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.

A story about players, a coach, and parents that made a wining team.

Imagine this...

We are facing a team that is equal competition.  The competing team is keeping a 4-point lead or more throughout the game.

With 5 minutes left in the game and us being down by 12, I am calling a time out. The boys and one girl are emotionally down, they feel like the game is over and they have already lost. As a coach, I am trying to pick up their spirits and tell them to not give up and fight to the end, but even then, that seems not enough.


Now we are just under 5 minutes and down by 15. I am calling another time out for one more round of encouragement. As I have my clipboard in the huddle, I am noticing a lot more heads hovering over me than before. As I look up, I see the faces of the parents. A lot of them left the spectators bench to show the kids that they are in their corner. In this moment, the parents are giving every kid a sense of hope and the confidence that they can do it. 

As the kids are going back onto the court, one can see the fire in their eyes, the intensity in their body language and the determination of not quitting.  

Our shooting guard is coming down the court with the ball and shoots a three pointer; the stands and bench are yelling “good shot”. The same player is receiving the ball again, "BAM" another three. Now the stands are on the edge of their seat.

After our team is getting an offensive rebound from a missed layup, they find the same guard and this time the defense is running at him with full force. He fakes the shot dribble to the side and "Hoop, their it is" another three. The crowd is jumping up and rooting for their team. 

Now were looking at about less than 2 minutes left, still down by six.

Our center position player goes for a layup and gets an "and one" but wait, one problem, the book keeping just recognized that he has five fouls. This means he fouled out and the play "and one" does not count.  

In the next possession, the point guard comes down the court fakes the pass and hits a three pointer. Now we are down by three points.  

After getting a defensive rebound, we are passing the ball to the point guard who comes down the court for the open three: sorry folks, he hits nothing but air. I look at him and all he has is a big smirk on his face: “Oops, my swag fell short".  

It is about 53 seconds on the clock, still down by three. 

After getting an offensive rebound from a missed layup, we are passing the ball around to find the open man and wait, who is it? Our shooting guard is open again. This time with pure confidence he shoots and another three pointer! The crowd is going wild. At this point, it does not matter whom you were originally cheering for, because everybody is now making noise for the East Orange YMCA. 

With a couple seconds on the clock, our power forward who missed multiple lay ups during the game, is making sure the next one counts. Now we have the lead 38 to 36.  
The team continues to hold the lead throughout the last seconds of the game and two time outs, just to go home 2-0. 

Congratulations to the East Orange YMCA! We, as in the staff, parents and kids just showed so many people what hard work, teamwork, and not giving up will do for you. 
Coach L. Young
"Teaching life lessons from court view"

Star Ledger August 24, 2014
NJ State AAU 1st Place and USBA Nationals 1st place

Congratulations to our participants for Placing 4th NJ State AAU, 3rd Zero Gravity Nationals and 2nd AAU International Nationals of 2015

News Paper Clippings

Congratulations to our participants for placing
1st NJ State AAU, 1st USBA Nationals of 2014


4th NJ State AAU, 3rd Zero Gravity Nationals and
2nd AAU International Nationals.

Congratulations to our participants for placing

1st in coastal sports league for 5th and 6th grade
1st D1, 2nd D2 NJ States YBOA 3rd Zero Gravity Nationals
and 5th YBOA Nationals.

The 2016 2K Classic & Young World Baller.

The 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, featuring Michigan, Pitt, Marquette, and SMU, returns to Madison Square Garden November 18, and the Young World Ballers are invited! Join us for the Championship Day, Friday November 18th, as the champion of the 2K Classic is crowned.

Welcome to the Garden

Participants trained for other programs-

Summer 2015 11U AAU International Champions

Summer 2015 13U  AAU International Champions

Summer 2015 12U White AAU Internationals 4th Place

Summer 2015 10U  AAU Internationals 2nd Place

2015 13U  Division One NJ State Runner Ups

2015 9U and 11U Grade NJ State 4th Place

2015 14U  Division One NJ State AAU Champions

2015 12U  Division One NJ State AAU Champions

2015 10U  NJ State AAU 4th Place

2015 12U Division Two NJ State Runner Ups

2015 12U 13U and 14U Basketball Hall of Fame Tournament Champions

2015 12U 13U and 14U PAT Invitations Champions

2015 12U and 13U National Zero Gravity Tournament Champions

2015 10U ranked 3rd National Zero Gravity Tournament

14U Team is ranked 12th in the Country

12U Team is ranked 14th in the Country

Seven of the Eight teams from Hilltopper Heat basketball program that competed, won a medal in the NJ State AAU Tournament

Basketball Spotlight Top 5 5th and 4th Grade Teams Presented By AGame Apparel

The Basketball Spotlight season is still young so therefore we decided to start the 4th and 5th Grade rankings with just the Top 5. We will be expanded to 10 teams in the near future. 

Basketball Spotlight 5th Grade Top 5` Presented By AGame Team Apparel 

1. S Elite: S Elite came in from Canada and surprised the field by winning the title. They have the size to remain on top. 

2. Gauchos: The Choz made it to the finals where they fell to S Elite. The Bronx squad is here to stay. 

3. Team Glory: TG made a final four run at the Tip Off Classic. They are always a threat to win it all. 

4. Hilltoppers Heat: The North Jersey squad lost to S Elite in the semifinals. Now they will be looking to move up.

5. Playtime Panthers: PP made a good run at the Tip Off Classic. They seem to be back in the mix.  

Basketball Spotlight 4th Grade Top 5` Presented By AGame Team Apparel 

1. Riverside Hawks: RH made their name known as they won the Tip Off Classic. They are trying to bring back the glory days when they ran NY. 

2. Gauchos: The Choz made a finals run at the Tip Off Classic. Their historic rivalry against Riverside seems to be back. 

3. Boston Bobcats: This squad made their Spotlight debut and made it to the final four. Hopefully we will see them again soon. 

4. Hilltoppers Heat: HH made a strong run to the final four before losing to eventual champion Riverside Hawks. They are definitely in the mix. 

5. CJ Hawks: The Hawks have a talented bunch and we think they will be moving up. They have several tournaments to get it right.