The 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale is coming up this weekend, and will once again feature a number of programs from the region. This year’s is a much more localized version, with fewer teams from outside of Massachusetts than any other year of the event. It means that for this year at least, it will truly feature the kids from the home area.
While the number of teams from out of state has fluctuated over the years, in some years the teams from out of state have dominated the bottom line. There are some good teams coming from out of state, so they could still have a prominent impact on the bottom line.
We start by looking at the youngest age groups. A year ago, the Boston Spartans dominated the middle school portion of the tournament, and the Spartans once again will bring teams in all of those age groups as well as 15-Under and 16-Under. They will have plenty of competition in each group, though.
Starting in 10-Under, the Spartans figure to get pressed by the likes of Expressions Elite and the Rhode Island Crush. In 12-Under, they have two entrants, with their elite entry coached by program director Joe Chatman. Look for their biggest challengers to be teams like the Playaz Academy, Expressions Elite and the North Shore Ballarz, a past champion in the event. The Brookline Knights have also had some success this spring and will be worth watching as they come from across town.
In the 13-Under, the Spartans are again present, though Expressions and the Playaz Academy are also among the top contenders. The Worcester Sting will make the trip in, and MYCW also enters a team. In all, it looks like a very competitive group. The 14-Under continues the local presence, with six city teams and Worcester Team United, led by the Spartans and Playaz Academy with Lee Academy, the Suns of New England and MYCW also competing. Joining them are the Diamond State Titans from Delaware, who always bring a talented cast up to Boston. This might be the most competitive age group of all.
Moving into the high school age groups, the 15-Under may have just five teams, but it should be as competitive as any age group and includes two teams that often play in 14-Under. The Boston Spartans entrant coached by Joe Chatman and the Playaz Academy are among them, along with another Spartans entry and a fine group from All For One. MYCW rounds out the all-local field.
The 16-Under at first glance looks wide open. Team New York may be the favorites, having made some noise over the course of this spring in a few events, and they’ll get pressed by five local entries. Fab 5 and the Boston Bulls appear to lead the way, while All For One, the Boston Spartans and MYCW will also give them a run for their money.
Finally, we reach the oldest age group. The Diamond State Titans played up a year ago and more than held their own; this time around they have to be considered among the favorites. The Boston Warriors bring a nice team, while LOX makes their first appearance with a team of less-heralded talent worth keeping an eye on. Wrightway Basketball returns and plays up with a young but talented cast led by shooter Jordan Mason. The Boston Bulls and Suns of New England are not teams to sleep on, while Worcester Team United and the Rhode Island Crush will travel from about an hour away to compete.
There will also be three games with girls teams, as the BBA Lady Titans will travel up from Pennsylvania to play against three teams from the Boston area. They are a ninth grade team, and one of their opponents will be an eighth grade team playing up, the Suns of New England.
The event tips off Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center with a full slate of games – in fact, all five courts will have game action all day until the last set of games, when only four will have games going. Sunday is the day of championship games as usual, with the main court in the facility being the place for players to shine in the big moments. Plenty have done so before, and this year will be the chance for someone else to do that.