Nearly 400 people attended the games, which marked the 26th season of the youth basketball league played in parks in the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village and Elmhurst throughout May and June every year. “This season we had some of the best talent we have seen in years,” said head referee Ray Schick.
The marquee matchup saw Team DAB facing off against the surprising Royal Renovations Squad. In that 17 & Under championship game Team DAB, led by Jonathan Ruiz with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists, got by Royal Renovations, 53-39. Nino Radoncic led Royal Renovations with 16 points and six assists of his own.
Paint Folks roll over Tranquility
The 14 & Under championship game tipped off at 6 p.m. In the contest, Paint Folks beat Tranquility by a final score of 77-60.
What had been marked as an offensive battle, Paint Folks held on to a slim lead throughout the first half. Forward Diego Arias kept Tranquility close with 11 first-half points, while Paint Folks’ Alex Pena muscled his way through the paint for 20 points of his own in the first half, including three trifectas to keep Paint Folks up by six at the half.
Still within reach at the start of the fourth quarter, Paint Folks' Nino Radoncic caught fire with 11 fourth quarter points to seal the victory. To start the final quarter, Paint Folks put on the steady full-court press led by the tenacity of Malachi Philips that gave Tranquility fits.
The high scorers for Paint Folks were Pena with 28 points and Radoncic with 20. Philips added 19 points of his own.
The high scorers for Tranquility were Arias with 18 points and J.C Medina with 11.
IMH beats NY Future
The 12 & Under championship game was the most compelling of the evening.
While Sean Murray and Omar Cercado’s NY Future had a tough time coming out of the gate to start the game, they held on before eventually falling short to Brooklyn’s Immaculate Heart of Mary squad by a final score of 39-31.
Matty Canton kept NY Future in the game in the first half, scoring 11 of the team’s 17 first-half points. IMH, however, was a step quicker throughout the game. When it came to the fourth quarter with IMH up by four points, Paul Griffon’s squad turned up the press, leading to steals and easy buckets.
Down to stretch, Jordin Walker had a big fourth quarter with eight points to lead IMH to the victory. Walker's 20 points led IMH, while Nicholas Rodriguez chipped in with five.
Jeremiah Osie also contributed to the winning effort with stellar defense and five points of his own.
The high scorers for NY Future were Matty Canton with 16 points and Kevin Sanchez with six.
Team DAB outlasts Royal Renovations
The 17 & Under division of this year's Heroes League was defined by talent-stacked rosters filled with players who have multiple basketball commitments. The two teams in the finals this year played steady and strong throughout the season and came up big when it counted.
While Cole Anthony’s MDV Bullets were ousted along with the Phenom squad from Maspeth High School, Team Dab and Royal Renovations were destined to play the prime-time championship game on Tuesday.
The fans were treated to some spectacular play, as familiar Heroes stars Nino Radoncic and Jonathan Ruiz lit up the scoreboard and showed how much fun basketball can be to watch.
Ruiz would eventually led Team DAB to a 53-39 victory, but not before some back-and-forth intensity and pinpoint shooting from both teams. The start of the game saw Carlo Alejandro hit two three-pointers for Team DAB to put them up by six at the end of the first quarter.
Team DAB kept up the pressure in the second quarter, holding the Royal Renovation offense to just four points. DAB’s Ruiz started to catch fire with six points in the second, and DAB ran away with the game in the third.
The high scorers for Team DAB were Ruiz with 16 points and Alejandro with12 points. Joshua Ortiz also contributed to the winning effort with three steals and seven points.
The high scorers for Royal Renovations were Radoncic with 16 points and Oscar Filipkowski with nine.