WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Yonkers-based Hoop Strong Warriors 14-Under boys basketball team from Westchester County rolled to the Amateur Athletic Union Division II National Championship in Orlando, Florida last week.
The Warriors -- who hail from Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Harrison, White Plains, Pelham and Scarsdale and attend public and parochial schools in the Westchester and New York area -- won the New York Metropolitan District AAU title to qualify for the national tournament.
The Warriors defeated the Maryland-based Randalstown Running Rebels 35-34 to become the first team from New York State to win the AAU Division II Nationals Championship, which was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando. The event featured 113 of the best D II teams in the country.
According to a report by team spokesman Bill Doty, director, head coach and former standout power forward at Florida State (2003), Mike Mathews lead the team to the championship in the club's inaugural year. The team finished the event undefeated at 9-0 and remains undefeated in AAU play with a 29-0 record.
In an exciting final that included several lead changes, the Warriors came back from a 19-16 halftime deficit to win the game 35-34, taking the lead for the last time in the closing minute of the game, according to Doty. The Hoop Strong boys were led by Aundre Hyatt, who scored 16 points including four 3-point goals, Marcellus Earlington with 16 points, including 9 in the third quarter, and Jack Doty with 3 points.
In three games of pool play, the Warriors defeated Florida-based Holiday Hoops 66-32, the South Carolina Blazers 83-32 and the West Virginia Wildcats 62-49.
In the championship phase of the tournament round of 64, the Warriors defeated Potomac Valley-based Bowie Magic 58-41. In the round of 32 they defeated the Arizona Magic Warriors 57-23 and in the Sweet 16, they defeated the Puerto Rico Stars Red 61-53 to advance to the Elite 8.
The Warriors advanced to the Final 4 by downing the Connecticut Premier Hoops in overtime and advanced to the championship game with a hotly contested 49-42 victory over the South Louisiana Jaguars.
The Warriors are: Peyton Hudson (Yonkers - Stepinac High School), William Hoffman (Scarsdale High School), Sean Bresnan (Yonkers, Saunders High School), Aundre Hyatt (Mount Vernon, Fork Union Military), Marcellus Earlington (Stony Point, Don Bosco), Jack Doty (Harrison, Iona Prep), Alex Mayeri (White Plains HS), Jacob Hargraves (Scarsdale, Iona Prep) and Danny Friedman (Pelham High School).