The ninth annual Basketball Coaches Association of New York Summer Hoops Festival will take place Aug. 2-4 in Johnson City and the north country will field its own team for the first time.
A team composed of players from Section 10 and Section 7 will test their skills and team chemistry against some of the best high school talent in the state. In the past Section 7 players had to compete for spots on the Section 2 team and Section 10 players competed for spots on the Section 3 team through open tryouts.
Teams representing every section of the state will compete in the tournament and are guaranteed at least three games. Players have the opportunity to participate in clinics run by college basketball coaches and learn about the college recruiting environment.
The only Section 10 player to play in the tournament prior to this year was Ogdensburg Free Academy’s Cael Sargent, who competed for the Section 3 team that won the festival title in 2017. Sargent went on to enjoy a strong freshman season with St. Lawrence University.
The Section 10-7 team was chosen recently after tryouts at OFA and St. Lawrence University and will be coached by OFA junior varsity coach and former Heuvelton varsity coach Scott Sargent. Nate Bilow of Northern Adirondack and Joe Reyome of St. Lawrence Central will serve as assistant coaches.
All teams in the festival are limited to one week of practice at the end of July.
“It is an outstanding opportunity for our guys. They will have the opportunity to compete against some of the best talent in the country,” Sargent said.
Sargent added: “I was asked to be the head coach because I had the opportunity to experience the festival when my son Cael played. It is an outstanding tournament with a lot of players with just amazing athletic ability. Some teams will have Division I recruits and the Buffalo team has world class talent.”
Earning spots on the first Section 10-7 team are: guards MeSean Johnson and Trent Sargent and guard-forward Tristin Lovely of Ogdensburg Free Academy; forward Trent Lashua and guard Brendan Harmer of Madrid-Waddington; guard Jayden Sullivan of Harrisville; guard Jonah McDonald of Chateaugay; forward Carter Matzdel of Ausable Valley; guard Tom Murray of Seton Catholic and center Broc Cox of Gouverneur. Alternates are: Aiden Decillis of Malone and Ethan Barney of Massena.
Matzdel is the team’s tallest player at 6-foot-3.
“We are definitely going to be undersized,” Sargent said. “We will have to shoot the ball well and take care of the ball. But I am confident that we will know how to play together. The guys have taken this on as a challenge.”