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DURHAM, NH - The sixth annual UNH Hoop Festival was a terrific one. We saw teams from all over the Northeast, on both the girl’s side and the boy’s side; compete at a high level all weekend long. The stands were packed from the first tip off on Saturday morning all the way through the night on Sunday for the title games. The ZG Report Staff was thrilled at not only the level of play as a whole, but more so, at how every team we saw, played the game hard and most importantly, played the right way.
Many programs wasted no time in punching their ticket to the ZG Finals at our first tournament of their spring season. The entire ZG Report Staff wants to thank everyone that made last weekend a successful one. We are looking forward to the upcoming weekend, as we will be running four different tournaments in four different states; “New England Coaches vs. Cancer (Greater Boston, MA), “Northern New England Championships” (Biddeford, ME), “Regional Thoroughbred Shootout” (Saratoga Springs, NY), and the “Southern Classic” (Richmond, VA). The competition will be even stronger than last week and more programs will be hungry to qualify for the prestigious ZG Finals.
ZG Feature Team of the Week - MEBC Varsity
The heralded Maine group came into the title game labeled as an underdog, but that title didn’t sit well with this team. MEBC came out firing with a chip on their shoulder. Amir Moss led the way in the championship game with 25 points and 7 assists. Other key players who stood out were Dan Amabile, Brandon Dilluccio, Tyus Ripley, and Ryan Gullikson. Brandon Dillucio and Dan Amabile hit dagger three pointers down the stretch to seal the deal. It was a total team effort once again.
Sophomores – Next Level Athletics
The 10th grade Next Level Athletics team had a couple intriguing big men who were tough matchups for opponents. When the big men weren’t getting it done, the guards were. Next Level is not afraid to make the extra pass or sacrifice individual stats in order to win games.
Freshmen – MIG’s Team
There was no better way for the Springfield based group to start their season than with a championship. The MIG’s freshmen have a lead guard that can seriously go and big men that run the floor like guards. Their athleticism and length will lead to many more championship Sundays for them.
Freshmen - Worcester Sting
Another weekend, another weekend full of championships for the Worcester based program. The thing that really stood out with this Sting group was their defense. These guys are determined to hold teams below forty points, and they did that consistently all weekend long. When their offense comes together, they could be one of the most feared opponents in the commonwealth.
14U/8th Grade- NH Elite
Coach Freeman’s 14U team displayed a significant amount of heart and toughness as they battled back from a 16-2 deficit early on in the title game. Early on in the season, it is rare to see a team fight through adversity so successfully. These guys will not be an easy out this spring.
14U/8th Grade – SNH Saints
Another weekend, another ship added to the SNH Saints, “603 Yacht Club.” Coach Constant’s group has been playing together for a while and it shows. The Saints are fundamentally sound and they each other’s tendencies which makes them extremely fun to watch. Coach Constant’s player’s skill sets paired with the high level offense that they run makes them one of the toughest man-to-man match-ups in all of New England.
14U/8th Grade- NH Rivals
Very well coached, the NH Rivals won their division playing with pride and playing for one another. Our staff was impressed with the way this group moved the ball and sacrificed themselves to help better the team.
13U/7th Grade – Mass Commanders Elite
No surprise here. Coach Crichlow’s group has a rare combination for this level, skilled big men and elite guard play. The Commanders are extremely hard to guard, but what makes them best is their team defense. They take pride in defending the ball and simply outworking their opponent. The Commanders are a humble group that is constantly starving for success on the hardwood.
12U/6th Grade – NH Elite
NH Elite captured a championship by knocking off the dynasty that the extremely talented, CT Grand Sachems had built. The New Hampshire group finished off their title run in dramatic fashion with plenty of late game heroics in front of a packed house. Down four with less than 40 seconds to play, NH Elite hit clutch free throws and a deep three ball to seal the deal. This group plays hard and plays together. Their ability to break the zone and the mental toughness they showed was very impressive.
11U/5th Grade – NH Flight
The local kids from New Hampshire were spectacular despite dropping their first game on Saturday. The loss sparked a fire that burned from within the NH Fight team for the rest of the weekend. They will be a team to watch this spring as they possess the rare combination of being constantly locked in defensively as well as being efficient in transition.
10U/4th Grade – Worcester Sting Black
Coach Larson and Coach Zingarella’s group was tremendous this weekend. Their defense and complete team effort was what set them apart from the competition. They captured their first title while also going undefeated.
Undefeated Girls Teams
Varsity - Blue Wave Legassey
Coach Legassey's group was tremendous this weekend as they held teams to just over 30 points per game while beating opposing teams by an average of 22 points. The blueprint for success is simple, but it definitely works. This group of Blue Wave girls seem to be on a mission and have been deemed one of the top teams in Northern New England by our staff. With a surplus of college prospects, there will be many coaches on their tail this spring and summer.
