Steve Keyte will reprise his role of 4th Grade Coach for the Jaguars in 2014, a role he formerly had success with in 2012.
Jane Baron, mother of JP (JAGS 6th Grade Black) and Jaylen (JAGS 7th Grade Blue) lost her courageous battle with pancreatic cancer on Sunday morning, May 1st. John Baron, coach of our 6th Grade Black and 7th Grade Blue teams, has been Jane's caretaker for over 13 months as she has battled this illness and the way John and the family cared for, tended to and paid tribute to a beautiful woman, Jane, was a blessing to see each day. Jane we will miss you so much and your legacy will live in all of us forever!
John's 6th Grade Black team traveled to Spooky Nook for the 2nd Annual Warriors Court Championship hosted by Spooky Nook Sports this weekend. There were 9 teams in 6th Grade A boys bracket and the JAGS got things started early on Saturday morning with a 50-39 win against House of Sports. In the afternoon they bested the Central PA Elite team 49-30 which had resulted in the JAGS being ranked 3rd out of 9 in pool play. Saturday evening they demolished the 6th seed Luzerne County Lightning 57-12 getting them into the semi-finals for Sunday AM. John Baron coached the team in all three games that day knowing Jane's condition was worsening as the day went on.
He and JP did not return on Sunday and Assistant Coach Klauder got the team together prior to the 8:50 AM tip off and dedicated the rest of the day to Mrs. Baron. For the rest of the day, every time out, every break from the huddle we all in unison chanted, "Mrs. Baron". The boys were laser focused and played the semifinal game with such effort and positive attitude and we beat a very good House of Sports team, 59-39. Late in the game I learned that Jane had passed while we played and we gathered all the players and parents together and had a very emotional and tearful talk with everyone.
We had to wait around 3+ hours for the championship and we all worked to keep the boys positive while respecting the passing of Jane. We faced the #1 seed Rochester Select Basketball Academy (RSBA) and it was a great basketball game. Once again the "Mrs. Baron" chant was heard repeatedly by a jam packed crowd watching this game. Back and forth for most of the game, with big bucket after big bucket by both teams, the JAGS pulled through in the end and won the championship 51-45. The boys conducted themselves with such class and poise and they were constantly thinking of Mrs. Baron, Coach John, their teammate JP and his sister Jaylen.
Personally, I have been around a lot of things with sports over the years and today was one of the finest moments I have ever had in spite of the terrible news. I give these young men so much credit and today we witnessed why sports are so powerful and uplifting. I have cried a lot today but I smile at what they accomplished. More importantly, is how they accomplished it.
We stand with the Baron family and our prayers and support are with them. The viewing will most likely be Thursday night and the funeral mass Friday morning at St. Eleanor Church (Collegeville).
9th Grade Blue has qualified again for the Division I National Championships, finishing in the top four in the DQT. Congratulations to all of the players and coaches. Details to follow.
In other Action:
4th Grade Blue had a challenging weekend. Due to the lack if 4th grade teams the Jags were forced to challnge themselves and play up in a 5th Grade Division. The girls lost their first game to a very big and fast Philly Triple Threat team. The game started well, but the Jags ended up on the losing end. The second game was against the Comets 5th grade B team. The Jags battled to the end, but eventually the Comets significant height advantage at every position was too much to handle. The girls competed hard and lost by a score of 29-19. Scoring was led by Amelia Kennedy's 8 points and Nylah Cody chipped in 4. Sunday morning we played the Comets 4th grade A team. We started off slow and fell behind by 17 points in the first half. We woke up in the 2nd half and battled them much better, however, we lost 34-13. The Jags ended the tournament against the Chesco Lightning 5th grade team. We were short handed for this game, however, we did have a lead at halftime. The girls competed hard, but again, the height differential prices to be to much in the second half. Lauren Keyte and Amelia Kennedy led the scoring with 4 points each.
6th Grade Blue, despite being shorthanded at times throughout the weekend (including the coach!) were led to a 3-1 weekend by Coach Janine Mullin. The team was directed in the first game by substitute point guard Maya Bokunewicz to a 29-16 victory over the 6th Grade Renegades team. In the second game the team fell to the Rockers. On Sunday the team welcomed back point guard Lucy Olsen and used a revamped man to man press to wallop the Blue Demons by a score of 32-15. The girls finsihed their strong weekend with a 10 point victory over the 7th Grade Renegades team.
