Basketball is really hitting its stride in Old Massett.
A new spring league started in April and drew 117 players — enough for four full teams on the women’s side, seven on the men’s.
And fans were on their feet at the finals on Thursday night.
First came the Net Rippers’ upset win over Stangsang.
In a well-matched league where nearly every game was decided by fewer than 10 points, Stangsang was a standout.
They went undefeated in every game up to the final, but the Net Rippers finally clipped their wings with a 26-18 win.
Leading the charge was Sarah Edenshaw, who sank 10 in the final and finished as the number-two scorer in the women’s division, right after Camyrn Parnell, who averaged 18 points a game.
The men’s final was anyone’s game.
Coast2Coast held an edge every quarter and finally showed up the Hipsters 76-71. But with the league’s top scorer Cal Westbrook landing 52 points, the Hipsters made it man-bun tight.
“It was great basketball,” said Gregory Brown of Coast2Coast, his voice hoarse from a scrappy final play.
“Everyone’s all competitive.”
Cooper Wilson, the recreation coordinator for Old Massett, agrees that close competition was key.
Wilson credits the players for committing early to the league, along with the refs and the many volunteers. He also thanked his girlfriend for convincing him to put a call-out for a whole women’s division, rather than running mixed teams.
But Wilson also did a lot behind the scenes to make it work.
He reviewed the entire player list, marked everyone as either a big, a wing, or a guard, then ran the names through a random-team generator. After shifting a handful of people to even things out, the spring league was made, and balanced.
“I know when I do a tournament like every six months, you get overwhelmed,” Wilson said. But after a couple months of steady, well-matched games, players can really build up skills, not to mention get to know their teammates.
“It’s an opportunity for growth for people, and not just in basketball.”