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Early Mornings and Long Nights: The Struggles of the Spalding Hoophall Classic Schedule

By Nick Storlazzi

A 9 a.m. tip-off is a grueling task for a player.

There are 32 scheduled games that take place during the 2023 Spalding Hoophall Classic, which gives fans and players a chance to spend a full day watching the game of basketball and get to experience where it was invented.

Yet because of the number of teams that travel to Springfield, Mass., somebody has to play early in the morning based on the scheduling of up to as many as nine games in a single day.

For teams traveling via airplane, jet lag can also catch up quickly. 

The Newington High School (CT) and St. John Vianney High School (NJ) girls programs were the first two teams to play on Monday. While it’s exciting for the two of them to be playing in the tournament, it can also be a physical and mental challenge getting ready to play that early. 

For Newington (CT), it isn’t much of a trip to Blake Arena since they’re close in location. Yet for the Griffins of St. John Vianney, having to play at 9 a.m is only part of what already is a long day to begin with. The  148-miletrip between Springfield and The Garden State is no slouch.

St. John Vianney head coach Dawn Karpell kept her team prepared and motivated for the early morning start.

“Well, we left yesterday, but I made them wake up at 7:30 in the morning so they would be prepared early in the morning for the game,” Karpell said. “However, this is a special event, and a special place, so I gave them a talk and told them that they should be excited to play in this tournament – regardless of the time.”

Coming into Monday, the Griffins were riding high off a big win against Long Island Lutheran (NY) – the No. 1 team in the nation – last Friday. After beating the top team in the nation, they hopped on a bus and wasted no time getting ready to take the court in Springfield.

“After just beating the best team in the country, I made it a priority to make sure the foot was never taken off the gas pedal heading into the tournament,” Karpell said. “Our mentality today was just to treat it as if it was another big game and come out strong..”

The Griffins didn’t let the early start bother them against Newington, as the final score was 81-38. 

Newington guard Zoe Brooks (Class of 2023) must’ve had her cup of coffee this morning. Brooks erupted for a 25-point triple-double, the first – and only – one of the weekend thus far. She added 14 rebounds and 10 assists in the victory.

“I think we play every game the same as a team,” Brooks said. “ No matter what time it’s at or who we are playing with, we always try to go out with the same energy and try to compete. It’s what makes us a good team.”

Photo: Carley Crain / The Student 

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