Brookline Memorial Recreation
2012 Citiparks Basketball Champions
On Saturday, March 17, 2012, Coach Milan Tyler and his 14-Under Brookline Recreation Center basketball team pulled off a stunning last-second 51-50 victory over a powerful Ormsby Recreation squad in the finals of the Citiparks Traveling Basketball League tournament. It was Saint Patrick's Day, and Brookline's boys in green proved that the Luck of the Irish was with them on this day, and for that matter, all season long.
After finishing runner-up to Ormsby in 2009 and 2011, Coach Tyler and his cagey cagers avenged those previous defeats and brought Brookline it's first title in the Department of Parks and Recreation's Winter League, a program that features talented young roundballers from around the Pittsburgh area. The Citiparks Traveling League began in 2006.
The road to the title was quite a ride, but not without it's share of nervous tension and nail-biting drama. The season started slowly with a 46-37 loss to Arlington. The return of Tyler Quinten and Martino Stein in game two led to a convincing 56-23 win over Warrington.
In Week #3 Brookline met Ammon and won a shocker, 40-39, on a buzzer-beating bucket by Malik Petite. The win was a huge confidence boost and proof that Brookline was a team to be reckoned with. That positive momentum catapulted Brookline to a 6-1 record and the top seed in the post-season.
After a first-round bye, Brookline met Magee Recreation Center (5-3) in the semi-finals. Brookline jumped off to a 31-23 halftime lead, then watched as Magee came back to take the lead, 50-48, with only seconds remaining. Martino Stein took the inbounds pass and a few strides later let loose a shot from near mid-court as the buzzer sounded. Stein's aim was true and the shot was all net. Brookline had staged another miraculous last-second comeback, winning 51-50.
The championship game was played at the West Penn arena on Polish Hill. As holiday revelers marched through downtown Pittsburgh on the annual Festival of Eire, Coach Milan and Brookline's 14-year olds squared off against the always strong contenders from Southside's Ormsby Recreation Center.
Ormsby's stars took command early on, jumping off to a double-digit lead at the ten-minute mark. As the contest wore on, Brookline settled down and began playing a strong, consistent game. Tough defense and an outstanding offensive effort by Malik Petite, who led all scorers with 25 points, stopped the Ormsby attack in it's tracks. By halftime the Southsiders lead had been reduced to eight points, 31-23.
Brookline continued to claw their way back in the second half. With five minutes to play the Ormsby advantage was cut to a mere two points. The teams battled it out on even terms from that point on. With seven seconds left on the game clock Ormsby took a 50-48 lead, then called a timeout. If Brookline was going to win it was going to take another fantastic finish.
As Ormsby pressed on defense, the ball found it's way into the hands of Brookline's John Vo. With time expiring Vo launched a prayer from ten feet behind the three-point line. His shot went high and left, hit the backboard and, SWISH! Just like that, Brookline had pulled off it's third, and most amazing, last-second victory of the season. Oh how sweet it is!
In his seventh season as leader of Brookline's Citiparks team, Coach Milan Tyler has brought the championship trophy home to the Brookline Recreation Center. He and his team did a great job this season and proved two things: One, hard work and dedication pay off. Two, sometimes it's good to have a little Luck of the Irish.
The Championship Game Linescore
BROOKLINE: 23 - 28 51
For a complete wrap-up of the 2012 Citiparks Traveling Basketball League, including game results, individual statistics and post-season line scores, click here.
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