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Castle Boys Win House of Sports High School JV Championship
November 10, 2014
Castle Athletics took down the House of Sports High School JV championship yesterday, deploying a team of players from last season's 8th and 9th grade teams. During the regular season, the boys went 7-1, losing only when they were significantly undermanned due to injury. Yesterday, the boys avenged the lone loss, beating CUCD in the semifinals by four points. Then, the Knights took on Hen-Hud High School, the only undefeated team in the league, and won going away by 21 points.
In the semifinal, Castle was down by 7 at the half but came on strong in the second half. The boys went on two runs led by Jarell Ware's defense, rebounding and second chance opportunities and timely three pointers by Jack Srinivasan, Demarley Smith and Michael Rogers. Great inside play was also contributed by Manny Sarbah and Sal Koureissi. Against Hen-Hud, Castle used a smothering man-to-man defense to start the second half and went on a 15-0 run to pull away. Like the rest of the season, team play was the key to success, with everyone sharing the ball, looking for the open man and stepping up to help on defense.
It should be noted that Castle played the last few weeks with less than a full roster. And, while some players were unable to participate due to high school pre-season practices starting, the players (Aaron Burt and Ismael Valdez) came to the games to cheer their teammates on to victory. That is a true "Castle Kid". Thanks.
Great season men! Good luck on your high school teams!
Castle Lady Knights Start the Charge
November 5, 2014
The Castle Lady Knights started their inaugural high school campaign in dominating fashion this past weekend, sweeping two games in the Under Armour Hoop Dreams Invitational by 8 and 43 points, and guided by Curtiz "Luck" Simpson. Castle has been developing the ladies side of the program for two years and now can boast that it has the players and the coaches to compete athletically and academically with the best.
Last year, Castle added Roger "Red" Collier, the dean of girls basketball in New York City. Red has been committed to girls basketball his entire coaching career. Currently, he coaches at Ursula High School and leads the NYC Charter School program for girls hoops. By adding Luck, Castle has brought on one of the youngest bright minds in NYC. He has been an assistant coach at Murry Bergtraum High School and has a tremendous following in New York and New Jersey. In the Spring and Summer seasons, Red and Luck will lead the Castle high school teams in tournaments throughout the United States, including Run4theRoses, Deal in the Ville, Battle in the Boro and the US Nationals and locally at the Rose Classic and the Gym Rat Invitational.
Also, Castle has added Big Jeff Jeffreys to lead the Castle Lady Knights' 5th and 6th grade charges. The A Train played his high school and college ball at Truman High School and Texas A&T, respectively, and has been leading girls programs for the past ten years.
Castle Boys Double Down in Vegas
July 30, 2014
Castle Athletics finished its 2013-2014 travel season with its four boys teams venturing to Las Vegas to play in the Vegas Finals, July 23-27. The competitive field included some of the best teams from some of the elite programs throughout the United States and Canada. And, while all of Castle's teams played extremely well, the 16s played deep into the tourney before succumbing in the semi-finals.
Both the 17s and 16s finished pool play 3-0, each earning a first round bye in the single elimination portion of the tournament. The 15s and 14s each compiled a 2-1 record in pool play, finishing second in their respective pools.
In knockout play, the 14s were upset by the Hoops Masters from Los Angeles. The game was close throughout but the Hoop Masters' motion offense finally wore down the Castle Knights and they pulled away for the victory. The 17s were also upended by the motion offense of the Arizona Aces. Again, a close game in the first half was broken open by the Aces through deft screening and precise outside shooting.
The 15s won their first elimination game but were ultimately undone by the Nebraska Bison. The Bison coupled a strong pressure defense with constant ball movement.
The 16s combined their pressure defense, athleticism, shooting and great team chemistry to plow through pool play and the early rounds of the elimination brackets. In its first knockout game, Castle beat back X-Factor 81-53. The next round, the quarterfinals, Castle took on Boston Elite, a team that had bested the Knights by 3 points months before at the Providence Jamfest. But, this time, the Castle Knights were ready and walloped the Beantown squad 69-53. In the semi-final, however, the Knights were up against another Nebraska Bison team. The game was close throughout and was tied late in the second half 42-42. Then, the Bison salted the game away by going on a 23-13 run, knocking out the last Castle team from the Vegas Finals.
It was a great week in Vegas and a great season for the teams. Many thanks to the boys and their sportsmanship throughout the season. And, many thanks to all of the Castle coaches for leading their troops over the five month season!
While the travel portion has ended, the Castle teams continue their play in NYC playgrounds on a weekly basis.