NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The New Rochelle Basketball Association started earlier this year and part of its mission is to prepare children for high school basketball through the Junior Huguenots and a feeder system into New Rochelle High School.
The NRBA took a step down that path with a three-day fundraiser that kicked off Friday night in the form of an AAU basketball tournament at New Rochelle High School and New Rochelle Middle School. Sean Oliver, director of the Junior Huguenots and board member for the NRBA, said the money raised will be put toward uniforms, league fees, insurance and other expenses for the children in the association.
More games will be played on Saturday and the finals will be held at Monroe College on Sunday.
The Junior Huguenots are made up of a sixth and seventh-grade team this year and plans to expand to sixth, seventh and eighth grades next year. Oliver said this three-day tournament is hopefully just the beginning.
“We believe it will grow a lot next year,” Oliver said. “But we just had to get it off the ground like we got our program off the ground.”
If early indicators mean anything, the program should grow just as Oliver expects.
“People are pretty happy,” Oliver said. “What’s going on is something new and they see it’s a foundation and the parents appreciate (it). They’re very helpful in helping with things. We actually have some of our players here today volunteering to work the scoreboard and the clock and the front table there.”
Oliver coaches Team 914, which squeaked out a 32-27 overtime win Friday night. Anne Abbatcola’s grandson plays for Team 914, and she said she gives her full support to the fundraiser.
“I think it’s great. These are young kids, 9, 10 years old and they’re really learning the game. They’re learning it well and in a wonderful environment with mutual respect,” Abbatcola said. “The students really learn great sportsmanship. I think it’s a great activity.”
As for whether she would attend any games on Saturday or Sunday, Abbatcola said her schedule would dictate her appearances.
“I’m not sure. The last tournament we made a number of games but I have a number of grandchildren,” Abbatcola said. “I spread myself out among their games.”