Sunday, June 10, 2012


Today the 14U BLAZE ELITE BOYS team captured their first title of the season in the 2012 BELMAR HOOP SPLASH TOURNAMENT after 2 consecutive runner-up finishes earlier in the year.  The team, coached by Michael Snell and Assistant Martin Mihaly got off to a slow start dropping a 5 point decision to the Brooklyn Patriots Saturday morning before bouncing back with 2 wins against the NJ Shore Stars and the NJ Warriors basketball programs later in the afternoon. Finishing the preliminary round 2-1, the BLAZE secured a rematch in the FINALS with the 3-0 Patriots.

The low scoring physical affair ended in a 36 all tie and headed to overtime.  The teams traded foul shots in the 1 minute extra session, each going 1 for 2 at the stripe.  With time running out power forward, John Suozzo picked up a loose ball and calmly drained a 15 ft. foul line jumper as the horn sounded, giving our 14U BLAZE ELITE team the title. CONGRATS GUYS AND COACHES...JOB WELL DONE!

Pictured left to right: Matt Coppola, John Suozzo, Tito Ramirez, Co-Captain Sahil Bhandiri, Coach Michael Snell, Charles Herrmann, Coach Martin Mihaly, Co-Captain Brandon Garcia
Not pictured but played in tournament: Andrew Garcia, Brandon Shaw


June 1, 2012,

Last weekend the 12U  BLAZE ELITE BOYS team coached by Kent Culuko with assistants DJ Sackmann and Ben Allen headed to the Super Regional Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina.  This was a landmark moment for the program as it was the first time one of our teams has traveled such a distance with the hopes of qualifying for the AAU National Tournament.  The 12U team had previously won 3 local titles in Northern NJ and were excited to venture outside the state and see what level of competition awaited.

The boys battled hard and finished in 2nd place earning a much coveted invitation to the 2012 National Tournament in July.  Pictured below are the boys wearing their 2nd Place Award SILVER MEDALS.  Team members include Isiah Charles, Giovani Rubino, Chris Decotiis, Nick Melograno, Ryan Hitchcock, Dylan Mulrooney, Grant Borovskis, Chris Valente, Ibn Ingram, Justin Winston. Coaches: Kent Culuko, DJ Sackmann, Ben Allen

On Monday June 4th the entire team was invited to DUKE University's CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM for a guided tour of the entire facility.  While there, the coaches and players got to meet and spend a few minutes with former Duke Player and current Duke Assistant Coach, Steve Wojciechowski and former Duke player and Current Portland Trailblazer Nolan Smith.

This was an experience the boys and coaches won't soon forget and was made possible by a private contribution that sponsored the travel and lodging expenses for all the players and coaches.  

We wish the 12U BLAZE ELITE BOYS the BEST OF LUCK in their upcoming NATIONAL TOURNAMENT!