Sunday, June 20, 2010

Locals shine in GymRat Challenge finals

The championship round of the sixth annual GymRat Challenge was held Sunday at Siena College and the University. Here are some of the highlights courtesy of GymRat Director of Communications Steve Amedio.

Saratoga Sparks Wins GymRat Title;
Albany Capitals Fall in Championship Game

LOUDONVILLE -- The Saratoga Sparks AAU basketball team captured the championship of the 14-under age division of the prestigious GymRat Challenge Tournament held this weekend at Siena College, while a second local team, the Albany Capitals advanced to the 15-under age bracket's title game before having its tournament run come to an end.

The event featured 156 teams from 11 states and Canada and over 1,750 players competing in three age brackets.

The Saratoga Sparks won the 14-under age bracket's championship game with a 56-40 victory over the New York Gauchos Sunday night at Siena's Alumni Recreation Center.

Sydnie Rosales, who will be a sophomore at Colonie High School next year, was the age division's MVG (Most Valuable GymRat). Rosales, a 5-foot-8 guard, played a strong overall game and scored five of her team's final nine points as the Gaunchos pulled to within seven with 3:30 left to play.

The Saratoga Sparks team was coached by Serita Holland, a graduate of Shenedehowa High School, and finished the tournament with a perfect 7-0 record.

Other players on the team were Kelsey Colwell of Mohanasen, Jackie Welch of Colonie, Katherine Small of Holy Names, Madison Rowland of Shaker, Brittany Lefevbre and Allyssia Marsal of Shenendehowa, Ailayia Demand of Watervliet, Sidney Hansen of Ballston Spa, Cassie Broadhead of Scotia, Alyx Gleason of Shenendehowa and Lashana Tolliver of Watervliet.

The other local team to advance through pool play and, then, the championship bracket, the Albany Capitals, didn't fare quite as well in the 15-under championship game, suffering a 51-19 loss to a team from the high-powered New York Gauchos program.

The Albany team is coached by Audra DiBacco, the head coach of the varsity girls' team at Catholic Central High School and a former standout player at Siena College.

DiBacco's Albany Capitals' team was 6-0 in the 15-under bracket with strong overall team play to advance to the championship contest before its tournament run ended.

Team members of the Capitals are Brooke O'Shea and Bridget Carney of Averill Park, Jenniffer Cillis of Voorheesville, Hannah Kutny of CCHS, Sarah Madden of Voorheesville, Geena Gallo of Ballston Spa, Cristal Benton of Guilderland, Molly Lauver of Cambridge, Allie Olsen of Bethlehem, Sarah Janson of Scotia, Bernie Jordan of Holy Names and Ashley Loggins of Colonie H.S.

This was the 6th annual GymRat Challenge tournament for girls and it marked the first time two local teams advanced to championship-game play in the same year.

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