NCAA Selection Sunday is around the corner, but the real March Madness went down last weekend at PPA’s Winter Hoops Tournament.
Kids, parents and coaches alike couldn’t contain their excitement as the tournament date approached. Leading up to the big day, many players slept in full uniform and used basketballs as pillows.
Needless to say, the energy was palpable inside the Norwood School on Sunday, March 5. The PPA 2nd grade co-ed league kicked off its tournament at 4:00 pm in front of a jam-packed crowd of parents, siblings and friends. Players took the floor wearing their freshest gear — from the shorts, to the socks, to the Stephen Curry Under Armour sneakers.
After 12 hard-fought games in the tournament’s preliminary stage, only four of eight teams — the Blue Devils, Seminoles, Panthers and Tar Heels — advanced to the semi-finals. The Hokies, Bruins, Colonials and Rapids played their hearts out all season long, and they deserve recognition for their passion, teamwork and positive attitudes.
In the semis, the #1 seed Blue Devils took down the #4 seed Seminoles, while the #2 seed Panthers edged out the #3 seed Tar Heels. Kudos to both the Seminoles and Tar Heels for outstanding seasons!
Two epic semi-final matchups set the stage for an electric championship game. Bannockburn and Potomac boast two of the most talented duos in the league — Grady Miller/Jack Wills and Chase Winokur/Charlie Rothbard, respectively. The atmosphere felt like Villanova-North Carolina in the NCAA title game, and in the end, Coach Mike McClain’s Blue Devils snagged the victory in a back-and-forth battle. Congrats to Bannockburn on the win, and shout-out to the Panthers, who gave it their all.
After the Blue Devils cut down the nets and received their championship wristbands, it was time for the 3rd and 4th grade tournament to get poppin.’ The Somerset Spartans went 3-0 in the preliminary stage and cruised to a #1 seed, while the Wildcats, PPA All-Stars and Colonials rounded out the #2, #3 and #4 seeds, respectively. The Warriors and Cavaliers didn’t make it to the next round, but they should be commended for their A+ effort and enthusiasm!
The Spartans narrowly escaped a loss in the semi-finals, as the Colonials fought hard and gave the #1 seed a scare. Meanwhile, the PPA All-Stars found their rhythm and defeated the Wildcats in the other semi-final matchup. Major props to the Colonials and Wildcats for fantastic seasons.
In one of the bigger upsets in PPA Hoops history, the All-Stars eked out a championship win against the mighty Spartans. Miller and Winokur led the way for the All-Stars, who got it done in large part due to their stellar play on the defensive end. Somerset got close, but the All-Stars came up with big buckets down the stretch to cement the victory. Credit to both squads on a well-played title game!
You can scroll through a photo gallery from the tournament below. A big thank you to photographer Megan O'Keefe for capturing these awesome pictures!
PPA Hoops will be back better than ever in the spring with a season that runs from March 27 — June 11. Registration is now open!