Rockaway Sharpshooters Impress InAAU D1 District Championships
On Saturday, April 16, New York’s Elite 10th Grade AAU Basketball teams converged on Island Garden in Hempstead to take part in the Metropolitan area’s D1 District Championships. The prize being sought is a bid to the AAU National Tournament.
The Rockaway Sharpshooters are a local AAU squad with 9 of the 11 players living on the peninsula. The elite squads such as Gauchos, the Jaguars, Minutemen and L.I. Lightning probably were not familiar with the name, but by the end of the day the team proved they belonged on the court.
The first game was against a Long Island Lightning (Haber) squad that was D2 Champion from the District
Tournament last year.
The Sharpshooters battled them into double overtime, finally falling by a 6-point margin. The second contest was a lopsided loss to L.I. Lightning (McNeil), that was the previous D1 Champs of the Districts. Prior to their third game, the Sharpshooters found they could advance from the pool with an 8-point victory over their third opponents, Minutemen. The squad battled hard with a lead most of the contest, but Rockaway lost by 2 points in the last seconds.
The Sharpshooters should be very proud of their effort competing on this level, and with work over this AAU season they will continue to improve. Many of the other programs they faced recruit from the best high school players in the metropolitan area, while the Sharpshooters remain a truly local program.
The team has 501c3 status under the AAU and is looking for support from their Rockaway community. Contact coach Jim O’Connell at 917-324-9608. The upcoming schedule for the team: May 5-7 at the Division 2 District Championships in Hempstead and May 20-22 at IYB AAU Tournament in Warwick, N.J.