With the coveted ‘hoodie’ on the line, 14 teams open tournament
By Brian Ladd, Special to UnionvilleTimes.com
EAST MARLBOROUGH — Opening night of March Madness for the Unionville Recreation Association Boys 10th-12th grade division and excitement was running high. 14 teams are vying for the coveted trophy, which in this case is the highly sought after “hoodie” and we are talking about the one you wear not the one you eat made famous by our neighborhood friends at Hood’s BBQ.
Letang/Kelly 42, Joseph/Brislin 39 – The tourney tip-off had the cellar dwellers battling it out for the opportunity to face the #1 seed in the second round. For the 13 seed team coached by Nick Letang and Brian Kelly, things were looking awfully Rosey early as Stephen Rosenberg was getting the shots to fall early for the Purple People Eaters. The 14 seed squad coached by Seniors Andy Joseph and John “Breezy” Brislin came out of the gate flat. Team Purple saw their lead start to dwindle as Parker Williams (10 points) and Paul Karcher (12 points) started to wreak havoc on team purple. That’s when The Mighty Quin Savant (game high 17 points) decided enough was enough and held team green at bay to advance to the second round to face the #1 seed Thursday night.
Trout/DeMatteis 59, Pechin/Grimes 54 – The 5 seed Pechin/Grimes squad features one of the toughest backcourts in the league with brothers Alex and Brad Pechin running the floor. The 8 seed Trout/DeMatteis team is as gritty as they come. With Tyler Crossman and Mike Georgianna tormenting the other team, it opens up the scoring lanes for Seniors Mike DeMatteis and Alex Trout. Add late season acquisition Alec Jule and this team has the opportunity to go deep in the tourney. With the Trout/DeMatteis squad building a lead, Freshman phenom Alex Pechin (19 points) turned and fired a full court buzzer beater 3 pointer at the end of the third quarter to put some fire back in team orange. Playing arguably his best, most aggressive game of the season, the man they call Fish just wasn’t going to be denied. Alex Trout answered with 19 points of his own while Mike DeMatteis chipped in 15 and Alec Jule 14 for the winners.
Holcomb/Piper 58, Crowley/Faux 49 – When a team shows up shorthanded and needing a sub off the street, it generally is the beginning of the end but it ended up being a rallying cry for the Crowley/Faux team. Late season acquisition Jonathan Ellsworth who terminated his contract in the European league to finish out the season with URA was a man on a mission for the Soccer stars. Leading all scorers with 25 points, Ellsworth was leaving it all on the floor. On this night, the depth of the Holcomb/Piper squad proved to be too much as they saw scoring from 6 of their 7 players. Kyle Holcomb led the charge with 17 followed by Brandon Denning with 13 and Riley Piper and James Chapman with 11 each for the winners.
Lee/Ford 55, Viens/Rose 42 – Faced with adversity early in the season, scrambling for new head coaches just after the draft of this team it was a wonder if they’d ever win a game. However the leadership of Matt Lee and Ryan Ford, and fabulous waiver wire acquisitions in Ryan Montgomery and Andrew Cutrona proved to be a boost in the arm – and offense. Fueled by Cutrona (24 points) and Montgomery (23 points) combining for 85% of the teams points, it was just too much for the Viens/Rose squad to overcome. While all players found the scoring column for the Green machine, it just wasn’t enough as the Lee/Ford team shot 98% from the charity stripe. Doyle Tuvesson chipped in 14 and Bobby Viens 9 in defeat.
Barnes/Burlotos 50, McWilliams/Matson 30 – Riding on the back of Tim Christopher all season to a 10-3 record has proven to be a pretty nice option for the Barnes/Burlotos squad. However tonight when Christopher started off a little slow, one had to wonder if the McWilliams/Matson team could capitalize and stay in the game. That’s when the brilliant coaching of Mike Burlotos came in and he went to the Twin Tower offense. The Towers Dan McClaskey (12 points) and Stephen Lange (9 points) held down the fort long enough for Christopher to get in synch as he scored 14 of his game high 19 points in the 4th quarter to seal the win.
Piasecki/Willis 54, Ladd/Langdon 53 – As I left the house tonight to head to the gym, my 8 year old turned to my eldest and said “strap da team to your back tonight my brother!” and with that, a star was born. Brian Ladd did just that, keeping the team in the game early with timely passes, excellent defense and a couple highlight reel plays to add to his game high 21 points on the night. In easily the single best game of the tourney thus far, the Ladd/Langdon squad held the lead for much of the game heading into the 4th quarter up by 11 – but as one fan said to another in the stands, it just wasn’t comfortable with the offensive dynamos of Eric Willis and Chris “C Pie” Piasecki on the other side. With The Big Rig Zach Rigby going down early in the 4th quarter to foul trouble, C Pie realized it was time to turn it up a notch. The clock was stopped twice and he had to be picked up off the floor and dusted off on both occasions because he wanted this more than anyone on the floor. With the C Pie/Willis squad scoring 28 of their 54 points in the 4th quarter, a buzzer beater 3 by Matt Langdon made it closer than it was. Lost in the scoresheet was phenomenal play in the paint by Kent Kaniefski who was outsized but not out hearted or out rebounded on most occasions.