He also goes up strong on every take to the rim.
Justin Tedeschi (RI Magic, 2019) – Tedeschi is lights out from behind the arc. The 10th grader was playing up with Varsity and standing out against much bigger players. Even though he is undersized, he doesn’t need much time or space to get his shot off whether it’s off the dribble or catch and shoot.
Cam Nelson (Mass Elite, 2019) – The 6-foot-7 junior forward did more than just hold his own in the paint this weekend. He has a strong traditional post game with multiple go-to moves and a soft touch.
Casey McLaren (Mass Elite, 2019) — McLaren has good size and solid athleticism on the wing. He is also a shot-maker from downtown, connecting on six three-pointers in a single game.
Bennett Fox (Southcoast Elite, 2018) – He can man either guard spot and rebounds well for his position. Offensively, Fox looked comfortable facilitating for teammates using his handle and vision, slashing while off the ball, and is capable from distance.
Shawn Leahy (Cobras, 2018) – A combo forward who is flat out just a very tough cover, he can play all over the floor offensively and plays a hard-nosed style. Leahy showcased an ability to attack the rim, stretch the floor, and some post moves against smaller defenders.
Aaron Cooley (Boston Bobcats, 2020) – An intriguing wing with length to play big but also the handle and shot of a guard, Cooley impacts the game at both ends with great timing on blocks, quick hands in the lane, and a sweet shot from behind the 3-point line.
Kyle Henderson (Mass Select, 2018) – He’s a tough lefty guard that can score at all three levels and he was on his game this weekend, both knocking down shots and getting to the rim. He’s already known as one of the best players in Central Mass and he backed up that reputation here.
Henry Mitchell (B2L, 2020) – Mitchell showed impressive poise with the basketball for a big man in his sophomore year. He has a soft touch in his post, can facilitate from both the wing or the block, and is comfortable playing a leading role.