14U/8th Grade - Worcester Sting
Coach McClain's 8th graders have been considered as one of the top teams in all New England. The Lady Sting solidified these claims last weekend with a solid body of work. It took them a couple games to get their legs under them, but once they started to gel a little bit, they simply couldn't be stopped. Their inside-out game is second to none. If the Sting continues to play they did in their second two games last weekend, they will be a force on the ZG Circuit all spring long.
13U/7th Grade - EVO RB
Coach Bennett's 7th graders put on the defensive performance of the weekend as they held teams to a mind-blowing 18 points per game. EVO embraces the slogan, "defense is our best offense," as the majority of their points came from being aggressive defensively, turning teams over, and finishing the ball on the break.
13U/7th Grade - Blue Wave (Levesque)
Besides a back and forth battle with the pesky, talented Marlborough Mayhem, this Blue Wave group tore through the competition. The main two things that really stuck out with this group was their fundamentals and attention to detail. It is not every day that you see 7th grade girls so far along with their skill set. Most importantly, this group seemed to really enjoy playing together.
12U/6th Grade - EVO RB
Another Randy Bennett coached team, another defensive juggernaut of a squad. This EVO team did not allow twenty points once this weekend. With the defense at the forefront of their mind, RB's 6th grade group has major potential to be hoisting the hardware at every ZG tournament they are in this spring.
12U/6th Grade - Blue Wave (Manduca)
The "Finals Bound" Blue Wave 6th Graders had a great weekend as a team. This team played as hard as anyone we saw all weekend long. The Wave consistently made little plays that turned into big plays. Their ability to stay focused on playing with a "team first" mentality is what allowed them to go undefeated and will also spark them in future tournaments.
11U/5th Grade - Derry Lady Spartans
The group from Derry was dominant all weekend long. The Spartans showed their full arsenal this weekend as they were firing on all cylinders. They scored the ball in a variety of ways, tenaciously defended the ball, and responded well to all adjustments made by opposing coaches.
10U/4th Grade - BOW Basketball
The small town girls from Bow, NH came to Durham with a goal in my mind, to prove to everyone that they could compete with the best. The girls did much more than just compete. They went 4-0 and were the top group in the 4th grade division. Our staff is looking forward to seeing this team in many more tournaments this spring.
10U/4th Grade - Blue Wave (Levesque)
The youngest Blue Wave girls group put together a ferocious defensive performance as they held teams to an average of only 9 points per game. Their passion on the defensive end will be vital going forward for the Wave. If they can continue to come together offensively they will be a terrifying match-up for opponents.
The ZG Report Staff is making its way down the coast as we dive deeper into the Top 20 ZG Facility Rankings. We are proud to announce to 9 slot to one of our favorite Virginia arenas, U-Turn. ZG will be at U-Turn this spring for our Southern Classic (March 28-29), Southern Open (April 11-12), Virginia State Championships (April 25-26), and Regional Championships (May 30-31). U-Turn has provided the ultimate platform for success for the youth of Richmond for years and has done a remarkable job year in and year out. Their first class staff is focused on doing things the right way while always thinking about what is the best way to help benefit the kids. ZG couldn't be happier to be back at U-Turn this spring for an array of high level Southern events. Let's take a walk around! http://www.u-turn.org
Boston Bobcats Media Night
MPLEX was close to capacity last night as the entire Bobcats organization came together for their Zero Gravity Media Night. The ZG Report Staff got a sneak peak of the Bobcats as they are starting to gear up for the spring season on the Road To The ZG Finals. The night consisted of skills stations, team practices, pictures, interviews, uniform fitting, and player/coach informational meetings. With a turnout of over 300 players, our staff was simply blown away by how far the Bobcats program has come in just a few short years. With the established coaching staff of Tyson Tyler, Steve McAlear, Doug Alves, Mike Kozio, Rick Patch, Cary Herer, Sarah Behn, Mike Herren, Trent Forbes, and Ryan Sheehan at the helm, the sky is truly the limit for this program going forward. It was astonishing to see the Bobcats program, who a few years ago were made up of only 3-4 teams, now has 47 teams and is one of the largest and most respected programs in all of New England.
#10 Brandeis University
One of ZG’s most frequent and favorite homes for years has been Brandeis University. The ZG Report Staff couldn’t be more thrilled to award the #10 facility ranking to the Joseph F. and Clara Ford Athletic and Recreation Complex. ZG will be back in Judges country this spring and summer for an array of high-level tournaments, showcases, and camps.