Thunder wins Al Locke Title, Villanova is Arthur Boyle League Champ
The two most popular youth basketball leagues in the city finished the season with gusto on Saturday with two well played, closely battled championship games.
Malden Recreation this winter hosted leagues for over 200 players on 16 teams in grades 3-8 at the Sam Fishman Fieldhouse at the Salemwood K-8 School. Many more players, boys and girls, took part in weekly Saturday morning instructional basketball work, bringing the total to over 300 young basketball players in grades K-8, supervised by the Malden Rec staff of Coordinator Joe Levine, Assistant Coordinator Laura Perez and Site Coordinator Michael Boyd. A solid staff of volunteers, many from the Malden High School boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, also helped make the seasons run smoothly.
On Championship Saturday, in a close, 16-13 final, the Villanova team defeated St John’s for the Arthur P. Boyle League crown, in the league for boys and girls in Grades 4, 5 and 6. Villanova finished atop the regular season standings at 7-0 and then went 2-0 in the playoffs to finish unbeaten at 9-0 overall for the season. Villanova was coached by Kyriah Marcelin and Princeton Mathurin and included Mason Campos, Sully Connolly, Zyir Delva-Allen, Jahdia Fletcher, Andrew Mark, Michael Menard, Kyle Morano, Gabirelle Nettey, Mia Nguyen, Ramon Ostalaza, Jacob Peng, Mariana Rinaldi and Thomas Sewell.
The Runner-up St. John’s team, coached by Brian Friscia and Peyton Carron, included Winifred Chan, Nicholas Damico, Aidan Mark, Jason Nickerson, Aidan Nie, Arian Punj, Syrus Reddick, John Simonelli Jr., Dennis Soares, Nathan Tesfaye, Frank Toscano Jr. and Victor Vasquez-Flores. St. John’s came way out of the 2-5 regular season finish to make it all the way to the Finals with two upset playoff wins.
Thunder wins second Championship in franchise history over the Heat, 40-36
The Thunder shook the gym for the second time in franchise history, using a second-half run to top the Heat, 40-36, for the Al Locke League Championship, the league for players in Grades 6, 7 and 8. The Heat and Thunder tied for the regular season championship, both 5-2 overall, so it was no surprise they were locked in Saturday’s title final.
The Thunder, coached by Keyshawn Bridgeman-Dicks, included Chase Ashdown, Jamarie Brown, Shayaan Hussain, Cariguito Laude, Jax Marinko, Sysy McAuland, Jayden McGuffie, Jason Minervini, Tyler Pham, Liam Simmons, Mason Simmons and Kaileb Telasco.
The Heat was coached by Josh London and included Adrian Aguilar, Lucas Allan, Justin Bertoncini, Luis Custodi, Aiden Deronja, Deng Maluil, Joh Maluil, Benjamin Mardy, Julianna Mercidieu, Jamie O’Neil, Isaiah Richmond, Charles Silva and Randy Tran.
“It was a great season and we had a lot of interest in both leagues. We thank all the players for their effort and passion for basketball, all the volunteers from Malden High School for their time and hard work and all the fans and family for supporting our leagues,” said Malden Recreation Coordinator Joe Levine. “We can’t wait for next year.”