Boston Spartans Prove Themselves at Hoop Group Jam Fest in Providence


Two Boston teams and one big rivalry showed out at the Hoop Group Jam Fest in Providence this afternoon. The 16U Expressions and Boston Spartans battled to the last second in an overtime game where the Spartans came out on top in overtime. It was a grind-it-out type of game with a lot of lead changes.

At the half, Expressions led 29-21 but the Spartans stormed back right away after the half. After taking a big lead, however, they got a little too comfortable.

Nick Simpson and Markus Neale led the way with 20 and 12 respectively. Both nailed shot after shot at all of the right times. Despite late game heroics from Expressions guard E.J Rodgers, the Spartans held onto the lead that they nearly lost at the end.

Coach Joe Chatman felt that his team could have done better with keeping the lead, despite the winning in the end. Chatman said, “When we went up 18, we lost our composure. It is a rivalry and things got chippy. I expect it to be though. At a big event like this, you need to keep your composure if you want to stay on top.”


Nick Simpson dropped an impressive 20 points at the Hoop Group Jam Fest (Lucas Shapiro)

Despite some technical fouls here and there, there’s no doubt that Chatman was proud of his guys.

Chatman said, “All of my kids are under the radar. I’m missing, in my opinion of course, the best sophomore center in New England in Jacquil Taylor. My point guard Mike Rodriguez is at Redemption Christian Academy in New York right now. These guys just fight though. They don’t come from the prestigious prep schools. Nowadays if you don’t go to prep school, you aren’t considered as good players. I’ve got guys that could play at the scholarship level.”

It was a team effort, but there’s no doubt that a bunch of the guys on this team could be playing college basketball a few years from now.

Scouting Report

Neither Simpson nor Neale have any sort of college interest, yet they are both only sophomores. Coach Chatman gave us the scouting report on both.

On Simpson:

“Nick Simpson is an animal. In my opinion, he’s the best forward in Boston Public schools. He rebounds the ball, shoots the ball, and he defends like it’s his job too.”

On Neale:

“Markus gets to the rim when he wants. He can shoot the ball from deep. The thing people don’t notice about Markus is that he has a high basketball I.Q. When he gets rolling like he was today, he’s hard to guard.”

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