6th Grade White played some very tall, strong, and physical teams over the weekend in West Chester and the first aid kit and ice packs were put to use frequently but this team played hard until the end! The team dropped a heartbreaker to Kyniska- after tying the game with 30 seconds left Kyniska scored at the buzzer to win. Kylie Monaco, Olivia Keyte and Gabriella Alessandroni each had 4 points as all 9 girls scored. The team played hard against a strong Comets team with Gina Iannozzi, Gabby Marinacci, and Olivia Keyte each having 5 points. Sunday we played a very tall Wilmington Tigers team and our inability to control the boards made this a tough matchup. Gabby Marinacci scored 8 points and Kylie Monaco added 5. In our last game against Southern Berks we trailed 12-10 late in the first half. The remainder of the game was a different story as the Jags pressure D created havoc as we outscored them 34-5 the rest of the way to win 44-17. Again all 9 players scored. Gabriella Alessandroni had 8 points, Riley McGettigan and Gina Iannozzi both had 7. Marlee Brown added 6 points over the weekend as well. Playing some stronger teams should help us in the remainder of our tournaments this season.
7th Grade Black had a 1-1 Saturday, losing to the Huskies Elite but rebounding for a 38-13 victory over the Hunting Park Warriors. Luke Santangelo led the team with great intensity and leadership throughout the day.
8th Grade Black again reached the Tournament Championship. The first game saw the boys have a 48-29 over Storm Elite. Leading the way with 12 points was Ryan Kendra. Carson Parke chipped in 9, Brendan Schimpf with 7, Jerry Kapp and Kevin Bernabe had 6 a piece. game two was another victory, this time a 52-37 win over SC Select. The Jags had a balanced attack on the offensive end with every player registering in the scoring column. Kevin Bernabe had 9 Dan Cirino had 8. Carson Parke, Brendan Schimpf, Owen Evans and Liam Boyle each had 6. Game 3 was more of the same, a cruise to a 50-26 over Mountain. Once again every one registered points in this game. Carson Parke led the way with 8 Points, while Andrew Light and Brendan Schimpf each put up 7. Game 4 was a the tournament semi-final and the Jags routed the Deja Vu W 61-25. Point guard Kevin Bernabe led the way with 12 Points in this one. He had big help from Liam Boyle, Owen Evans and Dan Cirino who each poured in 9 points. In the Championship Game the Jags ran out of gas and lost to the a different SC Select team by a score of 57-37. It was a tough battle in the first half as the team had to fight back from some early turnovers and easy buckets for Team Select. Jags fought back to within 3 at the half. Poised to make a run in the 2nd half the Jags just couldn't seem to put the ball in the hoop. SC Select took advantage of the missed shots and get some easy buckets in transition to make this game look worse than it actually was. Jags were led by Carson Parke's 10 points. Jerry Kapp and Brendan Schimpf each had 9. Jags are hopeful to see this SC Select Team in the future. Although the boys lost a tough one in the Championship, the Coaches are very proud of their teams performance this weekend. Dominating on Defense and Hustle Plays, sharing the ball on offense and looking like a true team out there. Making the Championship Game in all 3 Tournaments so far and Winning 1 of 3 of those games is something for us to be proud of. With the halfway point of the season approaching we are looking forward to a strong finish.
9th Grade Black faced some very stiff competition this past weekend at the Division I District Championships and Coaches Paul and Bill were very proud of ALL the boys on how the boys competed. A nice win against a Berks Redstorm on Saturday got the team started in the right direction. But as nice of a win that was, the coaches were a little more proud of the boys for a loss. First off, when you have the lead with a minute left against a team that before the game received brand new Nike’s (A Nike Sponsored Elite team) and who is a select team ranked in the top three in the state of New Jersey, you have to feel pretty proud of yourselves. In a position to win with 20 seconds left, with a jumper here or a free throw there made down the stretch, the Jags came up just short, however ALL 10 boys contributed good solid play in the game. After this weekend this Team, Kingdom Elite is headed to the Final four of the Championships, and it was very close to being the Jags. Walking out of the gym, the compliments the coaches received from the other team about the boys and the way they compete, made them feel very proud of their team. The team had to head back to Chester Saturday night for an elimination game against the SJ Blitz, having to pick themselves up after such a tough loss. Although close throughout the game, at no time were the coaches worried about winning the game. Having confidence in any of the boys put on the floor, the boys responded with a win, moving on to play a number 1 seed, the York Ballers, on Sunday Morning. Getting to the gym on Sunday