On March 16th, Smithfield Youth Basketball capped off its Winter Recreation Season by celebrating Championship Saturday! Four teams were crowned their division's champion in what was a fun-filled afternoon of games for all of the players, coaches and families involved.
U10 Division Champions:
Sponsored by: Tom Antoske, CPA
Players (L to R): John Rinaldi, William Busam, Matthew Gorvett, Tristen Brown, Preston Oliver, Magdiel Oyola Jr, Daniel Marsella
Not Pictured: Wyatt Speakman
Head Coach: Mike Busam
For the majority of our U10 participants this division was the first time they were playing real, honest-to-goodness basketball games. Knowing this, SYBA stressed that teaching and education in this division be every bit as valued by its coaches as the competition itself - sure we keep score and sure we have referees officiating but what's important at this age is that our eight and nine year old boys are learning how to play and compete in games the right way. To that end I'd like to recognize the six U10 coaches - Dave Antunes, Corey Blakely, Mike Busam, Derek Cicchitelli, Marc Desjardins and Dave Ursillo - and their assistants, all of whom gave up their Saturday mornings and Monday evenings to patiently coach these youngsters on the fundamentals of basketball and help them apply those fundamentals to game situations. A peek at the bracket above reveals just how often these six U10 teams scored over twenty points in a game during these playoffs and is itself a microcosm of how often they did so during the season.
So given all of that scoring this season it was of course, apropos, that the Championship Game have been decided with defense! Tom Antoske CPA's Boston Celtics took home the U10 title by winning a much more challenging, tough-to-get-buckets-in game. The result was a 14-7 victory over Willy's Precision Towing's L.A. Lakers - who themselves had upset the #1 seeded team in the semi-finals. The game was proof the C's had learned enough fundamentals on both sides of the ball to win with either offense or defense.
Congratulations to the Celtics, the Lakers and to all of the coaches, parents and players who made our 2018-19 U10 Division a special one to have played in!
U12 Division Champions:
Sponsored by: Douglas Lumber
Back (L to R): Lucas Bilotti, George Muldowney, Harry Arsenis, Shane Trainor
Front: Matthew Ladouceur, Corey Lampron, Ben Cicchitelli, Ian Butash, Ben Johnson-McMahon, Shaun Dwyer
Coaches (L to R): Dennis Dwyer, Head Coach and Kevin Muldowney, Assistant
Fun fact: the 2018-19 SYBA Playoffs saw only one #1 seeded team win it's division championship! That distinction belonged to Douglas Lumber's Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines were a juggernaut all winter and followed up a nearly unblemished 10-1 regular season record with a first round bye and two landslide victories in the playoffs, the latest having been a decisive 42-26 victory in the U12 Championship Game over Parma Doors' #6 seeded Providence Friars, who themselves had already scored an upset of the #3 seed and edged out the #7 seed to make it to the big game.
Congratulations to Michigan, Providence and all of the U12 boys on a fine season!
U14 Division Champions:
Rhode Island Rams
Sponsored by: Navigant Credit Union
Back (L to R): Tim Kane, Joe Lambrese, Reilly Bennett, Ben Dion
Front: Greg Swain, Michael Sands, CJ Ruotolo, Josh Piti
Coaches (L to R): Curtis Ruotolo, Assistant and Mike Tartaglia, Head Coach
Cinderella not only found her glass slipper in our U14 Division, she ended up waltzing all over the court! In a run for the ages Navigant's #6 seeded Rhode Island Rams defeated the #3 seed and then edged out the #2 seed before closing out the 2018-19 playoffs with a 32-27 upset of Brookdale's #1 seeded Connecticut Huskies. The game was decided in the final two minutes with the Rams making just enough shots and getting just enough defensive stops to stave off the Huskies and capture the Division Title. The Championship Game capped off two hotly contested semi-finals in which both teams barely slipped by their U14 brethren.
Congratulations to the Rams on their Cinderella run, to the Huskies on their terrific regular season and to all of the boys who competed this season in U14!
U18 Division Champions:
Sponsored by: Bradford-Sutcliffe Insurance
Back (L to R): Cody Paiva, Riley Gran, William Hawkins
Middle: Thomas Edsall, Ben Gardiner, Alex LeBoeuf
Front: Marcus Mensah, Luc Tremblay, Liam Hickey
Head Coach: Damien Edsall
In what was SYBA's largest, and perhaps most competitive, division this winter Bradford-Sutcliffe's #5 seeded Boston Celtics eeked out a razor-thin 41-38 victory over 7-Eleven's #2 seeded Charlotte Hornets. The game featured stingy D being played by both teams but it was the Celtics who turned it up a notch in the second half, throttling the Hornets and holding them to a mere eleven points and enabling their coming back from a twelve point deficit. The C's also forced two turnovers - a taken charge and a blocked shot - inside of the final minute that helped clinch the victory and the title.
Despite the team's seeding the Celtics win could hardly be called an upset as a remarkable seven of the division's eight teams finished the regular season within two games of one another. The exciting, hard-fought, championship contest was also just the latest in these playoffs as three of the division's four First Round games - that's right, the First Round games - were decided by four points or less including one that was decided by a thrilling, buzzer-beating put-back basket in overtime. Just look at that bracket! A competitive division, indeed...
Congratulations to the Celtics, the Hornets and to all of the boys in our high school division who helped make this U18 season one of the stronger ones in recent memory!
Congratulations to all of Smithfield Youth Basketball's 2018-2019 Winter Recreation Champions!