Three champions were crowned in Detroit PAL’s Boys School Basketball League on Saturday, April 12. The Boys School Basketball Championships were held at Detroit Edison Public School Academy High School (DEPSA) and were sponsored by Metro PCS.
The Academy for Business and Technology took home the Motor (third-fifth grade division) title over Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA). Bates Academy claimed the JV (fifth-sixth grade division) championship with a victory against Voyageur Academy. DEPSA hoisted the Varsity (seventh-eighth grade division) championship trophy after a win against Ludington Middle School. Each team played their best and gave it their all. The atmosphere was electric as each team was cheered on by a crowd full of supporters, which made for three compelling basketball games.
Academy for Business and Technology vs. DEPSA
As the top two teams in the Motor Division, ABT and DEPSA got the day of basketball started at 10 AM. ABT and 13-year Detroit PAL coach Joel Snyder were in search of their second consecutive Detroit PAL basketball championship. “It would be the icing on the cake,” if ABT was to win another PAL championship, Snyder said at halftime. “We went undefeated all season, undefeated through the playoffs, we’re here, and we wanna just put the icing on the cake and eat it today.”
They led throughout the game and when the final buzzer sounded, ABT was able to eat their cake as they won their second straight title with a 21-10 victory. Though they were down on the scoreboard, the boys of DEPSA never got down on themselves. They kept fighting, even when a win was clearly out of reach. And that means more to their coach Shaun Rivers, who has been a PAL coach for about six years, than a win would have meant.
Rivers said he felt “outstanding” to see his team play hard until the last second ticked off the clock. “Whether we lost or we won, we still fought,” he said after the game. “I love that about them. It’s great to see these guys be able to have the mental capacity to handle adversity, and still fight through no matter what compared to giving up and walking away. They keep fighting. They never give up.”
Rivers said at the start of last season, his team could barely make a layup. But on Saturday, they were playing for a Detroit PAL championship.
“They are resilient,” Rivers said. “They put a smile on my face every single day and they never cease to amaze me.”
Voyageur Academy vs. Bates Academy
Voyageur and Bates were featured in the second game of the day, and it was a doozy. Before the game, Voyageur coach Maje-Lloyd Hogan, a third-year PAL coach and educator for 16 years, talked about how the adversity his team has faced this season has brought them to the brink of a championship.
“Getting through adversity; that’s what has allowed us to get to this point,” Hogan said.
Voyageur controlled the scoreboard for most of the game. But, down 29-28 with under 10 seconds left, Bates hit two free throws to take a 30-29 lead. That score held up, and the Bates bench rushed the court to celebrate a thrilling championship victory. The final result only adds to the adversity that the Voyageur kids have had to get through this season. But what they have faced in the past, and what they face with this loss, will mold them into high-character human beings, and that is the aim of Detroit PAL.
DEPSA vs. Ludington
DEPSA and Ludington took to the court for the final game of the day, and as the old saying goes, they saved the best for last. These were the best two teams in the Varsity Division and they played arguably the best game of the day.
DEPSA, the top seed in the tournament, took a commanding lead to open the game, but Ludington never stopped battling. The No. 2-seed Ludington chipped away at DEPSA’s lead, but in the end, DEPSA proved to be too much. The boys from DEPSA hit their free throw shots to seal the Detroit PAL Varsity Championship.
Another successful season of Detroit PAL Boys Basketball season is in the books. And it was sent off in style thanks to a great crowd and six great teams. It was a day that, win or lose, the young men who participated will surely never forget.