The Excel State Championships is the flagship event for the tournament series. Its hard to believe that this past weekend would be the 5th installment of this great event. With the popularity of the event it is no surprise that the event broke attendance records. With teams from all over Texas coming to have a chance to compete for Excel’s ultimate crown, the talent and competition was threw the roof.
Championship Sunday started with the Red 3rd Grade boys division which would pit the San Antonio Grizzlies and the Alamo City Hoops Squad. The Grizzlies won this division at the 2016 Regionals in San Antonio and defeated the Hoop Squad in the semifinals in doing so. From the beginning it was very clear that the Hoop Squad was out for revenge for their Regionals defeat. Led by Izziek Chandler’s 16 points the Alamo Hoop Squad jumped out to an early lead. In the second half the Grizzlies led by Enrique Torrez’s 14 points would make an early run but the Alamo Hoop Squad would respond to every basket. When the dust settled the Alamo Hoop Squad would take home the Excel State Championship. Later in the day the Alamo Hoop Squad 2nd Grade boys would come up short in their championship. Very successful weekend for the boys in black,
Laredo Blackout’s talented organization brought their talents to the Alamo City for the State Championships. Both their 2nd grade and 4th Grade girls teams would reach the championships in their divisions. The girls were up first in their Pink division championship game against the Regional Champions Somerset Hoopstars. The Hoopstars superstar point guard Bella Rodriguez had her typical performance with 15 points and 7 assists but the ladies of Laredo Blackout were ready for this stage. With the game close the entire game, the Blackout tandem of Cristan Rodriguez (16 points) and Valentina Torres (11 points) proved to be the difference at the end as the Blackout girls would take the crown back to Laredo. The second grade boys would later capture the Crimson Championship.
In the Blue 5th Grade boys division San Antonio Hardwork would have their hands full with Texas Ignite. Ignite boasts a very talented back court in Roman Chase and Charlie Georgelos and San Antonio H.S. coaching legend Tommy Hines running the show but Hardwork is well…….Hardwork. Hardwork has plenty of star power in Jaylen Williams, L.J. Bowens, and Jaylen Crooker. Williams gets to play for dad and coach of this collection of talent Jarvis Williams who has been in his share of classic battles. The game would start as everybody expected as an all out battle. Jaylen Williams (12 points, 4 assists) would battle all game with TX Ignite’s back court Georgelos (17 points) and Chase (14 points) but the difference in the game was big man L.J. Bowen’s 22 points and 8 rebounds. At the end Hardwork would prove they were Excel’s best in State.
The Lilac 6th Grade girls division championship came down to the Laredo All Stars and the CenTX Lady Soldiers of Killeen. With the game close at first the Laredo All Stars deep roster proved to be a challenge for the Soldiers. Evelyn Lorenzo (15 points) and Taylor Lewis (12 points of the Soldiers made it a great championship but the star of the game was Laredo All Stars Angelina Lopez (19 points). Lopez’s supporting cast of Leslie Lugo (11 points), Amber Castillo (10 points), and Dezerae De La Garza (10 points) were also huge in the championship victory.
The Green 4th Grade boys division would be a battle between the ATX Force and Boerne Wolverines. The Force led by Jaxson Vandegarde (16 points) and Jordan Sullivan (9 points) would be hand full for the Wolverines led by budding superstar Lance Beeghley (20 points). ATX Force which has plenty of Excel hardware controlled the game from the beginning and answered every Wolverine run with their own. At the end it was the Austin boys taking the honor of Excel State’s best back up north.
The Bronze 7th Grade boys championship game was an epic battle between the Urban Kings of Houston and the Excel Regional Champions San Antonio All Stars. Both of these teams had to battle threw a very talented 16 team division to reach the championship. The Urban Kings came in with a very athletic and talented group led by Jordan Whitley (21 points) and Tylek Simmon (16 points). The All Stars came in with a group that plays like a unit. Most of the core of this groups has been together since 2nd grade and it shows on the court. Angelo Samudio (19 points) along with Xavier Rodriguez (12 points) and Orion Campa (10 points) would counter the star tandem of Whitley and Simmon. With the game being an all out war on both ends the game would remain close to the very end. A couple of late baskets by Urban Kings Whitley pulled the boys from Houston close but when it mattered the All Stars pulled away and would keep the State Championship in San Antonio.
The Orange 6th Grade boys championship division was a treat for all in attendance at Our Lady of the Lake University Sunday. What started as a 20 team division only left two arch rivals in the San Antonio Fire and San Antonio Kings. The Fire is ranked nationally in the 5th grade division and were playing up in the 6th grade division. The Kings have had their share of success with the Excel tournament series. The Kings would jump out to an early double digit lead led by Jalen Smith (24 points), Aaron Terrazas (16 points), and Jad Reda (14 points). With the game getting out of reach Fire coach Art Gonzalez was challenged with a way to wake his players up and make a run. Well he figured it out in the second half as the Fire led by Gerry Martinez (22 points) and Jayven Cofer (12 of his 14 points in 2nd half) made a 22-3 run to cut the lead to one point. Looking a little snake bit Kings coach Elray Garcia called a timeout and settled his troops down. This timeout would prove to be effective in stopping the run and allowing the Kings to pull out the close championship victory at the end.
The Purple 8th Grade girls division would come down to a battle between national powerhouse and ranked San Antonio Lady Outlaws fresh off a championship finish at the Nola Super 60 and a runner up finish in the West Coast Showcase in Las Angeles and the Dallas Team Takeover. This battle would prove to be a spectacular showcase of talent. From the beginning Team Takeover would be a force led by Kya Gastineau (17 points) and Kyra Kelley (9 points). The Lady Outlaws led by Alissa Martinez (22 points) and Avalon Martinez (21 points) would help keep it close. Back and forth the game went with big baskets made on both sides. When the dust would settle we would witness a very rare defeat for the Lady Outlaws and Team Takeover taking the State’s crown home to Dallas. The Team Takeover organization would take also win the Lavender High School girls championship and get 2nd place in the Platinum High School boys division.
The Silver 8th grade boys division was the biggest division of the weekend with 30 teams. Only the Brownsville Outlaws and San Antonio Hoops Elite would survive. The Outlaws led by twin back court Josh Martinez (24 points) and John Martinez (14 points) would run into a war tested team in the San Antonio Hoops Elite led by Kyle Schafer (16 points), Andrew Lazenhat (11 points), and Ty Fontenot (10 points). Close in the first half, the second half was a different story as Hoops Elite’s 16-2 run would push them to a big lead and victory.
OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS: CRIMSON 1ST/2ND GRADE BOYS CHAMPIONS Laredo Blackout/RUNNER-UPS Alamo Hoop Squad, AMBER 9TH GRADE BOYS CHAMPIONS( Hardwork 2021/RUNNER-UPS San Antonio Flight, GOLD JV BOYS CHAMPIONS San Antonio Hardwork 2119/RUNNER-UPS Brownsville Outlaws, PLATINUM VARSITY BOYS CHAMPIONS San Antonio Outlaws/RUNNER-UPS Dallas Team Takeover, PEARL 7TH GRADE GIRLS CHAMPIONS San Antonio Lightning/RUNNER-UPS PHA Thunder, ROSE 9TH GRADE GIRLS CHAMPIONS San Antonio Hoops Elite/RUNNER-UPS SA Unite Skills Academy, LAVENDER VARSITY GIRLS CHAMPIONS Dallas Team Takeover/RUNNER-UPS Laredo United South.
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