Castle Boys 16’s Breakthrough with Championship at ZG Summer Finale/Ready for Live Period

After advancing and being runner-up in three tournaments, the Castle Knights 16s, led by Coach Kenny Pretlow won the ZG Summer Finale Championship this past weekend.

The team started out by routing Connecticut Elite CB 59 to 34, hitting twelve 3s for the game. Next up, the team took on High Rise Basketball and pulled out a 69 67 win in thriller. The Knights started out cold and could not defend the High Rise big men. At the half, the team trailed by twenty points. The second half started out the same and, with only five minutes to go, Castle was still down by twenty, 59-39. At that point, Coach P. went aggressive, pressing High Rise full court.  Guards Nasir Muhammad, Siyani Arthur and Keshawn Morris caused turnover after turnover and the team came all the way back and Nasir hit a three with 30 seconds to go to give Castle the lead.  After a defensive stand,  the Boys came away with the victory and clinched a playoff spot.

On Sunday, the team took on Connecticut Elite KM, with a bye to the championship game on the line.  The game was a back-and-forth affair, with Connecticut Elite leading at the half by ten. In the second half, Castle tightened its defense and, with three minutes to go, held a six point lead. But, the opposition was able to hit back-to-back three’s and pulled out a 61-58 win.  Nevertheless, Castle moved on to the championship to challenge Pro Skills Gold.

Having played a tough earlier game, Castle started out cold and a little tired.  But, the team received some strong minutes from Kenohi Davis and Kamden Vidal.  At the half, Castle trailed by fifteen points. In the huddle, Keshawn Morris exhorted his teammates to pick it up because the team was not going to lose another championship. Not leaving it in the huddle, Keshawn led by example, defending Pro Skills’ best player and scoring 15 second half points.  Siyani Arthur added 3 three pointers of his own and helped the lock down on defense. The MVP, however, was 5’5” Nasir Muhammad.  Nasir came up with four second half steals, drew three charges and hit five three pointers. With the team down one point with 20 seconds to go, the Knights ran their out-of-bounds play to get Nasir a three pointer which he buried giving the team the lead.  The Knights held on defense and, after Keshawn hit two free throws, came away with a 59-58 win!!! It was a well-earned Championship and sets the tone for the upcoming Live Period.

Castle 15 Boys Run the Table in Orlando

The Castle Athletics boys 15U team traveled to Orlando to compete in the AAU Memorial Day Classic and returned undefeated and with a championship in hand. In pool play, the team took down FG-Miami Dynasty Black 51-39, Team Dynasty 59-38, and Ultimate Warriors-Armour 60-35. In the knockout round, Castle again beat Ultimate Warriors-Armour 54-32 in the Semi-finals and then bested Mayaguez PR LJJB 70-52 for the championship. Coach Mejia noted that the team has truly come together and played cohesively throughout the tournament, getting contributions from all players. Coach Mejia referenced the strong inside play of Steven Solano (7 blocks, numerous dunks and countless rebounds) and Moussa Samake, outside shooting of Clive Thompson, defensive presence of Tyson Clark and all-around play of Mathew Morales and Dayn Campbell.

Steven has received numerous scholarship offers from high-major programs and Tyson has garnered offers from several mid-major programs.

The team continues its play in June and July, including attending several high-level events during the “live period”.

Castle Lady Knights Queens of the Court

This weekend, the Castle girls 5th through 7th grade teams ran the table at the Zero Gravity Queen of the Court tournament, claiming championships in the 5th grade through 8th grade divisions.  That is correct!!  The 7th grade team split in two, with one team playing at the 8th grade level.  Even playing up, the girls took the crown and won the group final with a 63-47 victory.  The 5th grade squad (11U) took the chip with a 39-13 win and the 6th (12U) and 7th (13U) grade teams won their final games by the same score, 47-41.  Congratulations ladies!!  Keep working hard, on and off the court!!

Castle Girls Teams Head Off to Pennsylvania to Continue March Through Select Events Teams

The Castle Lady Knights 14-17 teams are streaking into Happy Valley, PA this weekend to continue their phenomenal play in the Select Events league.  Each team has dominated in early play and everything points to a continuation of their play.  Importantly, each team has one hundred percent participation and completion of tutoring hours each week.  Good luck Lady Knights!!

Boys 15U Squad Garnering Attention and Scholarship Offers

The Castle Boys 15U team, led by Coach Josh “Herc” Mejia, continues to roll through opposition, winning events and showcasing team play and future stars.  Already, Steven Solano and Tyson Clark had received scholarship offers from major and mid-major institutions.  This week, the team travels North to play in the Hoop Group New England Jam Fest.

Castle Shootathon Set for Next Week

Next week, May 22nd, Castle Athletics will be holding its inaugural Basketball Shootathon, a fundraiser where players and coaches will be put to the test of making foul shots in an effort to collect pledged monies.  As one of the few programs in the City that does not assess a fee from its student athletes in order to participate, the Shootathon presents an opportunity for many folks to show their appreciation to Castle Athletics and help continue the positivity generated.  Each team has a $5,000 goal and many of the teams already surpassed the goal.  In you are interest in helping a team, a player or the Castle Athletics program in general, tap this link and play your part.