High Profile Programs Shine at Spring Tip Off, Spring Junior Jam Fest Tournaments


The Spring Tip Off and Spring Junior Jam Fest kicked off the AAU season at Spooky Nook Sports. In what was a tune up event for the older teams, and the first test for younger programs, seven teams walked away with smiles and the label “champion.”

Not open to Division 1 college coaches, this weekend’s tournaments were described by most as “warm up” tournaments, for teams to work on some things for bigger events over the next two weekends. Warm up or not, several of the well-known programs came to play, and walked away with trophies.

We R1 (16U), Team Philly (15U), Team Loaded 757 (14U) and Team Rio (12U) were some of the sponsored programs to take home championships. Let us break down each age group:


The NY Ionians were an unknown team coming into the Spring Tip Off. Two short days later they left as champions, and were all anyone could talk about. Led primarily by the lights out shooting of Laurynas Stonkus (Knox School ’17) and Esam Mostafa (Arlington Country Day ’19), the Ionians took the crown after beating the likes of the NJ Roadrunners, Team Philly and Philly Pride. Expect their players to have a huge live period.



We R1 rebounded their way to a championship this weekend. With rising junior Tyree Pickron (Archbishop Wood ’18) sitting with an injury, We R1 used their size (three bigs over 6’8) in two very tightly contested semifinal and final games. Thanks to a Tariq Ingraham (Salesianum Catholic ’19) put-back with a second remaining in the semis, and a team effort of shot blocking and rebounding in the finals, We R1 can call themselves champions.



The 15U pools contained some of the most recognizable names in AAU. With Sports U, Team Philly, Philly Pride and We R1 headlining their own pool, it was a treat to watch in the youngest age group of the Spring Tip Off. In what resulted in an all-Philly championship, Team Philly flexed their muscles and topped Philly Pride.



Team Loaded 757 epitomized the term “defense wins championships” on Sunday. The 14U team looked scary good as the top team in the Spring Junior Jam Fest. Pressing their opponents for a full 32 minutes, they caused utter chaos and forced more turnovers than you could stat, figuratively, of course. It’s tough to imagine any team being able to handle their West Virginia-esque defense.



The STS program made a run through the 13U division, ending with wins over two well-known young programs in the MD Playmakers and York Ballers. STS went perfect in pool play, going 3-0 and winning each game by a comfortable margin. Their team is set to have a nice spring, as they play hard, together and make few mistakes.



Team Rio looked like a powerhouse in the 12U pool. They simply had the most size and talent, which often times results in wins. This young group looks like they can compete with anyone at their age, as they owned the 12U division this weekend.



Our youngest age group belonged to the York Raiders, a local program who we have gotten to see a couple of times this year. After breaking onto the “Hoop Group scene” at the Turkey Tip Off earlier this year, they came to Spooky Nook and showed how good their 11U program is. A clean sweep, 3-0 this weekend, with a win over East Coast Power in the final, gave them the championship!


The quote on quote warm up is over. For many older programs, the live period is the next big event on their schedule. We will return to Spooky for the first live period for the Spring Jam Fest. For full schedules and info, check out the Spring Jam Fest page here.


Also be sure to check out the Hoop Group App for the easiest schedule viewing and directions at all Jam Fest Tournaments this season!

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