EAST ORANGE, NJ – For 15 years, the East Orange Rec 6th Grade All Star and East Orange Promoting Progress for Youth 5th Grade All Star basketball teams won numerous championships in the Garden State Basketball League.
This past 2017-2018 season, they left the GSBL and entered the Jersey Basketball Association.
The P.P.Y 6th Grade All Star team captured the division championship and league championship, by beating the Clark Knights, the team it lost to during the regular season.
The game turned out to be a thriller, going back and forth with lead changes and coming down to the last seconds. P.P.Y.’s Sean Mills made a layup with seconds remaining to win the championship.
Sean also received MVP, outstanding season total team contribution. Some key players were Eugene Bypass, Brandon Benjamin, and Taeshawn Mallard. The coaches were Ron Henry and John Johnson.
They also won the Newark Mayor’s Ras J Baraka Annual Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row.
Continuing the championship run, the 7th Grade All Star team was led by one of the best seventh-graders in the state in Brandon Rodriguez, who lead the team to the Seventh Grade Red League championship. Rodriguez also received MVP. They first defeated Green Brook, 82-51. In the second round, they defeated Chatham Blue, 77-65, after being down 15-1 in the first quarter.
In the semifinals, EO faced IHM, a team it faced for the first time. IHM jumped out to a 13-point lead. EO Coach Tyrone Miles called a timeout, telling his team to relax, refocus, play hard and “we will win this game.”
That timeout worked.
From that point on, EO gained the lead and never looked back, advancing to the championship once again as it faced South Brunswick Gold, a team it lost to during the regular season.
This time, instead of being down 15 points, the All Stars jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first quarter.
South Brunswick Gold was never able to recover, as the EO All Stars won the 7th grade Red Division Championship.
Other outstanding players on this well-balanced team were Toure Mouctar, Tarek Williams, Joshua Richards, Kilaf Willard, and Quentin DaCosta.
Xavier Stamp was a student coach and past member of East Orange Rec and PPY basketball programs and current member of East Orange Campus High School boys’ basketball team.
Also, the 8th Grade East Orange Rec All Stars, despite being undersized, managed to have a successful season, reaching the playoffs. The team was led by Kaleb Harmon Simmons, one of the best eighth-graders in the state, as he averaged 22 points, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 5 rebounds per game. The coaches were Tyree Sykes and Darryl Simmons.
“Team E.O.” – East Orange recreation Dept. P.P.Y. East Orange Fire Department – will continue to work together as partners to develop, mentor and make sure student-athletes are mentally, physically, and fundamentally prepared for the next level.