The Wolverines, led by the dynamic duo of Maurliyah Cromwell and Jah’keil Young, rallied in the second half to defeat the Blue Devils, 29-23, in the CYBL Junior Division championship game Friday night at the Saul Nechtem Gymnasium.
Cromwell, the 10-year-old daughter of Wolverines head coach Moe Cromwell and granddaughter of former CHS hoop star, the late Rick Cromwell, put on a show for the large and enthusiastic crowd in attendance. Maurliyah “Buckets,” as she is known, looked like a young Autumn Lopez as she scored 13 points and led a key surge early in the second half as the Wolverines erased a 17-14 halftime deficit.
Cromwell, who was the CYBL All-Star Game MVP and three-point shooting champion this season, displayed her advanced skills throughout the game, dribbling past foes and hitting some long-range jumpers, including a three-pointer to launch the Wolverines’ comeback.
Backcourtman Jah’kiel Young is also a player to watch in the future. The CYBL’s leading scorer this season, Young contributed 10 points and showcased his superb ballhandling skills in the game.
Mya Ortiz was a standout on defense for Moe Cromwell’s Wolverines, who had finished the regular season with a 10-0 record.
Coach Gerald Auguste’s running Raptors gave the Wolverines all they could handle in the championship game. Raptors guard Jayden Ramos was sensational in defeat, leading all scorers with 19 points and nearly piloting an upset of the unbeaten Wolverines.
But the Cromwell Contingent staved off the upset, thanks to the clutch shooting by Maurliyah Cromwell and Jah’kiel Young.
“We were always ahead during the season, and they had never faced adversity like that,” said Moe Cromwell. “At halftime, we had to settle down. The moment was overwhelming with such a large crowd. I gave the team a halftime speech and they came out in the second half and played like the team they have been all season. The atmosphere was great in the gym. This was a great night for Chelsea.”
Said Blue Devils Coach Gerald Auguste, who was a Pop Warner football standout while growing up in Chelsea, “We motivated our players for this game, and they responded well. Jayden Ramos is an athlete and a phenomenal player and I hope he continues to play basketball. But I give credit to the Wolverines, who are deserving champions. Moe’s daughter [Mariliyah] is a tremendous player and she hit some big shots tonight. I love how she plays the game. This was a terrific game by both teams.”
In the Senior Division championship game, Diomar Colon had 17 points while Hussein Mohammed scored 11 points as Coach Chris Barbosa’s Knicks defeated the Raptors, 47-34, to take home the title.