Lightning win title The Newport Lightning boys eighth-grade basketball club team captured the AAU Swoosh Memorial Day Classic tournament championship May 30.
The Ligthning went 5-0 in the two-day tournament through four rounds of play against some of Southern California's top teams.
In pool play on the first day, the Lightning broke open a tight game with a second-half push to defeat Chino Hills, 64-52, and then had no trouble against an overmatched Glendora Prodigy squad, winning, 62-22. Leading scorers Hale Furey (17.5 points per game in pool play) and Jack Williamson (14 ppg in pool play), and playmakers Charlie Coffman, Charlie Griffin and Bo St. Geme led the Lightning offense on the first day, while the defense was anchored by the strong front-court play of Andrew Chase (with a season-high nine rebounds), Blake Flamson (seven rebounds and stellar defense on Chino Hills' star Kelvin Ball), Jeff Johnston (five rebounds and three steals), and shot-blocking specialist Braden Brahs (with 2.5 blocks per game).
In Sunday's elimination round, Newport shut down a strong guard from Trabuco Hills, 45-31, with Flamson, Furey and Brahs completely taking away the opponent's inside game, and Griffin and St. Geme dominating the perimeter.
In the semifinals against the powerful Downey Ballhogs, the Lightning came back from an 11-point second half deficit to pull out a dramatic 54-52 triumph behind Williamson's 18 points (including four 3-pointers), Johnston's devastating post-up play (10 points, including eight in the pivotal second half comeback), Furey's repeated open-court drives, and suffocating defensive pressure from Coffman, Chase and Flamson helped.
After only a brief rest following the semifinal win, the Lightning fell behind early in the final against Anaheim Rock Solid.
However, Newport mounted yet another comeback, sparked by Brahs' offensive explosion (12 points) and defensive pressure by Griffin and St. Geme leading to multiple Rock Solid turnovers, to clinch the championship with a 62-55 victory.
The boys eighth-grade team is coached by Mike Flamson and Mike Coffman.
— Reader submission