NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 11, 2014

Rockets, Heat claim 2014 NBBA titles

NEWBURYPORT – The Rockets and the Heat captured the 2014 Newburyport Boys Basketball Association Championships during last night’s league finals, capping off a successful season that saw 290 local middle schoolers participate in the popular league.

In the first leg of the double-header, the Rockets held off the Spurs 36-31 to claim the league’s 5th/6th grade championship, and following that, the Heat beat the Sixers 51-44 to win the 7th/8th grade title.

Jerry Wallace, a member of the NBBA’s board of directors, said the first game between the Rockets and Spurs was a tight one that nearly saw the Spurs complete an incredible fourth-quarter comeback.

“The Rockets pulled out to a little bit of a lead, because the Spurs couldn’t hit a basket,” Wallace said. “Then the Spurs made a great comeback, they hit a bunch of shots right at the end, and they just ran out of time and couldn’t pull it off.”

The second game between the Heat and Sixers was much a closer affair that could have gone either way up until the final minute. The Sixers led for much of the game, taking a seven-point lead after the Sixers’ Ashton Clark hit three 3-pointers in a row shortly before halftime, but the Heat fought back and ultimately clamped down on defense to put the game away at the line late.

Clark finished as the game’s leading scorer, dropping 20 points in a losing effort, while Issac French led the Heat with 16 points.

Between the two games, the league honored eighth grader Spencer Ficht as the winner of the 2014 Frank Cousins Award, which is presented annually to an eighth grader who has participated in the NBBA for three years or more and who has demonstrated exemplary character and behavior.

The NBBA’s season runs from November through March, with games starting after the Thanksgiving break. There are six teams in each division, each of which plays 12 games, and once the season is over all of them advance to the weeklong double-elimination tournament.

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