Two teams share TOC title
In the 29th annual Tournament of Champions (TOC), the ending was ironic and also fitting.
Curmaci Dental and Blue Monkey – both who had the same players on both teams – met in the recent TOC final at the Catasauqua Middle School instead of the Catty Playground due to weather issues.
In the end, it was Derek Hall who led Curmaci to a 74-64 victory over Blue Monkey. It also was a test of attrition as Curmaci had five players and Blue Monkey had six.
It was a true Catty-Northampton flavor night, as all but one player was either a former Roughie or Konkrete Kid.
Hall, a former Northampton seven-foot standout who has had an extensive career in European and Canadian basketball, had a dominant night with 32 points as well as controlling the boards. His brother Phil, another Konkrete Kid standout and current assistant coach, played for Blue Monkey and led his team with 23 points. Former Catty standout Anthony Brinkley added 17.
“It’s a tournament I look forward to playing in every summer when I’m home from my season,’ said Hall, who recently played in Canada. “It’s a chance to play with friends and family you grew up playing basketball with.”
This year, the tournament featured 11 teams from two leagues in Catty as well as ones in Allentown, Bethlehem, Bangor, and Stiles. It was the first intrasquad final since G & S in 2006.
The Hall brothers won their third consecutive championship.
“The Tournament of Champions is the perfect end to the adult summer league,” said Phil Hall. “There is nothing better to play the various winners of all the leagues. It was a goal of ours that both teams make the championship so we could have a split-squad scrimmage and really enjoy ourselves.
“We stuck to our zone and ran our offense through Derek (Hall). He is the reason we are able to contend year in and year out. Everyone is very unselfish and it could be anyone who can step up and be a leading scorer.”
“It was anti-climactic if you were a fan of either Curmaci or Blue Monkey,” said tournament director Eric Snyder. “But they all played hard and made it was very competitive final.”
Snyder, who began the tournament in 1990, stated how it was one of the most competitive tournaments.
In the opening night of the four-day tournament, there was one-point victory and an overtime game. The following two nights featured several other tight contests. Overall, there were three games over a 10-point differential.
Even though Curmaci and Blue Monkey worked their ways to the final, both teams had to regroup to get to the playoffs.
“There were many one or two-point victories,” added Snyder. “It was the most competitive tournament in a long time.
“Blue Monkey and Curmaci had to win their leagues just to get into the TOC and then go through very tough brackets and win back-to-back games in the semifinals to get to the final. They both got hot at the right time.”