Memorial Day Weekend has always been a popular start for club basketball. For the Excel Tournament Series, the Keep it Weird Classic in Austin has been the big event. Teams from all over Texas converged on the Capital City for a very talented and competitive weekend of basketball.
In the opening championship game of Sunday, the Fredericksburg Kings would face the ATX Youth Academy Knights in the Orange 6th Grade Championship. The Knights all weekend had shown great skill from their guards along with sharp shooting. They also were the only team with a big that look that Kings in the eye. Unfortunately the Knights big man would not play in Sunday’s championship due to a Saturday night ankle sprain. Without the size the Frederickburg Kings bigs were able to control the boards and clog the middle making it tough for the knights to score. The overall size of the big team from a small town outside of San Antonio proved to be dominate this weekend as they took the Excel Cup back home.
In the Bronze 7th Grade boys division Lion Life of San Antonio would face the Crossroad Kings of Victoria. With skilled players at every position, the Lion Kings came on in constant waves in the championship game. The very talented did everything they could to contain the very talented Lion Life team. When they defended the lane, Lion Life had a barrage of three point bombs. When they crowded the arc, the Lion Kings drove the lane and finished with great consistency. Both groups had very successful weekends but Lion Life proved to be too much to handle Sunday in the championship.
The Green 4th Grade Championship was one of the more anticipated championships of Sunday. The near unbeatable Manor Falcons would face a very strong Beaumont Storm team. Both the Falcons and Storm have very strong guard play so you can imagine the track meet type of game that would ensue. Putting up big number the lead changed numerous times but just when you thought one of the teams would pull away the other would answer. Ultimately the bigs of the Storm would be the determining factor making it tough for Manor’s talented guards to finish at the rim. Look for these teams to battle many more times this summer.
The Lilac 5th/6th Grade girls brought one of the best teams in Texas with Laredo Team Fearless going against an unknown Austin organization in the Lady Magic. The start of the game looked like Team Fearless would continue their dominance but the Austin Lady Magic had some different plans. Being very well coached the Lady Magic were not bothered by the smothering defense of the ladies from Laredo. Even though Team Fearless would make a late run the Lady Magic would hold steady and win the championship.
The Silver 8th Grade Division would be the largest division of the weekend starting with 15 teams but only two would survive. The CenTX Soldiers and the Liberty Hill Swoosh come out of the dust of a very talented pool of teams. The Swoosh has the advantage of chemistry that has been built from years of playing together. But along with this amazing team chemistry comes stellar outside shooting and passing. CenTX Soldiers would challenge this with a very aggressive press and an attack offense. While the match up in the first half lived up to the hype, the second half proved to be the Soldiers. With probably the most aggressive half of Sunday’s championship game, the CTX Soldiers jumped out to a big lead and never looked back.
The Championship finale of Sunday was the Platinum varsity boys division which pitted Sanni Hoops of Houston against the Next Level Raiders of San Antonio. Both rosters were full of top notch High School talent and this would be a rematch of Saturday nights epic Pool play battle in which Sanni Hoops won. The beginning of the rematch would be all Raiders as they jumped out to as big of a lead as twenty points. Sanni Hoops would not go out like that. In the second half the guys from Houston would slowly chip away at the big lead of Next Level and before anybody could blink Sanni Hoops pulled within single digits. By the last minute of the game it was down to one possession. Sanni Hoops would tie the game with three seconds to go and as the Raiders in bounded the ball Sanni stayed in their press that had been so successful but were called for a foul putting the Raiders on the line with 1.5 seconds to go. After missing the front end, the Raiders would make the second and survive with the championship. What a conclusion to a great weekend of basketball.
OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS: RED 2ND/3RD GRADE BOYS DIVISION CHAMPIONS San Antonio Grizzlies/RUNNER-UPS Austin CTP, BLUE 5TH GRADE BOYS DIVISION CHAMPIONS ATX Youth Academy Knights Weyard/RUNNER-UPS San Antonio Cobras, AMBER 9TH GRADE BOYS CHAMPIONS Houston Klutch City Ballers/RUNNER-UPS Westlake Hoops, GOLD JV BOYS DIVISION CHAMPIONS San Antonio Flight, RUNNER-UPS Port Arthur Warriors, PURPLE 7TH/8TH GRADE GIRLS CHAMPIONS Austin Lady Magic/RUNNER-UPS ATX Youth Academy Knights, LAVENDER HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS CHAMPIONS Liberty Hill Swoosh/RUNNER-UPS Austin Lady Magic.
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