morning, and looking at the boys before the game, the coaches sensed a confidence in the team that they could not only hang with the “Ballers”, despite having witnessed the Ballers finishing off their first two opponents by more than 43 points each game,… but that they could win. They sure stepped up and proved that they can hang with any team if they play the right way, jumping out to an early lead and causing the first of many blood vessels to pop in the other coaches forehead (A sight to be seen). Unfortunately, the Jags lost an important player to them in Avery Close to a Concussion in the first quarter, needing to be brought to the hospital for evaluation (He is doing fine). This was a pretty scary sight for the boys (As well as the coaches). With what Avery brings to the team, the other boys needed to step it up. Despite the loss of Avery, the boys continued to compete throughout the game, keeping it close well into the fourth quarter, and within striking distance for a team that can shoot like the Jags. The Coaches had to laugh that this “elite” Ballers team even needed to stall the ball in the 3RD QUARTER, because of the fear that the Jags were not going away. Although the Ballers won a close game, the determined Jags team gave them everything they could handle. The Coaches were very proud of the team throughout the weekend on how they represented their coaches, parents and Jaguars Organization. AAU Basketball is not always about winning another trophy, for the team felt more pride about the way they competed this weekend, then by the trophy they won last weekend. The team realizes that playing competition like this will only make them stronger basketball players, and prepare them better for High School ball and beyond.. Every player on the team competed with heart and never felt that they did not belong on the court with these regional “elite” teams. Although proud of all 10 of the boys, Coach Paul would be remiss if he did not single out Justin Jaworski’s effort and tenacity with which he played all weekend. It is no secret for those who come to watch them play, that Coach Paul relies heavily on Justin when they go against these tougher teams, and he continually responds. Per Coach Paul, “We did not play one game this weekend that I did not feel that the best player on the court was wearing a Jaguars uniform, and had a number 3 on it”. Congrats to Justin on another great tournament, and for all the boy’s in following his lead. The team is working hard and making each other better basketball players, both in games and at practice.
9th Grade Blue, High School Blue and High School White headed south this weekend but to work on their game, not their tans. This weekend is the one major spring NCAA viewing period where NCAA Division I coaches are permitted to view and evaluate up and coming talent from across the United States. Our girls are at both prestigious East Coast Tournament, the Boo Williams Nike Invitational and the Blue Chip Pre-Season Challenge, representing our organization and our region's girls basketball.
At Boo Williams, 9th Grade Blue, with only 8 players, kicked off their weekend action with a thrilling 1 point victory. The girls trailed by as many as 9 to Miami Suns in the second half, led by Shannon Mullen's 10 points and Juliana Alessandroni's 8. Facing a team that had a 6'4 and 6'0 girls the Jags fought hard on the boards to make up for the lack of size. Coach Alessandroni said "Madison Haney, Marissa Picinich, Shannon Mullen and Taylor Keys were all HUGE on the boards. Rachel Yerger, Juliana Alessandroni, Devin Scilingo and Lexie Nugent were able to handle the constant pressure applied by the opponent." The girls dropped their second game by 9 in the final minutes to eventual quarterfinalist New England Crusaders. The team rebounded from that defeat with a crisply played 55-38 victory over the NJ Sparks. Marissa Picinich got the Jags started knocking down 2 early baseline jumpers. Rachel Yerger led the way this time with 10 points, Shannon Mullen added 9. Juliana Alessandroni and Taylor Keys continued their strong play by contributing 8, and Maddie Haney banged the glass and kicked in 7 points.
Also at Boo Williams, High School Blue is 1-2 through their first three games. Let's just say the first game didn't go so well but Coach Mellon did get to meeting Geno Auriemma (see blurry picture below), so he had that going for him. In game 2 the girls dropped a tight contest to a team from Vancouver called BC Finest by a score of 58-53. Marissa Sandone continued her torrid play with a team high 14 points. She was assisted by Abby Beyer's 12 and Taylor Evans' 8. The girls got in the win column during the second Saturday game, beating the New York Lightning by a score of 37-35. Abby Beyer dropped 17 points and Jordan Webb chipped in with 6.
High School White is playing in the Blue Chip Tournament and dropped their first two games. Details to follow.
In the Girl's District Qualifying Event the Jaguars are being represented by 4th Grade Blue, 5th Grade Blue, 6th Grade Blue and 6th Grade White.
4th grade blue played their best competition of the year, and they rose to the occasion. We started out tight in our first game and fell behind by 8 in the first half against the Chester County Wizards. A much better second half got us back into the game, we eventually lost by 4 points, 21-17. Amelia Kennedy led the scoring with 7 points. Julia Breisch contributed 4 points, while Lauren Keyte, Erin Skomsky and Samantha Brown each contributed 2 points. Our second game against the Rockers started much better. We jumped out to a 10 point lead and eventually won by 3, 23-20. Amelia Kennedy again led all scorers with 12 points. On Sunday we played a hard fought game against the Philly Heat. It was a physical game that went back and forth, we eventually lost by 1 point. Amelia Kennedy had 16 points and Julia Breisch contributed 4 in the 25-24 loss. We finished the tournament strong by beating the Delaware Lady Sharks by a score of 36-15. Amelia Kennedy, Erin Skomsky and Avery White all contributed 6 points in the win. It was a great effort by all of the girls. Everyone contributed offensively and we continued our strong defensive play only giving up 81 points in the 4 games. The games were very physical, which we weren't used to, but the girls played through it and showed they can compete with anybody.
5th Grade Blue dropped both Saturday games, details to follow.
6th Grade Blue had a very difficult draw and dropped a pair of games on Saturday. In the first loss to the Comets the team welcomed Maya Bokunewicz back from injury and she was in a group of 3 players, including Kayla Viney and Sydney Tornetta who each had 4 points. Tornetta also added 5 rebounds and 3 steals. The girls fought hard with a talented Magic team and trailed only by 6 at halftime but the Magic's outside shooting was the difference in the 45-21 defeat. Sydney Tornetta again was the leading scorer with 5 points, followed by Caroline Pellicano, Hannah Clay and Skylar Sullivan, each with 4. On Sunday the team faced another stiff test against the Lower Delco Wildcats who beat the Jags by four in their last meeting. On this occassion however, the girls rallied from their disappointing Saturday and played a solid game at both ends of the floor to secure a heart pounding, come from behind 22-20 victory. Sydney Tornetta once again led all scorers with 12 points, including two huge, back to back three pointers to forge a tie game at 20-20. Lucy Olsen nailed a big three pointer early in the game and Hannah Clay had 3 points to go along with her 4 rebounds. Unfortunatley the team dropped the tournament finale to the Explosion by a score of 36-27. The girls got off to a slow start trailing 10-1 before going on a 13-1 run of their own to take a 13-11 lead. Tornetta again led the way with 8 points and Hannah Clay had 6 points and 5 rebounds. The girls improved their seeding in Division 1 from #7 in 2013 to #6 in 2014. (see pictures below)
6th Grade White dropped their first game to the Comets, Corinne Meyer led the way in the defeat with 4 points. The team rebounded to win their second game in thrilling fashion with a 19-18 over the Rockers. Leading scorers were Corinne Meyer and Gabby Marinacci with 4 and 8 players tallied in the win. Riley McGettigan and Nikki Foller-Moll hit huge free throws in the last minute to steal a win after falling behind late. On Sunday, the Jags used a 15-4 second half to secure another come from behind victory over the Mid-Penn Motion, final score 24-16. Corinne Meyer continued her strong tournament, leading the way with 7 points. Nikki-Foller Moll and Riley McGettigan each had 5 in the win.
7th Grade Blue went 3-1 on the weekend led by a total team effort on both the offensive and defensive game. The last game on Sunday against the Wizards was quite the thriller and the girls really stepped up and put it all on the floor- not an easy thing to do playing back to back games. Our scoring front was led by Ariana Maggazolo who had 16 points including two 3 point goals that opened up the lead for us at crucial times. Also, a big performance by Abby Goodrich who also netted 16 points and was a major presence on the boards throughout the entire game. Defensively, the intensity and discipline is what ultimately won us the game. Huge defensive performances by Morgan Flynn, Meghan Moore, and Cassidy Landis were crucial in the second half. Coach Taylor says the girls are playing their best basketball of the season and is looking forward to see where the team measures up at the upcoming regional tournament. In the first game The Jags easily handled Kyniska by a score of 48-20. Lauren Beppel netted 13 points in the win and was shooting the lights out. Abby Goodrich also came up big with 12 points. In the Jags loss to the Mid-Penn Motion Logan Bonewitz lit up the floor from beyond the arc and netted three 3-balls, finishing with 10 points. The game against the Crush resulted in a 49-27 victory and Abby Goodrich led the team with 17 points in a 49-27.
7th Grade White had a very successful 2-2 weekend. Saturday started out with a close, hard fought 2 point loss to Kynska. The team fell behind early and played catch-up until the end. Jenna Finley sunk two huge 3s at the end of the game to force a tie, however the Jags came up a bit short at the buzzer. The second game Saturday against Southern Berks pitted the girls against their biggest challenge to date. After a rough game, the girls played hard and came up 5 points short in the end. A team effort kept the Jags close all game, but a late run was not to be had. Ameerah Green brought her "A" game defensively in this one. Sunday brought sunshine and wins. In the opener the girls played a total team game and beat Philly Flight. Aigner Thaxton had one for the record books: 12 points and 19 rebounds. The Jags overcame 7 made 3s by the Flight and held on at the end to secure a victory. To start the game, 7th Grade White jumped out to a 12-2 lead with a flurry of made shots - started by a Jenna Finley 3 and held a 5 point half time lead. The Flight kept coming at the us, and were one of the purest shooting team we faced all season. In the end, the Jags controlled the ball down the stretch and finished out a solid effort with a 3 point win. Flush with confidence the girls played some tether ball, and then played the Chesapeake Chicks. Finishing off the weekend with a strong 40-11 victory, the Jags played a complete team game and kept their composure against in a hostile environment. The weekend was very successful with 3 very close games against solid competition and one easy victory. The smiles at the end of the weekend told a great story.
8th Grade Blue was 3-1 this weekend in the Chesco Lightning Tournament in West Chester, PA. In game one 8 Blue beat a solid West Chester Wizards team 41-34. The team was paced by Megan Jonassen 15 points and 9 rebounds, Alex Blomstrom had 8 and Kali Kratz had 7. Victoria Melton had 9 rebounds. In game two 8 Blue suffered their first lost of the year losing 53-29 to a very talented Potomac Valley Lady Classics team. Melton had 7 points and Ali Higgins and Ashlyn Duda each had 4 points. On Sunday the Jags 8 Blue bounced back with two wins. Game one on Sunday saw the team down 27-20 to the well rounded Perkasie Knights with 5:20 left in the game and the Jags 8 Blue reeled off the last 18 points of the game to win 38-27. Great defense and passing lead the way. Jonassen had 11, Kratz had 7 and Blomstrom and Higgins each had 6 points. In the last game the Jags 8 Blue beat the host Chesco Lightning 36-24 with Blomstrom and Jonassen each with 11 points and Maggie Welsh and Duda with 4 each. In the two Sunday games, 8 Blue shot 24-28 from the foul line! Next up is the Mid-Atlantic District Qualifier 5/9 to 5/11 in Easton, PA.
7th Grade Black is the only boys team in action this weekend and, as usual, went 2-0 on Saturday and will be in the tournament quarterfinal on Sunday. In the first game the boys beat the 4th ranked DI AAU team in NJ, the NJ Collection, by a score of 53-43. The followed that up with a 58-29 win over Backcourt Hoops from Scranton. (See picture below). Sunday was much of the same with contests against two different BackcourtHoops and then a rematch with the NJ Collection. The Jags pasted both Backcourt Hoopes teams by scores of 58-38 and 66-48. The boys were running on fumes having played 3 games in 5 hours and fell to the NJ Connection in the Tournament Championship Game by a score of 68-57.(see picture below)
9th Grade Black won the One Day Shootout Championship this past weekend at Girard College. Proving themselves to be a team that needs their rest, the Jaguars started the day with a tough loss at 8:00 against the Lower Bucks Lightning losing by 5, only scoring 16 points in the first half, and falling behind by as many as 14 points. Their second half comeback fell just short, placing them in the tough losers bracket and needing to play 3 back to back games in order to win the championship, which they did. In the second game of the tournament, the Jags welcomed Avery Close to the team. Avery, new to the Jags this season, had his coming out party, playing inspired defense disrupting the offense of the Philly Flight Ballers, and leading the way offensively with 17 points. Avery, the tallest player on the Jags, played that way the entire tournament, getting Coaches excited with having another weapon as they head into the District championships this coming weekend. The Jags had a convincing win, beating the Ballers by 26. Coming right back and playing a second straight game, The Jags handled things with good solid play winning the Semi final game by 13, setting up a rematch with the Lower Bucks Lightning for the Championship. The Jags were playing their third game in a row, against a rested Lightning squad, but that didn’t matter with the Jags getting off to a hot start scoring 11 straight points to start the game, leading to a five point halftime lead. Unfortunately, the Jaguars leader, Justin Jaworski, took a hard foul and was knocked out of the game with a head injury early on, making the road an even tougher one. However Justin’s High School teammate, Hogan Millheim came to the rescue, putting the team on his back and scoring 16 of his 22 points in the second half to lead the Jaguars to a 12 point victory, and championship. Coach Paul has enjoyed a very talented guard oriented team, but with adding 3 new bigs to the team this year, along with Hogan Millheim, it allows the team now to beat you inside as well as outside, which they did this weekend, leaning heavily on their “bigs” to bring home the Championship. The Coaches are excited about how the team is jelling as they enter the second half of their tournament schedule, and District Championships this weekend.