Area basketball team headed to nationals

GLOVERSVILLE – After winning four AAU tournament championships at various tournaments in the Northeast last year as seventh-graders, the Foothills Lady Heat AAU eighth-grade girls basketball team continues to build on its accomplishments.

This season, the 10-girl team has qualified for the eighth-grade Division 1 national championships, which will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney World in Florida from July 7 to 12.

The team qualified for Nationals by playing up a division in the ninth-grade division of the Northeast USA Hoop Festival, which is a district qualifying event and making it to the championship game of that event before losing.

The team also played in another district qualifying event, the 13th annual Redhawks Rumble and won the championship of that event. The win earned them an invitation from the District Sports Chair of AAU girls basketball, into the Division 1 National Championships.

The team is composed of ninth eighth-graders and one seventh-grader.

The team includes Northville eighth-grader Jesse VanNostrand, Mayfield eighth-graders Sydney Sheldon and Cameron Meca, and Broadalbin-Perth eighth-grader Jacklyn Akey.

Also on the team are Gloversville eighth-graders Jasmine Gonzalez, Kerri Hauser, Gabby Langley, Gabby Brown and Alex Benfatti, along with Gloversville seventh-grader Harmony Philo.

This spring, this group of girls also won the Shamrock Shootout in Rome, went 4-0 in the Sparks Thoroughbred Classic at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, and traveled to play at Competitive Edge Sports outside of Philadelphia, where the team played four games against other teams who have qualified for nationals and went 2-2.

The team has compiled an overall record of 24-6, while playing 18 of those 30 games in the ninth-grade division.

The girls are coached by Michael Philo, James Sheldon, Harley Fuller and Shawn Flynn.

The team will host several fundraisers over the next few days.

The team will host a coin drop, and bottle and can return today at both Food and Fuel in Mayfield and at the Amsterdam Country Feed store.

They are also selling tickets to a spaghetti dinner at Pino’s restaurant in Johnstown, which is scheduled for Monday, and raffle tickets for a 50/50 drawing, a fishing trip and a weekend at a five-star hotel in Lake Placid.

For more information or to make a tax deductible donation, email mphilo1965@yahoo.com or call 321-9613 or mail to 109 Sixth Ave., Gloversville, NY. 12078.