May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Event director made sure North-South Challenge was a celebration of OC basketball

Players from Beckman (blue uniforms) compete against Tesoro Saturday. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

The 21st annual North-South Challenge is in the books and like the last three that have been held at Tesoro, this one ran smoothly and accomplished the goal of providing a fun-filled weekend for players and fans.

Eighteen boys basketball teams took part in the two-day event, which was originally hosted by El Toro, then moved to Tesoro in 2017. Three games were held Friday and six on Saturday.

As the games wound down, so did Tony DeAngelo’s tenure as director of the event since his son is graduating at the end of the school year. DeAngelo, the father of Tesoro senior guard Matt DeAngelo, stayed behind the scenes but his efforts didn’t go un-noticed. Coaches on Twitter praised the efforts of DeAngelo and his team of volunteers including Jean Mahlen, Joe Ribotto amd Melisa Mika along with other parents of the basketball players at Tesoro.

“I would ike to thank Tony and Amy DeAngelo for running a great event and making the last two days run really well,” said Tesoro Coach Steve Garrett after his team’s game on Saturday. “There is a lot of preparation behind the scenes and he has all the families on board making sure it’s run well and everybody is having a good time.

“We view this event as a celebration to kind of kick off the year. A lot of coaches come to the event to hang out and now that football is over, it’s kind of a focus on a new season. It’s to celebrate Orange County basketball. Todd Dixon (former coach at El Toro) did a great job for 18 years running this thing and I just wanted to carry the torch and make it a place where everybody could come and have a good time and enjoy basketball.”

The players, including DeAngelo’s son, Matt, appreciate what Tony DeAngelo has done.

“He’s been putting the whole thing together,” Matt DeAngelo said. “It’s a lot of work, I see him coming in here at 9 (a.m.) Friday getting it all set up, getting scorekeepers, refs, everything. It’s really impressive to see.”

Besides lining up concessions, refs and teams, Tony DeAngelo selected an MVP after every game, took a picture of each player and posted it on Twitter.

Planning is already beginning for next year’s event at Tesoro but without DeAngelo.

“We’re working on it (finding a replacement). He’s got a pretty good blueprint,” Coach Garrett said. “I’m super appreciative of Tony.”

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com