Eagles, East Orange YMCA Basketball Team, 'Start from the Bottom' and Wind Up Number One
Thursday, February 28, 2013 • 12:20pm
WEST ORANGE, NJ - When leaving the practice on Friday at the East Orange YMCA, the boys on the Eagles basketball team sang:
‘We started from the bottom, now we here. I started from the bottom, now my whole team here’ (*Non explicit lyrics, “Started from the Bottom,” by Drake.)
Little did they know that this would be just that they could claim just a few days later.
The East Orange YMCA Eagles is a 12B team in its first year. The newly hired Youth and Family Director at the East Orange YMCA, Lammar Young, had a vision to bring his love for basketball and coaching with him. He brought a few third grade players from his fall Hilltopper Heat team. Although the season was over for the Hilltoppers, Coach Lammar wanted to provide the opportunity for his young team to continue playing. Only one third grader on the Hilltoppers had any organized play experience. He learned of the YMCA basketball league when he began work there. The 12B group is the youngest group in the league. With about 7 boys from the Hilltoppers, Young held tryouts at the East Orange Y and wound up with a team of 14 boys and 1 girl, ranging in age from 7-12.
The Eagles started their season with a home game win, followed by a win from behind against Newark YMCA with several 3 pointers that put the game in their favor, winning by two points. After playing Newark twice more, winning one and losing one, and with one loss to the Madison YMCA, The Eagles, ended their season with a 10-2 record, making them the number one team going in to this weekend’s play offs in Madison.
Coach Lammar believes in not just coaching the boys and girl basketball but also to keep them accountable and responsible and coach them in life as well. Players have to present their report cards and any student with an F will not be allowed to play. Many practice sessions and games have become life lessons for the kids as well. ‘I tell them not to shoot, go to 2-3 and no pressure if they are up by too much’, says Coach Lammar. ‘We are here to win but have nothing to prove.’
The inspiring Eagles’ underdog story has generated much interest for the basketball program at the East Orange YMCA. The Y offered Saturday morning basketball clinics for youth at the start of the Eagles season. Two kids showed up the first week. At the end of the eight week program, 20-30 boys and girls were there to learn about the game and develop their skills.
Win or lose, there will be a banquet for the team later in March celebrating a great season and the growth in all the players, on and off the court.
For more information on the East Orange YMCA, or to try out for the teams go to: www.eastorangeymca.org.
To see the standings for the Eagles and other YMCA teams, go to: