The 2008 Edge Athletics season came to a successful conclusion with five teams competing at the American Youth Basketball Tour (AYBT) East Coast National Tournament. The tournament was held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania over a four day period in mid July. The 11’s, 12’s, 13’s, 14’s and 15’s all competed favorably and finished the season with strong performances. All teams played 7 games in a round robin format during the first 3 days. The last day was the beginning of single elimination championship tournament with all teams being seeded based on the weeks record.
The 11u team finished second in their division after facing some tough crossover teams in the 12u division. After losing to the Blue Raiders in the round robin tournament, the 11u’s came back to defeat the local Pennsylvania team to secure second place in the final tournament. The 12u team posted an impressive 7-0 record before falling to the eventual National Champion in the semi-finals of the single elimination tournament. The 13u faced some stiff competition early in the week but were in every game. The 14u team finished with a 6-1 record with a huge win over the heavily favored Blue Raiders during the week, but then fell to the Blue Raiders in the second round of the final tournament. And finally, the 15u team had a very strong showing during the week, but also fell in the second round of the final tournament.
“I was very happy with our performance across the board,” said coach Santoro. “Five years ago, we were the doormats for other teams. This year, we were the team to beat in every division.” The Edge has certainly come a long way. The National Tournament capped off a four month season for the 11u-15u teams, while the 16u’s and 17u’s finished with strong performances a few weeks earlier. In all, each of the seven teams played in over 20 games and practiced twice a week since the beginning of the season. “It’s been a long season for all of us, but also a very enjoyable one,” said Coach Hayes, the Program Director for the Edge who is also responsible for the direction of the older teams. “The older divisions finished a few weeks earlier than our younger teams, but the practices were intense and the games and tournaments were very competitive,” Hayes added.
The success of the program is built on the theory of fundamentals. “We focus more on player development and fundamentals rather than on strategy to win tournaments,” Santoro said. In the end, its all about making each athlete a better player and person and to prepare them for their upcoming season. “We feel very strongly about our approach and will evaluate each student athlete’s progress through a written report that is mailed to every athlete at the conclusion of the season,” coach Hayes added. Those written evaluations will be mailed out as each coach completes them.
With this season behind them, Coach Santoro is already looking forward to the next season. “Although we will be doing some things in the fall, and the high school season is quickly approaching, I am already beginning to plan for 2009,” coach Santoro said. When asked about the prospects for 2009, he replied, “I don’t think about the prospects. I think about how we can improve what we teach.” The Edge will have a real challenge on improving what already works. And with 2009 right around the corner, they wont have much time either.