Already one of the most decorated AAU or grassroots teams in the country, the Boston Amateur Basketball Club has experienced unprecedented success over the last two years with three AAU national championships and one Nike EYBL title to its credit.
In the program’s 35-year history there had been just one title that eluded them. Now you can cross the Victor Rho International Basketball Tournament title off the list too.
While most grassroots teams across the country were in their final tune-up tournament for the upcoming live period, BABC’s freshman team was traveling to Milan, Italy, for the prestigious international tournament.
The tournament annually welcomes top European teams in addition to one American team per year. BABC has attended in the past, making runs to the semifinals in 2005 and 2007, but had never come away with the championship. In fact, in the tournament’s 30-year history only one American team had ever won the championship, and that was back in 1990.
BABC became the second American team to capture the championship on Sunday, defeating Olimpia Milano Armani Junior (Italy) by a commanding 73-38 margin in what head coach and program founder Leo Papile dubbed “a performance for the ages.”
The defensive dominance which BABC showed in the championship game was indicative of the play in previous rounds and also reflective of the club’s defensive style over the years. Despite not having a player above 6-foot-5 on the roster, BABC allowed just 38 points in a 40-minute game in which a 24-second shot clock was used.
The standing-room-only crowd reportedly included more than 2,000 people that came to cheer on the hometown Italian club but ended up celebrating the BABC championship.
“I think these kids are a credit to their school and their families,” Papile said following the championship. “Half the people here were rooting for these guys because of their effort and appreciation [for the experience].”
BABC point guard Johnny Joseph (Stoughton, Mass./Putnam Science Academy) was named the tournament’s MVP, while Bonzie Colson (New Bedford, Mass./St. Andrew’s) and Tyree Robinson (Boston/Putnam Science) were selected to the All-Tournament team.
Bruce Brown (Dorchester, Mass./Wakefield), Curtis Cobb (Durfee, Mass./Durfee), Terrance Mann (Boston/Hillside), Jordan Scurry (Chestnut Hill, Mass./Beaver Country Day), Earl Stevens (Wilbraham, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson) and Brendan Hill (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) also made the trip.