MILLBURN, NJ — At the conclusion of a season that saw both teams attain championship glory, the fifth and sixth grade boys travel basketball teams were honored by the Millburn Recreation Department at their meeting on March 11.
Both teams won their respective league championships last month. The fifth graders beat Livingston in the semifinals before taking down Maplewood in the finals. The sixth graders beat Maplewood in the semifinals before taking down West Orange in the finals.
These are the first league championships for the rec department travel teams since 2011, when the eight grade girls team captured the championship to cap off a three-peat for the group. it is also the first boys rec titles since the seventh grade boys accomplished the feat in 2004.
Fifth grade head coach Rob Dasti and assistant coach Mike Brown were at the meeting, along with sixth grade head coach Ross Alpert and assistant coach Andrew Rowek. Both coaches brought their rosters to receive medals from the rec department.
After the meeting, Dasti and Alpert both spoke with TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills. When talking about how special the championship was to the team, Dasti noted that this was the first year that fifth grade travel basketball has even existed in Millburn, so to walk away with the titles is an accomplishment.
"It's pretty special for the boys," Dasti said. "They deserved it. They fought really hard all year. I know they were pretty nervous about it because they and I knew that the other teams had been playing together for longer, and they were more experienced, but it was really special. It was a fun year for these kids. They worked really hard, and as a team, they were obviously able to accomplish a lot."
And for Alpert, he said his team showed resiliency throughout the course of their championship season, which he was impressed by.
"I think that we worked had from after Thanksgiving to right till the end of season back in the beginning of March," Alpert said. "All these boys came to practice every day, they worked hard. I think coming back-we started the season undefeated, lost a couple games in a row-and then coming back together at the end to beat an undefeated team in the championship ... definitely is an accomplishment to these kids and what they can do as a whole."