LCAA basketball title to be decided Sunday
By Greg Gulas
When Kobra Kai (21-2) meets OBA (16-8) for Sunday’s Local Competitive Athletic Association (LCAA) basketball championship, the noon time tip-off at the newly remodeled Calvin Center will culminate the league’s 45-team season.
The gymnasium, dubbed “The Steeple Center,” might just draw more oohs and aahs from those in attendance than any slam dunk or 3-pointer.
“We started in February and each team plays 25 games or one game a week, all with the hopes of getting to the play-offs and eventually the title game,” LCCA comissioner Dave Stambul said.
“This is our 12th season of play and until 2010 we were forced to use any gym in the area that was available in order to complete our schedule. When Sean Timms purchased the Calvin Center, I immediately touched base with him about renting the facility because I felt that it had so much potential.”
The league boasts 30 teams from the Youngstown area, with others from Akron, Columbus and Pittsburgh. Others are from Mercer and Lawrence counties in western Pennsylvania.
In the past, the league used gymnasiums at the old South High Field House, Youngtown Boys & Girls Club, Youngstown Massotherapy and The Mayor Ralph A. Infante Wellness Center in Niles.
“Our progress as a league three years ago was at a standstill because there were so many obstacles to overcome, most notably a location. When I was able to secure the rental of the Calvin Center, I just knew this would be a great partnership for both parties,” Stambul said.
Upgrading the facility was paramount so sanding, repainting and then varnishing the floor came first and then a new heating system was installed.
“We’ve also added glass backboards with a new lighting system, wall padding and instant replay monitor also on the horizon,” Stambul said.
Leading Kobra Kai are local stars Chivas Whipple (25.8 points), Jerhame Williams (22.4), Greg Foster (16.2), Geno Bianco (15.0), Andre Edmonds (13.8) and former Ursuline High School standout, Carey Palermo (7.9 points, 2.6 assists).
Former Poland standouts Niko Fatimus (25.6 points), Ben Donlow (18.8 points), Ben Umble (13.7 points) and Dave Baker (12.6 points) are the players to watch for OBA.
Those not making the playoffs have a tournament of their own and today at 3:30 p.m., when the Cage Boys (13-17) of Youngstown meet Old School (16-13) of Warren, the NIT portion of the league’s schedule will conclude.