March 9, 2014

SABIS boys win third Western Mass. title in five years, advancing to State championship semifinals

AMHERST— Seconds away from winning his third Western Massachusetts boys basketball championship, Sabis senior guard Nelson Zayas checked out of the game and received a standing ovation from the Bulldogs cheering section at the Curry Hicks Cage.

SABIS' Nelson Zayas drives to basket on his way to victory.
After scoring a game-high 24 points to lead top-seeded Sabis past No. 3 Hoosac Valley, 71-56, Saturday afternoon, Zayas walked over to the water cooler for a drink and joined with coach John Williams in an embrace.

"I just told him I love him,” Williams said. “I love all my kids. We always stress that we are family."

Zayas joined the Sabis basketball team as an eighth-grader and in five season played in seven playoff games at the Curry Hicks Cage. During his eighth-grade season, Sabis defeated Hoosac Valley in the Division II championship en route to a state championship.

“It was crazy,” Zayas said. “I didn’t get much playing time, as an eighth-grader. It’s a little weird, you know, starting with them and now ending in my last year playing against them. They’re a good team. “

In his freshman season, Zayas again returned to Cage and won the Western Mass. Division II championship, this time not as a bench-warmer behind Sabis 1,000-point scorers Andre King and Kamali Bey, but as catch-and-shoot role player.

“I was a freshman , it was the first year I actually got some playing time. I was nervous as can be,” Zayas said. “Like always, my teammates helped me out, encouraged me, and fed me the ball. They’re the reason why I play so confident.  (Click here to read complete article.)


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