A youth basketball league is wrapping up its inaugural season with success under their belts.
The Throggs Neck ThunderBoltz, a youth basketball league based in the east Bronx affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union, is wrapping up competition in its first season with 84 youth mostly from local communities participating.
The league, fielded seven teams, including three for boys and four for girls in different age groups.
The team mainly draws its youth from the Throggs Neck, Country Club and Pelham Bay communities for competition in AAU tournaments in the metro area and beyond, said league officials.
Brian Curran, league president and John Galvin, league vice-president, who are both from Throggs Neck and have extensive coaching backgrounds, said that the first season exceeded their expectations.
Holding tryouts on Martin Luther King Day, the two league leaders and a group of volunteers had 115 children try-out, a number that ‘blew them away,’ said Galvin.
“Our expectation going into the year was to have three or four teams, so going up to seven was a highlight,” said Curran, adding “In the community we saw we needed to create a program that could provide the AAU experience for the northeast (Bronx) unlike any other.”
Galvin said that children didn’t have a lot of options if they wanted to compete in AAU basketball, often having to leave the borough or travel across it to find teams that were right for them.
The league’s teams are already participating far beyond the region, with two of their teams, 11-year-old and under girls (11u) and 15-year-old and under boys (15u) headed to a tournament in Baltimore in June.
They have already competed in tournaments at the New Jersey shore and in lower Westchester County, said Galvin.
Formation of the TunderBoltz began in July and play began in the spring, said Curran, with financial support coming from sponsors including Brewski’s and P.J. Brady’s that was helpful in getting the endeavor off the ground.
They were able to incorporate as a 501(c) 3 non-profit subsidiary of the AAU, which provides insurance, background checks on all the coaches, and some logistical support.
The league is hosting a gala to honor the players, coaches and families who helped make the league’s inaugural season as success at Villa Maria Academy on Friday, July 13.
The season was a rewarding experience, said both Curran and Galvin.
“What I get out of this is a lot of kids are able to stay off the streets and play a game that they really love,” said Curran, who coaches two teams. “At the end of the season, you see that a lot of the kids have improved…you want to make sure the kids are getting better at what they really like to do.”
Angela Scuoppo, a parent from Throggs Neck whose daughter is in the 11u team, said that the coaches in the league are very friendly, and that her daughter loves going to practice.
“My daughter is up and ready to go to practice every single time, which says something about the league,” she said.
The ThunderBoltz featured girls 10u, 11u, 13u and 14/15u teams this season. For boys, it fielded 12u, 14u and 15u teams.
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