Newport-Mesa team ends strong

Newport-Mesa's talented team of eighth graders represented themselves and the district very well during this year's National Junior Basketball All-Star tournaments, which included a runner-up finish in the recent national tournament.

The team went 8-2 through three tournaments. The final weekend during the national tournament proved to be memorable.

The team of 10 that made it through the first couple of rounds with a 4-1 record, qualified for nationals.

In the national tournament, the Newport-Mesa All-Stars finished second even though they played the final day with five players and the first day with eight players.

For the April 9 games, vacation week claimed two players. Yet with eight players the team still cruised to two wins on April 9 - a 46-point win and a 10-point win. Contributions on both ends of the floor were well balanced.

The Newport-Mesa team had five players for the games on April 10 as two more players went on triips and another player was ill.

Missing players Ryan Kleinman, Beau Roth, Parker Chase, Grady Kimme and David Karamardian, the "Iron 5" consisting of Ricky Luehrs, Clayton Johnston, Nick Whitelaw, Patrick Halle, and Sam Silverman played through penalty points all day.

It is no hyperbole to say that everyone scored, rebounded, and defended - and did not foul out. Playing with no safety net, the team overcame an eight-point penalty in the first game to win by 10 and win its bracket outright with a 3-0 record.

Moving to the "Final Four", Newport played a tough team from the Bay Area and spotted them four player participation points. Newport-Mesa won that game by 10 points.

The win put Newport in the final. In the day's third game, the tired but proud Iron 5 spotted the opposition four points and ended up losing a very close game, 66-63.

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