WESTCHESTER, N.Y. ? Croton High School boys basketball coach Bill Thom and Ossining High School girls basketball coach Dan Ricci will lead teams from the Hudson Valley into Friday's opening round of the Basketball Coaches Association of New York Summer Basketball Festival in Binghamton.
"The Festival was started last year to replace the loss of the Empire State Games," Thom said. "This is a tournament for boys and girls teams, and we have a good group of players from Section 1."
The Empire State Games were an annual Olympic-style event sponsored by New York State that included dozens of sports including basketball, track and field, swimming, field hockey, lacrosse and baseball. They were suspended two years ago due to lack of sponsorship and funding, but are expected to be renewed next summer.
Thom's roster is filled with players from Rockland, Putnam and Westchester counties led by Croton's Ian Thom, Bill Thom's son. Hudson Valley players are Mike DeMello (Kennedy Catholic/Brewster), Jack Daly (Eastchester), John Decker (Somers), Vaughn Dweck (Walter Panas/Cortlandt), Jack Eisenberg (Pleasantville), Stephen Espinoza-Hunter (Ossining), Brendan Hynes (Mahopac), Brian Daniels (Briarcliff), Kevin Degnan (Pearl River), Eric Paschall (Dobbs Ferry) and Umar Singh (North Salem).
Mamaroneck High boys basketball coach Tyrone Carver, Saunders High's Anthony Nicodemo and Croton assistant Nick Nastasi are Thom's assistant coaches.
Ricci's squad features four of his Section 1 champion Pride players ? Soniya Chong, Andra Espinoza-Hunter, Danielle Gervacio and Destini Walker ? plus Toni Pila (Ardsley), Brittni Lai and Lexi Martins (Irvington), Calli Balfour (John Jay-East Fishkill), Jasmine Robinson and Maia Hood (Hamilton/Elmsford) and Kristin McLoughlin (Tappan Zee/Blauvelt). John Reilly of Hudson Valley Elite (AAU basketball) is coaching with Ricci.
The Summer Festival has teams from 10 New York State regions, including New York City, Long Island, Rochester, Buffalo and Central New York. It runs from Friday through Sunday.
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