Randolph Blue, Boys Travel Basketball Crowned Champs at all ages!!!
The finals of the Lakeland Midget Basketball League was held on Sunday March 17 at Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, NJ. The Lakeland League is comprised of 16-18 teams at each grade level, 5th through 8th and represents towns in Morris, Sussex and Passaic counties. The finals marked the end of a lengthy 4.5 month season and a remarkable accomplishment for Randolph teams who were represented at each grade level in the day long festivities. All grades did their part to bring home Championship trophies in stunning back-to-back-to-back-to-back fashion.
9:00AM - 5th Grade finals. Randolph Blue 34, Mount Olive 33. Randolph Blue fell behind early and was trailing by as many as 9 points before a 16-5 run to take the lead in the 4th quarter. All players contributed to the win with Brian Eames leading the way with 16 points and Christian Drake with 8 points. The victory capped off an undefeated 20 game Lakeland season. Head Coach Bill Ross, Assistant Coaches Tim Eames & Chris Drake.
10:45AM - 6th Grade finals. Randolph Blue 51, Sparta Blue 31. Randolph Blue got off to a fast start and was up 16-0 after the 1st quarter. With solid defense, Randolph held Sparta to only 13 points through three quarters. Ahsan Huland El led the way with 23 points followed by Josh Nathan with 12 points and Algin Utku knocked down 8 points. Huland El and Nathan combined to block 15 shots, 10 in the first half alone. Leading rebounders: Huland El (12), Utku (6), Ross Brenner, John Zeman, and Ryan Polesuk with 4 a piece. Assist leaders: 3 each for John Meola, Evan Patel, Polesuk and Zeman. The championship game capped off an impressive four game playoff run in which Randolph's average margin of victory was 26 points. This is the teams 2nd championship and they improved their Lakeland record to 39-1 after two seasons. Head Coach Rahim Huland El, Assistant Coach Maureen Zeman.
12:30PM - 7th Grade finals. Randolph Blue 62, Jefferson 60 (2OT). Randolph Blue led most of the way, but Jefferson kept battling back forcing not one but two overtimes before Randolph held on for the victory. Point guard Andrew Fusco took control with 20 points and forward Noah Sharp pitched in with 10 points. A total team effort on the defensive end and making foul shots down the stretch were the keys to Randolph's success. This was the first Championship for this group of boys who entered the playoff as the #4 seed but emerged as Champions after knocking off the #1 seed Sparta Blue in the semis and the #2 seed Jefferson in the finals. Head Coach Darrell Jones, Assistant Coach Tim Eames.
2:15PM - 8th grade finals. Randolph Blue 55, Jefferson 51. Battling injuries towards the end of the season and into the playoffs, Randolph blue, down 3 players, played the finals with only 7 players. The team fell behind early and trailed most of the way until the 4th quarter where they finally cut the lead to 2 points with 3 minutes to go. Both teams battled hard throughout, trading baskets down the stretch, but an exhausted Randolph team never quit. Jefferson, the only team to beat Randolph Blue in the regular season where they split the two game series 1-1, nearly came away with the win, but when Randolph's Trevor Stephney knocked down a 19 footer with just under 2 minutes to go to give his team a 2 point lead, Randolph never looked back. Justin Polesuk led the charge for Randolph and continued to keep his team in the game with 22 points. John Yaras, the Randolph Center, fought through severe back pain the entire game but refused to allow his team to miss his court presence. The victory was this teams 3rd Championship in 4 years and a total team effort. Randolph Blue 8th graders completed their 4 year Lakeland career with an impressive record of 76-4. Head Coach Charlie Mooney, Assistant Coaches Mark Tompeck & Niall Maughan.