Packed gym at Patton sees semis, finals of boys tournament
By Norbert Sax, Correspondent, UnionvilleTimes.com
EAST MARLBOROUGH — As the winter winds down, so does the Unionville Recreational Association’s (URA) basketball season. With a little March madness of their own, the league’s fifteen teams battled on the court for the honor of being crowned champions, a title that holds true until this time next year.
The playoff tournament had four rounds with one team claiming a first round bye, which was the Hawks, coached by Brett Ciancia and Brandt Lopapa. From March 2nd to the 4th the tournament unraveled, ultimately leading up to the championship showdown at 8 p.m. on Friday night. Since not all of Unionville could attend (though the gymnasium was substantially crowded compared to the regular season), this summary of the past week should give a clear indication of the excitement that URA never ceases to produce.
First round games took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, where every team strived to show the rest of the pack what they were capable of. Seven teams found their stroke early, attained a win, and joined the Hawks in the Elite 8. To tip off Tuesday evening, the Bearded Gents, coached by Jacob Block and Tommy Caswell, knocked of the Bloodhoundz, coached by Eric Willis and Kelly Stewart, which stunned URA followers as the Bloodhoundz were the expected dark horse of the postseason. Next, Chris Piasecki’s and Hunter Conover’s team, Stiff Shaft, beat Reid Hobbs’ and Trace McGinnis’ Milk Doctors with an impressive display of three-point shooting from Piasecki himself.
The third matchup was a landslide victory for Denton Jochums’ and Casey Taylor’s Team Anonymous, the eventual champions, over the completely defeated, yet still respected Brick Squad, led by Kyle Bradley and Muhannad Abdou. To wrap up the night, the Cleveland Steamers, coached by Connor Wing and Shawn Denning, outlasted the Looney Goons, coached by Pat Piasecki and Jack Raube, in a first round nail-biter.
Wednesday night proved to be just as enticing, as the first round came to a close after the remaining three games. To start, Andrew Carlino and Stephen Musser’s squadron, the Double Teamerz, beat out Alex Hunt’s and Eric Brittingham’s Bulls to advance to the second round. Next, Huston Firment and James Moss led their team, Multiple Scoregasms, to a win against “the sophomore team,” formally known as The Quad, coached by Jeremy Waterkotte and Nick Letang. Finally, the Jibblies and Ginies, coached by Norbert Sax and Richard Kaiser, closed the curtain on Micah Kotler’s and Jerry Rassias’ U’Ville Swag District.
The first round and its intense competition foreshadowed the exhilarating two nights that were to follow.
To start the second round, Team Anonymous won decisively over the Bearded Gents, leaving them with nothing but a bit of five o’clock shadow. Stiff Shaft came up short to the Hawks, though the game came down to the wire and was decided by two points. In the third quarterfinal, Multiple Scoregasms won a grinding contest against the Jibblies and Ginies, after a few silky jumpshots gave them a comfortable lead entering the fourth quarter. The Cleveland Steamers were knocked off by the Double Teamerz at the close of the night, after two overtimes and two technical fouls heated up Patton gym.
The next night, both semifinal matches would be played with the two winning teams playing a double header to decide a champion.
In the first semifinal, the Hawks took on the Double Teamerz in a game that displayed arguably the best defense, on both ends, that the league saw all season. The game ended with the Hawks as the victor, winning 36-33. Next, Team Anonymous squared off against Multiple Scoregasms. Though many would agree that Huston Firment was the offensive player of the year, tallying point totals in the mid 20’s consistently all year, he was held to 18 as his Scoregasms fell to Team Anonymous, 47-40.
With both semifinals concluded and the ten-minute intermission before the championship game winding down, the gymnasium was almost packed to capacity as an estimated 120 spectators prepared for a thrilling contest. They were not disappointed, as both the Hawks and Team Anonymous seemed to find their stride throughout different points in the game. The gym was louder than ever and each player had his own, unique poise. The score stayed close throughout the entire game, but in the last minutes of the fourth quarter, Team Anonymous played tight defense and held on to their narrow lead, eventually winning 38-35. Following the match, both champions and runner-ups received navy blue sweatshirts embroidered with the URA basketball logo.
It’s been an eventful season, as URA proves to be year after year. Every team gave consistent effort throughout the season, and the improvement made in each player’s game was remarkable. Special thanks go out to Commissioners Bill Adair and Rick Kaiser, as they spent three nights out of each week for the past couple months in the Patton gymnasium, overseeing every game that took place.