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Playing on the big stage: local high school student’s talk about playing at Hoophall

By Kris Rhim

The Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay, is a tournament known for hosting some of the top high school basketball teams in the country. NBA and WNBA stars, such as two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant and WNBA champion Elena Delle Donne, have dominated on the hardwood at the Birthplace of Basketball. 

While the tournament does play host to some of the top prep schools from around the nation, it doesn’t forget about the local schools in the region. For the first two days of the five-day invitational, boys and girls teams from schools across the state of Massachusetts square-off at the Birthplace. 

The Student talked to some of the local players about what it’s like playing at the place where the game was created as part of a large scale tournament.

Kelsey Reno | Millbury

“It’s amazing playing at the Birthplace of Basketball — everyone wants to do that as a player. Playing here is obviously a bigger platform, it helps us for districts and that’s what we’re really looking forward too and we also get to play better competition. It’s just amazing.” 

Thomas Maslek | Sutton

“We were definitely hyped up for this game. The atmosphere, all the players (that have played here before) and the staff treat us so well. This is something that we don’t get to experience often so it’s really fun coming out here and playing.” 

Ahliya Phillips | Taconic

“It was kind of nerve racking at first, but it was a good atmosphere and it was fun to play with all of them (teammates) here for the first time. I think it is Taconic’s first time being here, ever. There was more pressure because there’s a lot more people around, but it was fun.” 

Gavaughnt English | Putnam Academy 

“It was a live crowd. I enjoyed seeing a bunch of faces from the city. This is honestly an amazing opportunity and I’m glad that the city is able to compete in this. It’s the atmosphere (that makes Hoophall different) we got more guys coming out, it just makes the intensity go and the adrenaline rise.  

Andy Rosario | Springfield Central

“The environment is great, to play in front of everybody and seeing all the coaches around and getting a chance to play for the coaches. It’s very exciting to play on the same court as former NBA stars and big time college players.”

Noelle Furlong | Wahconah

“We’ve never been here before so it was a big thing for us. When we started the season and our coach told us about this, we were really excited and we prepared for the entire last week. We talked a lot about how we should just have fun because it’s a great opportunity. I was really nervous because there were a lot of people here, but it’s a good feeling. It was a lot of fun, I will definitely remember it.”

Photos Courtesy of Gabby Guerard

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