A feisty group of fourth-grade boys from La Jolla finished their season 7-1, in first place for the spring San Diego Sol basketball league, which includes teams from all over San Diego, in divisions for third through eighth graders.
This team has been together for five seasons, playing together since age 8. Most began in the La Jolla YMCA recreational league competing against each other, but eventually, they were ready for more, and so Riptide basketball was formed three years ago. While many club programs have an intense schedule and commitment requirement, the Riptide program keeps age in perspective. The boys attend a mix of La Jolla schools, including: La Jolla Elementary, La Jolla Country Day, Gillespie and Evans.
“It’s been fun to watch how close these boys have become, and how tight the team is from the players to the parents,” Coach Lorri Sulpizio said. “We joke about the future and how eventually, they’ll be going against each other in high school, but the amazing thing about this sport is how the bond transcends the court. I hope to teach these kids not only how to make a sharp bounce pass and rotate on defense, but how to work well with others and recognize the importance of relationships and attitude.”
Finishing in first place this season was extra sweet, since last season, the team lost by one point in the playoff semi-finals. Their goal was to leave that loss behind and finish as the top team in the spring season. That goal was achieved.
Founded and coached by former college coach Sulpizio, Riptide aims to give young players an introduction into more advanced basketball skills and team strategies. Sulpizio, who was also a strength and conditioning specialist, incorporates fitness and physical training elements into practices as well. The result is a team of young boys who are fit and have taken their game of basketball to the next level.
The La Jolla YMCA and Riptide also offers skills and drills sessions with the Riptide coaches for players who want to develop their game in order to play competitive basketball. For more information, call the Y at (858) 453-3483.