The fifth grade team of N.Y.C. On Point Rens, a youth AAU basketball team based out of Divine Mercy-St. Cecilia, Williamsburg, won the Division II National AAU Championship in Cocoa Beach, Fla., on July 21.
The team defeated the Alabama Steel, a sharp-shooting quintet from Birmingham, 46-38, in the championship game. Wins over the Louisiana Cajans, Alabama Bravehearts, North Carolina Bulldogs, Virginia DMF Trueballers, Orlando Captains and Georgia Rising Stars earned the Rens a spot in the finals.
The team was coached by Anne Pinto, the director of N.Y.C. On Point and the athletic director of the St. Cecilia youth advisory board and basketball program. Her assistants were Tony Rodriguez and Eddie Gonzalez.
The championship victory was even more impressive since the team was basically assembled this year. Standout players included Abdias “Speedy” Carcamo, Jaheim Young, Keyshaun Leslie, Ali Saunderson, Da’Reese Mitchell, Luke Klores, Richard Springs, Nicky Molina, Griffin Frankel, Naghi Pickering, J.C. Medina and Antonio Gerbino.
“This is a remarkable achievement for the kids, coaches, parents and NYC basketball community,” said Rens’ founder Dan Klores. “Personally, I’m grateful to all of them. The Nationals are always a rigorous experience. We won because everyone held together on and off the court. It was a lot of fun.”
But just because the team won this year’s national title doesn’t mean the team is finished building its legacy.
As Coach Pinto said, “It’s just another game.”