LYNN — As the summer begins to wind down, so does the Lynn Parks and Recreation Summer Basketball League. After a fun-filled July that saw over 250 kids come out to compete across the three age divisions, it’s all been whittled down to six teams. Now, one game stands between each team and city-wide bragging rights for the rest of the year.
“The kids are all really excited about these championship games, it’s why most of them come out to play,” said tournament director Fred Hogan. “The bragging rights are a pretty big deal for these kids.”
There will be three championship games played Thursday evening, all at Marian Gardens (provided the weather cooperates). In the event of rain, the games will be moved indoors to Marshall Middle School. But Hogan and the players hope to get on the court at Marian Gardens, where a brand-new refinished basketball court awaits them.
“It hasn’t even been played on yet, the rims aren’t even attached,” Hogan said of the new court. “We’re going to attach them about an hour or so before the first title game, so those elementary school kids will be the first ones ever to play on it. Everyone is really excited, all of the kids have seen pictures of the court and stuff like that. It’s going to be a great day.”
The final three games are now set following Wednesday’s action at English. The elementary school division will see West Lynn’s Pizza Lovers go up against East Lynn’s D’Andreo Brothers. That game will be followed by the middle school division, which will pit West Lynn’s Gannon Building Associates against East Lynn’s John J. Walsh. To close out the night and the season, the high school division will see West Lynn’s Rick Starbard face off against East Lynn’s Solimine Funeral Homes.
“It’s going to be a great day,” Hogan said of the championship games. “We’re going to have a DJ down there, free pizza for the players, trophies, championship t-shirts, all of that. It’s really nice that we’re able to do all of this for those kids and end the season on a high note.”
Of course, Hogan notes that none of this would be possible without the help of local community leaders like Mayor Thomas McGee, Ward 6 Councilor Peter Capano and Parks & Recreation director Lisa Nerich.
“Mayor McGee has made it down to the courts a couple of times, which has been great,” said Hogan. “It’s nice for him to come down and see what we’re doing, and also for the kids to see him. All of our leaders have done a great job giving us everything we need to be successful here.”
And along with those community leaders, Hogan said that the volunteers are what really makes the tournament go. He pointed to his co-organizer Jeff Byrd along with Jarrell Byrd, Gianni Ferrari, LaShonda Hogan, Corey Bingham, Tope Mafo and Nyasia Chalas
“It takes a group effort to pull this off, and we couldn’t do it without all this help,” Hogan said.
Three semifinal and three consolation games were played Wednesday night.
In the elementary semifinal, D’Andreo Brothers advanced to the championship game with a 53-42 win over Richard Colucci.
Xavier Abreu scored 24 points and Saniga Patton added 14 points for D’Andreo. Colucci was led by 18 points from Gedeon Tirus and nine points from Jason Perry.
In the middle school division, John J. Walsh advance to Thursday’s final after a 60-56 victory over Meninno Construction. Tyrese Garcia scored 22 points for Meninno. Jeury Barbosa scored 18 points and Wally Florencio poured in 16 points for John J. Walsh.
In the high school semifinal, Solimine Funeral Homes earned a 71-56 win over EZ Landscaping. Angel Soto led Solimine with 31 points and Jack Rodriguez added 13 points. Edwin Soto scored 21 points for EZ Landscaping.