EAST ORANGE, NJ – Both the boys and girls youth travel basketball squads in East Orange played an excellent season this year which brought them to the Garden State Basketball League’s Super Sunday Basketball Tournament and Championships on March 5.
The playoffs were held in several locations around the state, including East Orange’s Hart Middle School Complex where both the East Orange All Stars Girls squad and the PPY Panthers Boys squads had homecourt advantage throughout the GSBL Playoffs.
East Orange All Stars:
The Girls East Orange All Stars Sixth Grade and Eighth Grade squads were in dominant form as they fought their way to the playoffs, only losing in the semifinals and finals respectively during Championship weekend. The All Stars Sixth Grade team went 11-5 on the season before losing to Long Valley 22-20 in the semifinal round on Friday March 3. They were averaging roughly 7 points per game in their margin of victory and 8.1 points per game in their margin of losses.
The All Stars Coaching Staff felt there were things that the team could improve on, but was overall happy with the squad’s success throughout the 2016-2017 season.
The Girls East Orange All Stars Eighth Grade squad was hitting all cylinders as they made their case for the GSBL Girls Eighth Grade Super Sunday Championship on March 5. The All Stars averaged double-digit blowouts over the course of their 14 wins and 13 points per game in their amazing three losses on the season, which includes their tough loss in the championship game against rival Chester in a closely contested 56-51 game. In a quick statement, Head Coach Janice Walker was very pleased on the effort her squad was able to give, although they would like to have brought home the trophy. She said she tipped her hat to a tough Chester squad whom they’ve split the regular season series in hotly-contested games.
PPY Panthers/Team EO Boys:
The Promoting Progress for Youth Panthers Boys Fourth, Sixth, and Eigthh Grade Basketball squads all made it to the championship on March 5. They were expecting to come away with a clean sweep of the day as they headlined with Basking Ridge and Randolph at Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School in Bridgewater.
The PPY Panthers Fourth-Graders were able to hold off a tough Basking Ridge team, 35-24, and claimed the American Division and State Crown for their own. The coaching staff was very pleased with the outcome in which the Panthers were victorious all season long with double-digit wins, giving them an 11-1 final record on the season.
The PPY Panthers Sixth-Graders were also tough in their final showdown with Basking Ridge Green. For what looked like a three-point shooting contest in the beginning of the game ultimately put East Orange in the driver seat as they battled their way to 47-40 championship win. The Basking Ridge Green Squad and EO played each other three times during the season, with Basking Ridge coming out on top twice. The Panthers finished the season 10-3 overall. “It was extremely challenging for our squads to play each other three times prior to today,” stated East Orange Head Coach Tyrone Miles. “We were able to pull this one out today. We thank both Basking Ridge and our fans for the fun day and sportsmanship.”
Team EO Eighth-Graders went into GSBL’s Super Sunday 14-1 as they defeated North Hunterdon 69-49, while Randolph bumped off Kingwood 66-59, to set up the showdown. Randolph’s sharp-shooters all managed to rain and drain three-pointers in the first half to hold East Orange 24-10 at halftime. Team EO tried its best to get back in the game. East Orange power forward Corey Walker managed to hit three buzzer-beating half-court shots to put East Orange back in the hunt and overtake Randolph.
But Randolph took advantage of the foul line as they were sent there by East Orange more than 12 times during the second half. East Orange, as a team, landed in foul trouble, giving Randolph as much as a 20-point lead going into the final quarter of the game. East Orange managed to get within 8 points with just 4 minutes left, but Randolph was able to get back to the line and close out the game, 71-58, and the championship.
The PPY Panthers will continue to play other tournaments and games that will be announced over the course of the upcoming spring/summer basketball season that may include AAU-sanctioned games for the annual regional/national championships that are held around the country.
PPY also holds a Saturday Basketball Skills Camp in the Gymnasium of East Orange S.T.E.M. Academy (formerly Clifford Scott High School, located at 129 Renshaw Ave. in East Orange), which is open to all ages until the end of May.