In the midst of March Madness, Hoops Madness comes to Chestnut Hill

It was hoops, sweat and cheers as the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA) hosted its inaugural Hoops Madness basketball tournament Saturday. Children, teens and adults enjoyed four hours of pressure-free sport at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCHA).

Though the planning got off to a late start, 125 players, including 8 adult teams, wound up registering to play for the event. The turnout was much better than anticipated, said CHCA Board President, Brien Tilley.

“Any more and we would have needed another court!” he shared.

Participants were organized into four divisions based on age and took part in several games of three-on-three basketball in order to progress to semi-final and final matches. Players also tried their hand at foul and three-point shooting competitions. The teams were named after NCAA March Madness contenders.

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There was plenty of water, pizza, fruit and granola bars to keep energy levels up. Prizes for winning teams included gift certificates to local restaurants. 

Matt Paul Basketball, which runs basketball clinics and camps year round in Chestnut Hill, helped the CHCA put together the tournament and brought in around half of the attendees. Owner Matt Paul, together with four of his staff, dispensed coaching assistance and refereed the games.

“It’s about building community,” Paul said. “Everyone playing has a great attitude.”

It was a family affair for the Maione family from nearby Glenside. On the sidelines, parents and younger sister shouted out encouragement and advice as they watched Aaron Maione, age 11, and his team struggle against a tough opponent.

With basketball season over and baseball leagues starting up, Hoops Madness was a fantastic way to extend basketball season for one more day, said Joe Maione, Aaron’s father.

Also on the sidelines, coaches and parents alike gushed praise and awe at the skillful way Mo’ne Davis took the ball to the rack. Playing in the 9-12 year old division, Davis helped her team win in the final match.

As for the comments concerning her talent, Davis says she’s used to it. The 6th grader is the only female basketball player on the otherwise all-boys Marion Anderson Monarchs team. Davis also plays for the girls basketball team at SCHA.

The kids weren’t the only ones enjoying some action. Organizers were pleased with how many adults got in on the game. Samir Hickson, of Germantown, came out just to have a good time and wound up a three-peat winner. Hickson said he cruised through the competition in the foul and three-point shooting contests, but had a lot of help from his teammates to win the final adult division match.

Doctors from Chestnut Hill Hospital, one of the event’s sponsors, formed one of the adult teams, including Temple Orthopedics’ Dr. Matthew Lorei. Temple Orthopedics, which has a new arrangement with the hospital as its defacto orthopedic department, was on hand to provide support for any injury.Only one – a pulled groin – had been reported, noted Lorei.

Tilley says CHCA intends to make Hoops Madness an annual event for the neighborhood. That’s good news for Ellie Hamilton, of Wyndmoor, one of the members of the only all-girls team. Though she and her teammates ultimately lost in the semi-final match for the ages 9-12 division, it did not dampen her enthusiasm.

Hamilton says she definitely plans on coming back next year. “It was really fun!”

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