This year, Cleveland hosted our very own, 2023 SALFASS Jr., an annual friendly basketball competition depicting Lithuanian organizations from across North America
Lithuanian sport clubs: Cleveland Zaibas, Toronto Ausra, Detroit Kovas and Lituanica excitedly dribbled their basketballs into the NEO Sports plant with high spirits bringing the Lithuanian community together for a fun-filled weekend.
The games transpired well… Thank you to the Girls B/C team that traveled from Toronto, Ontario to play for Toronto Ausra, with tight scoring all around. Girls B/C Cleveland Zaibas took on the gold medal with a 34:31 score vs. Toronto Ausra as spectators sat watching, on the edges of their seats. Special recognitions go to Girls D Toronto Ausra’s, Elizabeth Sablinskas (#5) for putting up 8 points in Game 1 vs. Cleveland Zaibas on Saturday. Bravo to the entire Girls D Cleveland Zaibas team, with Avery (#3), Abbey (#24), Elle (#23), Lily (#13) each scoring 6 points across the game. Girls D Cleveland Zaibas won 33:16 vs. Toronto Ausra and went on to wear the Gold medal around their necks on Sunday.
The Boys E consolation game was a real nail biter, as Detroit Kovas won Bronze in double overtime against Toronto Ausra with a 2 point banger. The score was Detroit Kovas 16:14.
Valio to Boys E players: Trent (#21), Lukas (#20) from Toronto Ausra, and Danielius (#12) from Detroit Kovas for leading their teams in points throughout the tournament. Valio to Boys E Lituanica for scoring 68 points during Game 1 on Saturday and 72 points during Game 3 on Sunday versus other Lithuanian basketball teams.
In the end, Boys C/D Detroit Kovas won the championship final, taking home a shiny SALFASS Jr. 2023 Gold medal. Toronto Ausra returned home with 4 silver medals! Here are the results:
|Girls B/C||Cleveland Zaibas||Toronto Ausra|
|Co-Ed||Cleveland Zaibas||Toronto Ausra|
|Girls D||Cleveland Zaibas||Toronto Ausra|
|Boys C/D||Detroit Kovas||Cleveland Zaibas|
|Boys E||Lituanica||Cleveland Zaibas|
Ausra SC took home four silver medals – of which we are very proud of. We highlight Rob Galikowski and his efforts with the award wining high school girls team. We highlight four grade eight students who persevered in athleticism this year: Elijus, Evan, Gabriele, Sigita. We also are grateful to teams working together as one North American Lithuanian team.
The Saturday evening featured Lithuanian food and beer at The Lithuanian Club in Euclid, OH
An array of delicious Lithuanian traditional dishes including ‘cepelinai’, potato pancakes, ‘Rugstyniu’ and cold beet soup were freshly available to fill the well-deserved tummies of athletes as they later played pool and danced the night away.
A truly united community before us. We commemorate Msgr. Edmond Putrimas, (lovingly known as Father Ed), as all participants wore his respected name and the Catholic cross on their green T-shirt sleeves this weekend. Over 40 memorable years, generations of young Lithuanian North Americans learned the importance of their heritage from Father Ed. We pay homage to him as he passed on in late 2022. Thank you Rasa Augaitis and Jesslyn Dymond for creating the featured Fr. Ed. T-shirts for our tournament.
Big thank you’s to…
Aciu to Petras Titas for hosting an amazing basketball tournament, and providing us all with memorable experiences. Thank you to all the families that traveled far with their supportive cheers. Aciu to the coaches for your diligence and grit leading the athletes to victory. Special thanks to the PHE high school teachers, and the high level NCCP coaches and officials for being all around amazing people who had to really think on their toes. Aciu to the Board of Directors and their stellar efforts in organizing the tournament. Aciu to our ongoing sponsor Parama Credit Union and families like the Stoncius and Zito family. ‘Tris Kartus Valio’ and a great big thank you to the Resurrection Credit Union in Toronto, ON. Your great support of Lithuanian community activities and the development of our Aušra Sports Club youth through sports is very much appreciated. Our Clubs and athletes extend our gratitude for your $3,000 contribution to our 2023 SALFASS Jr. games. Last but not least, ‘Aciu sirdingai’ to our Toronto Parapija and the Lithuanian clubs and parishes in all cities that participated in the 2023 SALFASS Jr. tournament.
A final word…
“As we all know, 20 years from now, all these kids will remember from 2023 SALFASS Jr. tournament is the car ride, the time at the hotel, the dinners, the time between games, the socials, meeting kids from other cities (maybe even Snapchat friends), and maybe some misbehaving at the hotel and most likely, none of the basketball” – Petras Titas