This year, 67 teams played 82 games (61 on Saturday alone), ranging in six age groups (9-14), competing at five locations: Cranston West, Western Hills, the CLCF Building, Rainone Gym and Orchard Farms. The boys of CLCF played very well, capturing one championship (U13 Green), 3 finalists (U9, U10 and U13 White) and two semifinalists (U12 and U14).
Here are your winners from the premier youth basketball talent from all over Rhode Island.
U9 — East Greenwich defeated CLCF: The last game of the tournament fittingly came down to a last second shot. Jake Bender's coast to coast drive, which included a couple of crossovers and a heads-up check of the clock, in the closing seconds rimmed out as East Greenwich held on to defeat CLCF in the closest final of the day. Grant Driscoll paced the winners with 8 points. Lots of good fundamentals on display for these two well-coached teams.
U10 — Coventry defeated CLCF: Coventry added to their wardrobe taking home another t-shirt after a well-earned victory over CLCF. Mike Tosterhout's team remains undefeated over two years in this division. I think we might need to assemble a RIYBA all star team to challenge them! Troy Tosterhout paced the victors with 18 points. Wonderkid Lucas Garcia (Coventry) and Nelvin Blanco (CLCF) had a great battle at the point.
U11 — North Providence defeated Coventry: Wish we had this one on video! Two titans in the eleven's traded baskets all game for the highest scoring game of the day 52-49. After a 27-27 halftime tie, Coventry jumped out to a quick 2nd half lead, but NP staged a late rally and battled back to victory. Both teams had balanced attacks in a well-coached classic between Jerry Rubino (NP) and Chris Anderson (Cov.)
U12 — East Greenwich defeated West Warwick: RIYBA's most competitive division (12s) has seen multiple champions this year, and East Greenwich, after a dominating tournament run, is the latest king of the hill. Harris Alkins and his staff schemed impressively and the boys played tremendously as they rolled through an Iron Pool that included Tourney Champs Portsmouth, Smithfield, and CLCF, before defeating up and coming West Warwick in the finals. Steve Lawton's West Warwick also went 3-0 in pool play to set the stage for the final matchup.
U12 Silver — Portsmouth Black Hawks defeated Ponoganset: Chris Herron's 22 points led the Portsmouth Black Hawk's as they defeated Ponoganset in the finals of the 12 Silver bracket. Portsmouth, coached by Rick Abbate, used a pressing defense to jump out to an early lead that it never relinquished. Ponoganset had an impressive run to the finals including a solid victory over NK Blue.
U13 — CLCF Green defeated CLCF White: This all CLCF final (with assists going to Coventry and West Warwick for playing up to 14s) included several lead changes until Green pulled away late in the game. The victory gives coach Bill Boffi “temporary” bragging rights over coach Mike McCann, at least until our next scrimmage!... Andrew Albro (yes that Albro) paced the victors with 19 points.
U14 — West Warwick defeated NK Blue: West Warwick's Warren Henseler made a case for RIYBA coach of the year and Trevor Lawton (24 pts) may have locked up RIYBA's player of the year with another impressive performance and championship. After dominating it's age group, West Warwick played up a division and defeated division powerhouses Coventry and North Kingstown Blue in close games en route to the championship. In a well-played game, Lawton's monster game prevented coach Jim Moniz' defending CLCF Classic Champs from repeating.
Congratulations to all the teams, coaches, parents and volunteers who made this such a success this year.
Photos courtesy of www.CranstonSports.com, dedicated to the youth sports of Cranston, RI.