Girls share first
The Newport Lightning seventh-grade girls' basketball team performed well in the two-day OC Rhythm Tournament finishing in a three-way tie for first place Sunday.
On Saturday, the Lightning started the tournament with a 45-11 win over host OC Rhythm who had no answer for Newport's domination in the paint.
Krista Andersen grabbed a lot of rebounds and finished with 16 points.
Justine Modde stole the ball several times, went coast to coast and finished with 11 points. Heather Fuiji, Newport's sixth grader, clocked in some good minutes and scored two points for the Lightning.
The second game of the day, against the Zoom, proved to be a bit more difficult as the Lightning struggled with Zoom's swarming defense and quick style of play. Newport led at the half, 18-15, but the team was unable to keep the lead with the game ending, 44-32, for the Zoom. Kelly Tam, Julia Ackerman and Michelle Maddox all played an all-around good game for the Lightning.
On Sunday, the fired-up Lightning came back to win both games against San Gabriel Valley and the Triple Threat Warriors. Against SGV the Newport Lightning controlled the pace of the game and utilized the Lightning's many strengths with great teamwork. Natalia Bruening led the team with assists and Marina LaPuzza shut down the SGV three-point shooter, which resulted with SGV remaining scoreless for the first eight minutes of the second half. Marina, the Lightning point guard also remained calm, cool and collected, controlling the pace of the game in a 37-28 win for the Lightning. Siena Sharf also played a great all-around game against SGV.
Newport's best game of the tournament was against the Triple Threat Warriors, who also went 3-1 in the tournament. Again, the Lightning's ability to work as a team proved to be useful against the Warriors, who pressed the entire game. The Lightning didn't buckle though and as a result, they came out on top, 29-23. Makenzie Gaddis also contributed.
The Lightning was coached by Julia Bruening with assistants Christoph Bruening and Kat Scardino.
— Reader submission
Lightning is second
The Newport Lightning Basketball Club's 14-and-under, eighth-grade team continued its strong fall season finishing runner-up in the Swoosh Aloha Challenge at Long Beach Poly High last weekend.
The Lightning beat South Bay Dream Team, 39-26, and OCBC, 47-35, in pool play to advance to the semifinals where they faced Laguna Hills Hardwood and won, 39-24.
In the final, they faced an FBC Elite team, who had not allowed more than 19 points in the tournament. The Lightning played strong throughout and made it a tough game for FBC before eventually losing to the much taller squad.
The Lightning were led by the stellar play of Ryan Kleinman (18 points, six rebounds) and Keisean South (12 points, 12 rebounds) who banged with the much bigger FBC Elite team.
Max Kline (9.5 points per game, 2.5 steals per game), Logan Miller (4.5 ppg, 4.7 assists per game), Augie Miller (6.0 ppg, 8.9 rebounds per game), Jason Askins (9.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg) all played great throughout the tournament, while Ben Bockrath, Austin Ridge, Caleb O'Neil and Kevin Fults played tremendous defense.
The Lightning are coached by Scott Stucki.
— Reader submission