TH Hoops fifth-graders win All-Net national championship

The TH Hoops fifth-grade basketball team comprised of players from Newport Beach became All-Net national champions for its division this past weekend. The team went undefeated in five games played and took home the hardware in the national championship game played at Cypress College.

TH Hoops beat the Tustin Thunder for the championship, 45-37. Trailing by six at the end of the first quarter, the team rallied.

Led by Chase Hall, who had 17 points while playing suffocating defense, TH Hoops battled back from its first-quarter deficit. Collin Abe was flawless at point guard with perfect passes and scrappy defense. Cole McCunniff, who was playing injured, had a key three-pointer at a critical time of the game to keep the score close. Austin Chandler was huge in the paint and came up with two big blocks in the final minutes. Kieran Sidebotham was a sharpshooter with back-to-back three-pointers that gave TH Hoops the lead. That was followed by Timmy Bahadoor, who played well with timely drives to the basket and clutch free throws to push the lead out to five points. Throughout the game, Caleb Cowles shut down the Heat by outrebounding them and playing great in-the-paint defense. Alee Assadian was solid during his minutes played.

After winning the sectionals tournament two weeks ago, going undefeated with four straight wins, TH Hoops earned a qualifying spot in a All-Net national tournament.

The first day of the tournament started with a commanding victory over the Anaheim Hills Comanches, 43-26.

The second game was played against the undefeated Willow Glen Nothing But Net out of San Jose. TH Hoops handed Willow Glen its first loss of the year by winning, 58-47.

TH Hoops' third game of the day was played against the Hanford Crush. TH Hoops got another victory in pool play, 37-32.

The three pool-play wins set TH Hoops up for the semifinal game the following day against the Ventura Heat. Coasting through the tournament, the Ventura Heat took a 14-point lead on TH Hoops, 21-7, after the first quarter.

TH Hoops got back into the game with its tenacious defense and shut down Ventura's potent offense. TH Hoops then outscored the Heat, 39-20, in the next three quarters and won, 46-41.

"This was a combination of everything coming together," Coach Troy Hall said. "The boys trusted their plan and executed it to perfection."

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