Victory Hoops League Ends 1st Season in Style As Maselli & Warren Wins Title Game at Buzzer
It turned out to be a win-win scenario for the Victory Sports Pro-Am League as the Maselli & Warren Law Firm faced CertaPro Painters in the first-ever championship game of the new hoops league at the Hun School gym last Thursday evening.
CertaPro trailed by 13 points in the fourth quarter before reeling off a 17-4 run to knot the game at 64-64 with seconds remaining in regulation. But then Christian Burns banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Masselli & Warren a dramatic 67-64 win before the appreciative crowd on hand.
The level of play and competitiveness in the title game epitomized what the league was looking to provide for the local hoops scene.
“It was a heckuva way to finish the season,” said former McCorristin High and Seton Hall standout Bryan Caver, the basketball director for Victory Sports.
“It is a testament to those guys, the players made the league. We had a really nice crowd, we had some first timers there. It was extremely exciting.”
The league, which started in mid-June and featured triple-headers Tuesday and Thursday nights at Hun’s Shipley Pavilion, proved to be an instant hit.
“It was extremely positive,” said Caver in assessing the inaugural campaign.
“It opened eyes to players, not only the players who played but to those who heard about it. It was the competitive level that made it so exciting, you saw D-1 guys and guys who have been playing overseas.”
While the league was a labor of love for Caver, a constant presence at Hun on game nights, he got plenty of help in the opening season.
The league’s lineup of sponsors included Masselli & Warren, CertaPro, County Line Auto Body, The Conefry Family, Princeton Elite Management Group, T Rowe Price/The Taylor Family, A. J. Tonon Dedicated Logistics, and Dr. Palmer. Other contributors were Andrew M. Kusnirik III, Hun Athletic Director Bill Quirk, the Pirate Booster Club, Kamryn Thompson, Shevone Johnson, and Troy Stevenson, the league’s referee assignor.
“I have to give special thanks to all the sponsors, they were great,” asserted Caver. “The sponsors were excited about the response we got from the players and fans.”
The positive response has led Caver to add a women’s league to the mix in 2016.
“That is something we are going to do,” said Caver. “The girls would come to me and say what about us? We have some ladies playing in college now and some who have graduated who are now playing overseas. They want to have an outlet like this.”
Caver vows that the men’s league will be bigger and better next summer.
“We are going to grow,” said Caver. “The league is going to expand. I have heard from other teams that are interested in playing. We may want to move the early game back from 6 to 6:30 so people won’t have trouble getting there. We want to add an extra day.”