This article was originally posted by the New Britain Herald.
The U17 Connecticut Rough Riders, an AAU basketball team coached by Manny Sanchez, an Alderman in New Britain, made it to the Sweet 16 of the AAU D-2 National Championship this week at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World in Orlando, Fla..
The Rough Riders swept their pool, winning three consecutive games to start the tournament, including victories over a European team, a Florida team and a Top 25 team from the New York City area.
The Rough Riders, led by New Britain’s Curtis Hyman and Curtrell Hyman, beat the New York Minutemen, ranked 25th in the country, and played well against the No. 14 Arkansas Wings before losing by 14, total which was inflated by late-game fouling in a contest which was closer through much of the game.
Still, the 65-57 win over New York showed that the Rough Riders can run with the best in the country.
Curtis Hyman, a swingman from New Britain High, was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 18 points, 7.3 rebounds and two blocks per game.
“He’s grown so much and he’s playing so well,” Sanchez, who has coached Hyman since he was heading into his freshman year of high school, said. “He’s getting a lot of looks from Division I and Division II schools.”
Curtrell Hyman also had a strong tournament and another local, Isaiah Rivera, impressed his coaches.
“He goes 100 percent all the time,” Sanchez said. “If I could have 10 Isaiah’s in terms of heart and aggressive nature I’d love it.”
Patrick McPadden a big man from East Catholic, played well, serving as a presence down low by controlling the boards and providing good scoring.
Zach Feiner had a terrific game against the Florida Airmen, going 4-for-6 from 3-point range, and had his shot working throughout tournament. The Rough Riders won gold at the Nutmeg Games last year, but will miss the competition next week because they will be playing in an event at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
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