Youth Scene: Tar Heels win national title

The Newport-Mesa Tar Heels boys' fifth-grade team won the 2012 All-Net national championship last weekend in Brea capping off a stellar season for the team.

The Tar Heels went 26-1 and won the All-Net league championship, All-Net Super Sectionals championship and All-Net national championship with a strong group of boys from the Newport-Mesa area.

In pool play, the Tar Heels beat a solid team in the Vallejo Hustlers, 54-33, a familiar foe Placentia P-Town, 46-43, and Redwood, 57-29, to finish first in the pool.

In the semifinals, the Tar Heels faced a strong Fullerton Cougars team and prevailed in a battle, 44-41, setting up the championship game against Placentia P-Town.

The Tar Heels started hot with Jake Hamilton scoring five quick points and Nico Dasca stealing two passes for scoring opportunities to DJ Rodman and the Tar Heels led, 11-4, after the first quarter.

Dasca continued the scoring in the second period hitting a three-pointer and a layup to put the team up five, but Placentia rallied back and trailed by only three points at halftime.

Hamilton began the third period with a three-pointer and Johnny King added two quick baskets to extend the lead, while Luke Chelf added three rebounds and a steal in the quarter.

Adam Flood blocked two shots and added two rebounds in the third as well. The fourth period was a battle with Sam Barela and Mason Melcer playing solid defense while each grabbing key rebounds, but Placentia cut into the lead to make it a game.

Ethan Barnes grabbed three rebounds in the final minutes and was fouled twice hitting some clutch free throws down the stretch. Matt Olson also grabbed two rebounds and hit one of only two baskets made by the Tar Heels in the final period, but it was enough to win the game, 39-33.

The Tar Heels averaged 48 points per game in the national tourney, while holding opponents to 35 points per game, which was the best in the tournament.

Coach Scott Stucki spoke highly of his team's play over the weekend, calling it "an overall excellent team effort. I am so very proud of all the boys for the hard work they put in this season."

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Newport-Mesa All-Star team best in the West

The Newport-Mesa National Junior Basketball All-Star boys' fourth-grade gold team captured the West Region National Tournament championship this past Sunday.

The team, known as the Newport Crush, did just that to every opponent they faced, never losing a game in their six-week long tournament run.

The Newport Crush team first advanced by recording double-digit wins over local teams in the Orange Country sectional tournament. The following weekend brought the same result as they faced teams from greater Los Angeles in the Southern California Area Tournament.

The team's hard work continued to pay off two weeks later as it completed the All-Star season with victories in the national tournament over Scripps Ranch, Los Gatos, Bakersfield and Las Vegas.

In the final, the team's high powered offense still could not be stopped. The Newport Crush defeated La Mirada, 57-44, in the championship game.

"Nobody could stop our fast break," Coach Rob Rettig said after going 5-0 in the final tournament. "When you take good athletes and teach them the value of passing the ball, we found ourselves far ahead of the competition."

"It was a fitting finish to an All-Star season which was dedicated to David Smith," said Coach Todd Bashore, in reference to one of the player's father, who passed away just as the season was starting.

The team consisted of Nic Ayala, Luke Bashore, Danny Hatch, Luke Hatfield, John Humphreys, Clay Liolios, Jack McKenna, Cade Overfelt, Jack Rettig and Troy Smith.

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Sixth-graders take title

The Newport-Mesa NJB boys' sixth-grade All-Star team won the 2012 NJB National Championship tournament title.

The tournament venues consisted of Cypress College, La Mirada and La Serna High Schools, March 30 through April 1.

Newport-Mesa all-stars consisted of Dan Bailey, Ryan Binford, Timmy French, Levi Fernandez, Brandon Hicks, Jacob Humbert, Clyde Moore, Jack Pitchess, Ben Swanson and Zackeriah Swies.

Newport-Mesa's only loss was it' opening game against (and the eventual runner-up) Henderson-Nevada.

Henderson edged Newport Mesa, 47-44 in their first meeting. Newport-Mesa made only two of 11 free throws, and with power forward Hicks less than full strength with a flu bug it was a tough way to open the tournament. But the all-star group only became more determined after the opening loss, which motivated the young group of sixth-graders to pick up their attitude, increase their effort and grab the momentum, and take control of their own destiny; which they did.

Under the direction of Coach Ray French, and assistants Tony Swies and Peter Pitchess, NM won the remainder of its games decisively, with the average margin of victory being 11 points; including a 48-35 victory over San Jose Evergreen Enforcers, a 60-49 victory over Durango Hills and defeating the top-seeded Victorville Hoyas in the semifinal, 60-45.

Setting up a hungry redemption minded Newport-Mesa all-star group in the championship game and a rematch against Henderson. Newport-Mesa got off to a much better start than the first meeting,

Missed very few free throws and led the entire contest, the largest margin by as much as 20 points.

Newport-Mesa's success came with efforts of solid defense and rebounding form from Moore and Timmy French, who both converted their tenacious rebounding efforts to put-back baskets.

The offensive attack was well balanced with solid guard play from Humbert, Jack Pitchess, Swanson, Bailey and Binford.

Defense often ignited an explosive fast-break game, led by unstoppable point guard by Fernandez.

Other pivotal contributions, came in the contest from solid post play from Hicks, who blocked shots and made several critical baskets inside the paint, and Zack Swies whose three-point baskets which came in flurries deflated any hope for Henderson.

Newport-Mesa stayed on track and won the championship game, 71-62.

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Fifth-graders get second

The Newport-Mesa NJB fifth-grade boys' All-Stars rocked the All-Star season and made it to the championship game in Las Vegas March 25.

The Newport-Mesa All-Stars came in as the top seed in the OC Region and were invited to the regional tournament. As a team it had a 9-1 All-Star season taking second place losing only in the championship game to a Las Vegas team, Centennial Hills.

The team featured: Max Morris, Warren Loth, Jarrett Thompson, Will Harvey, Bennett Ward, Jake Bays, Max Goffman, Tarik Aliyazicioglu, Jett Bonner and James McConnaughy.

The team was coached by Jerrell Bays, Jeff Goffman and Trey Bonner.

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Sixth-graders finish third

The Newport-Mesa sixth-grade girls All-Stars went 3-2 and earned third place in the NJB national tournament played in Irvine and Fullerton.

The team's only losses were to eventual national champion Vallejo and runner-up Hayward. The girls beat Foothill, 24-20, in the third-place game and finished 7-2 overall including sectionals.

The highlight of the tournament was a dramatic come-from-behind win over Flagstaff on Saturday night when the team overcame multiple in-game injuries and a double-digit second-half deficit to emerge victorious.

The team received important contributions from all 10 players. They gelled together quickly despite not a lot of practice time, and always played with maximum effort.

The team featured: Miranda Cyr, Annie O'Connor, Danielle Manderson, Delani Guyot, Jordan Golden Gwen Hart, Nataly Shayan-Smith, Tia Grippo, Chloe Harbilas and Erica Rogers.

Dave Golden and Eddie Golden coached the team.

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