Summer basketball league a ‘brotherhood’

Aug 15, 2023

MARION — Over 140 basketball players from across the South Coast needed a place to play competitively this summer, and they found it with Marion’s Embargo League.

Now in its third year, the Embargo League gives college-aged basketball players a place to play during the off-season.

This season, players came from as far as Wareham, Fairhaven, New Bedford, Fall River and Somerset, said league organizer Dylan Cantara, who is a senior at UMass Dartmouth studying finance.

“We’ve spread pretty quickly through the South Coast,” he said. “And we ended up getting a lot of people contacting us to join our league … we had a lot of interest so we decided to expand it year after year.”

The league’s organizers, Cantara, Andrew Bellemare and Michael Pardo secured sponsorships for each of the 12 teams, and have made sure the league has dedicated stat tracking, videography and a players association.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, the league convened for one final time this summer for its championship game. Team Bocca faced off against Team Cask and Pig, both repping South Coast restaurants.

Team Bocca won 76-55 against Team Cask and Pig.

Watching from the sidelines was Wayne Bellemare, the father of league organizer Andrew Bellemare.

“When you have 100 twenty-year-old guys, that’s a lot of testosterone,” said Wayne Bellemare. “And they’ve never had an issue … they’re doing it the right way, I’m really proud of them.”

Wayne Bellemare said that when he first heard that his son was starting a summer basketball league he “didn't expect a whole lot” until he heard that the boys had gotten insurance for the league.

“As a dad, [Embargo League] is better than any internship you could have in college,” he said. “The stuff that they’ve learned — they don't realize they’re learning because they're having a blast. They worked their butts off.”

With all three organizers entering their senior year of college, they have begun planning for the league’s future.

“We definitely want to keep this thing running because we've grown it so much over the years, however we're getting busy, so we're having a lot of other people run it,” said Cantera, who added that recent Old Rochester Regional High School graduate Liam Gerrighty and Fairhaven native Daniel Delacruz have stepped into vice-president positions.

“The road has been awesome,” said Cantera. “I've never met so many people in my life. Seeing everyone come together … it's a great atmosphere, like a brotherhood.”