By Jeff Slovin, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Ninety-two basketball players competed in the fourth annual 135 Spring Classic tournament May 29 at the Ellsworth-McAfee Park.
Teams of three players each competed in this year’s tournament and raised more than $1,200 for Coaching4Change, an organization whose mission is to teach high school students to become leaders by providing them opportunities to coach afterschool youth sports programs and organizing school-wide athletics tournaments. Coaching4Change provides a network of college mentors, teachers and parents to the students, creating a support system enabling them to experience successes both in the classroom and through coaching.
This year’s tournament was organized by University of Delaware freshman and 2015 Algonquin Regional High School graduate Sam Piotrowski.
“Organizing the tournament from my dorm room was quite challenging,” said Piotrowski, “I created a written plan for running the tournament, and then spent a lot of time on the phone with my team back in Northborough.”
Piotrowski relied heavily on Matt Galligan, another Algonquin graduate, who handled meeting with all the sponsors. Current Algonquin students, seniors Joe Wallace and Dylan Stetkiewicz, along with juniors Brett Sherman and Owen Lyons, all members of the Algonquin Regional varsity basketball team, rounded out the Northborough team. Peter Berman, co-founder and chief operating officer of Coaching4Change, and a former assistant basketball coach at Algonquin, also provided
The tournament is open to anyone with a love of basketball, but is limited to players that are high school freshman through college sophomores. Piotrowski said his team made an extra effort to recruit younger players for this year’s event, to help ensure there is a healthy base of participants that can look forward to being involved with the tournament in future years.
Piotrowski set up a GoFundMe page for individual donations, and arranged sponsorships with several local area businesses. Buffalo Wild Wings, the Eden, Rafferty law firm, Putnam Pipe and Seaside Liquors all made financial donations; Not Your Average Joes and Qdoba donated food and catering; and Crown Trophy provided the trophy awarded to the winning team.
Inspired by previous participants disappointed that they are no longer eligible to play, Piotrowski hopes to add an alumni tournament next year that would include the older players, teachers from Algonquin Regional and others from the community.
This year’s winning team consisted of Justin Brilliant, a sophomore at University of Rhode Island, Eric Hart, a freshman at UMass Lowell, and Ben Macchi, Algonquin Regional senior.