basketball Edit

Rumble in the Bronx: Co-Champs are Crowned

ARDSLEY, NY- Sunday was Championship Day at the Rumble in the Bronx with the best of the best squaring off for supremacy. It was a packed gym at House of Sports with an excellent atmosphere and great competition from start to finish.

Each of the 17u, 16u, and 15u levels provided thrilling play and fantastic down to the wire action. was on hand all day at the famed Westchester County facility to take in the games and now provide you a recap of what went down and home brought home titles at the end of a strong overall weekend.

City Rocks and Expressions share 17u title


When you look at how their semifinal games played out you could make a case that neither of the EYBL teams should've advanced to the title tilt. The host City Rocks took on Crab5Elite out of Texas in the semifinals and playing shorthanded with several key stars not in attendance they found themselves down by 18 at halftime.

It was about as poor a half as City Rocks could've anticipated with Joe Girard (Glens Falls '19) struggling to find his range from behind the arc, and Mika Adams-Woods (New Hampton Prep, NH '19) not having success when he attacked the basket against the athletic and tough Crab5Elite guards.

Both Jarius Hincklen (DeSoto, TX '19) and Tristan Starks (MacArthur, TX '19) got off to solid starts, but it was the play of Carius Key (MacArthur, TX '19) who really was propelling Crab5 to what looked to be a commanding lead.

The Crab5 lead went up to as much as 21 before things began to shift as Dior Johnson (Montverde Academy, FL '22) provided a boost for City Rocks off the bench in his ability to finish at the rim, and when Gerald Drumgoole (Irondequoit '19) began to shine from the outside that's when things really exploded for City Rocks as the Crab5Elite lead slowly but surely began to shrink.

Hincklen did a good job creating space and connecting on back to back possessions from deep, but each time Drumgoole matched him, and with just under 20 seconds left City Rocks tied the game up for the first time at 68.

Crab5Elite had a chance to hold for the win or have the game go into OT, but a turnover allowed Adams-Woods to throw the ball up the court into the waiting arms of Drumgoole who put in the layup just as the final buzzer sounded to give City Rocks a thrilling come from behind 70-68 win.

It was much the same for Expressions who found themselves trailing Olympus Elite out of New Jersey by 7 with under 5 minutes to play but they willed themselves into an OT session, and with the game knotted at 64 with 3.7 seconds left, Expressions inbounded the ball and got it in the hands of Alonzo Linton (Lynn English, MA '19) who drained the corner three ball as time expired to give his team the 67-64 victory.

With both City Rocks and Expressions coming off thrilling semifinal wins, and with both in the same pool for the Nike Peach Jam coming up later in July both teams agreed that co-champions were enough for them, each going back home as champs.

Stamford Peace hold off Castle Athletics to take 16u title

Coming into this 16u title game you had to think that the way Castle was playing they were the favorites heading in. They took down City Rocks EYBL in the semifinal by 17 and were cruising on all cylinders. Julian Soumaoro (Cardinal Hayes '20) was a lights out weapon from long range and helped carry Castle from being tied at 32 to a 63-46 win over City Rocks.

Stamford Peace though presented a different set of challenges as they were more rugged inside and were a better perimeter shooting team that had enough guards who could handle the ball that pressuring them wouldn't be as successful if they held up their end of the bargain.

That's how this one ended playing out as well as it was a very physical game that saw both teams have issues with how much was being allowed to around the basket. Soumaoro didn't have his shot on in this one, and Majesty Johnson (Brooklyn Collegiate '20) was solid when he attacked the rim using his elite speed, but he too often settled for contested perimeter shots.

Leading 24-19 at the half had Stamford happy with where they were as Jake Thaw (Staples, CT '20) was a great inside/outside threat while Matt Tepedino (Rye '20) was strong on the ball and handling the intense Castle defensive intensity.

In the second half though whenever Stamford needed a big bucket it was Akim Joseph (Trinity Catholic, CT '21) who rose to the challenge as the 6'6" athletic forward was able to take defenders off the dribble just as well as he could control the glass and finish around the rim.

Castle was down 2 in the closing seconds and even though they didn't play nearly as well in this one as they did against City Rocks they had a chance to win but a Johnson three was well short after a strong contest by the Stamford defense as the Connecticut crew was able to hold on for a gritty and hard fought 40-38 win.

Joseph in the win paced Stamford Peace with 20 points, while in the loss it was Truth Harris (Mount St. Michael '19) who led Castle with 9 points.

City Rocks gets 2nd chip as they hold off Rocktown for 15u championship

Going 2 of 3 made this a very strong weekend for City Rocks as they led this one by as many as 14 in the second half before a late Rocktown Monarchs rally made this one close.

The balance of City Rocks proved to be too much to overcome though as Willie Lightfoot (Niagara Falls '22) was lights out on the ball creating and penetrating in the halfcourt, while Mazi Jackson (Nottingham '21) and Rob Brown (Albany Academy '20) each provided an excellent scoring prowess on the wings.

Rocktown, a team consisting primarily of players from St. Joe's Montvale in New Jersey, chipped their way back into this one late using the long ball to get close, but even as the deficit closer it was City Rocks who remained in firm control.

Jackson had 19 points, Brown added 18, while Lightfoot had 17 in what was a strong effort in the title game for the dynamic trio as they were able to come away with the 69-67 victory to bring the 15u title back to the Upstate, NY region.

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