WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Hilltoppers Heat, an AAU Basketball organization in Essex County, is creating sparks. While most of the Hilltopper Heat participated in a huge tournament in Springfield Mass, the third grade team remained behind to complete league play. The team has traveled to Brick, NJ for the past 6 weeks and actually 'played up' in the fourth and fifth grade league. On Saturday, June 1, the team made it into Championship Play.
On Sunday, June 2 the Heat faced off against the Jagz Fifth grade team, having previously beaten them by narrow margins on two occasions. Despite a daunting height difference, turnovers and fouls, the game was tied 12-12 and headed into overtime. The Heat scored, now leading 14-12 but fouled; the Jagz scored one point, bringing the score to 14-13. After the one minute of overtime, the Heat held off the Jagz and won 14-13, ending their season with a 3-0 record against the Jagz and a 6-1 record for the season overall.
The Hilltopper Heat program is very competitive and teams regularly 'play up,' getting experience against bigger and older kids.
The Third grade Hilltopper Heat team will travel to South Carolina at the end of July where they will shoot for a national title. There they play in their own age bracket and hopefully this league has given them the training they need to win against boys their own age.
To try out for next year's team and for more information: