- Adam Finkelstein
HARTFORD, Conn. -- The field at the sixth-annual Northeast Hoops Festival provided a clean sweep of the very best programs New England had to offer in addition to some top competition from New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Canada.
Noah Vonleh (Haverhill, Mass./New Hampton School)
2014, SF, 6-8, 210 pounds
New England bragging rights were at stake in the junior division and Vonleh walked away as the winner, leading his Rivals Basketball Club to a 6-0 record and the tournament championship. The sophomore forward, who seems to have stretched his frame another inch since the fall, handled most of the ballhandling responsibilities in the middle of the floor and raised the bar in the finals, making a series of high-level plays off the dribble to show his combination of size and playmaking ability.
Andrew Chrabascz (Portsmouth, R.I./Cushing Academy)
2013, PF, 6-7, 210 pounds
He may not be BABC’s biggest name or highest recruited player, but he is the engine that makes this team go and was an absolute warrior all weekend long. There wasn’t a player in the field who showed more toughness or tenacity around the rim. He attacked the cup driving downhill, followed his own misses and was constantly getting his team extra possessions. His effort and production really can’t be overstated and that’s the essence of his DNA as a player.
Jarred Reuter (Rochester, Mass./Tabor Academy)
2015, PF, 6-8, 225 pounds
Playing up in the junior division, Reuter guided the New England Playaz to the championship game, by being a dominant interior presence throughout the weekend. His body is in a good place right now, much better conditioned than he was after last year’s injury. His quickness and athleticism are far improved, but his power and sheer force are the basis for his production. He’s still refining his offensive game, but is definitely becoming more adept at making his tools work for him.
Jaylen Brantley (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson)
2013, PG, 5-10, 170 pounds
BABC’s typical point guard and floor general, Brantley had to assume more responsibility for the team’s perimeter scoring this weekend with Wayne Selden still resting his injured ankle. Brantley didn’t disappoint in that role, relying on his trademark jumper to put a plethora of points on the board throughout the weekend. Most impressive, was his ability to make big shots in timely moments, getting hot at just the right time to help his team pull away on more than one occasion.
Chris Jenkins (Hillside, N.J./Morristown-Beard)
2013, SF, 6-5, 200 pounds
Already well known in the Metropolitan area, Jenkins appears poised to make a name for himself in the Northeast this spring. He’s a good-sized swingman who specializes in making shots from the perimeter. He did it early and often this weekend, showing a high release to match his deep range, and being the offensive catalyst for a team that made a nice run into the tournament’s gold bracket.