Pammer takes home TOC title
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Catasauqua's Tournament of Champions has another memorable summer.
In the end, hometown business Pammer Chiropractic defeated Certified Chemical, 87-67 to capture the championship at the Catasauqua Playground. It proved to be a tournament filled with a series of stellar individual performances.
Former Allen High star Darnell Braswell scored 34 points in the championship game and was named the tournament MVP. Former Freedom standout Joe Lococo added 20 points for Pammer, which won the North Catty League.
A night earlier, former Allen teammate Terence Roderick poured in 53 points to help Certified Chemical advance to the title game.
Tournament chairman Eric Snyder was pleased with the overall tournament.
"We had some outstanding showings in the semifinals and final as well as the entire tournament," said Snyder. "It always makes it more interesting for people in town when we have a local team in the finals.
"We had good crowds for the tournament and we also had local cable broadcasts the final games. It proved to be an interesting and enjoyable couple of nights."
Snyder also noted several returning standouts who have continued to shine such as Brent Williams, last year's MVP; Jerry McChristian, a three-time MVP; Kyle Griffin, son of former local pro golfer Mimi Griffin; Chad Lilly; and former Catty standouts Andrew Armellino, Matt Morton, and Josh Yoo along with former Catty assistant coach Brent Zieber.
In the past, Snyder recalled how the tournament had more of local flavor with a host of former high school standouts from Catty, Whitehall and Northampton. He believed there was little representation from Whitehall unlike the past when former Zephyrs Scott Coval, Glenn Noack, Tony Medina were regulars along with former MVP Tom Rummel.
Snyder also won't soon forget some of the more memorable moments when a team won the championship mostly without players who were not on their summer league roster. The team was banned from the tournament the following summer.
There was also a player who undercut another player in midair as he drove to the basket. The player who performed the undercut then ran off the court and into the streets around the playground. There were two other players who both punted the basketball in a fit of rage.
"Some people remember those things as if they happened yesterday," said Snyder. "We had some incidents, but we always managed to keep the tournament under control."
There were also local powerhouses such as Ackley's, Rock Hill Concrete, and GNS, all of whom were repeat champions in tournament's first two decades that initially began in 1989. This season, the tournament was reduced to 12 teams from the customary 16.
But Snyder is optimistic the field can reach its usual amount next summer as league champions from Pottsville, Upper Perkiomen, and Girardsville are likely to join the field. Snyder also is hopeful the defunct Bethlehem Summer League can revive itself next summer.
"We're hopeful to get some more teams, but who knows?" added Snyder. "Still, this tournament is very popular and respected. We really haven't lost too much over the years."