Championship games at Carl Russell full of intrigue

Matt Joines, player in blue and tournament MVP, goes up for a runner during the 10-12 age group championship game.

Championship games at Carl Russell full of intrigue
March 23
06:25 2017

Submitted photo



The pinnacle of every basketball season is the championship game.  For the 5-9 and 10-12 age groups at the Carl H. Russell Sr. Community Center, last Thursday marked the conclusion to a very competitive winter league.

In the 5-9 championship game, the Champs faced off against the Warriors.  After a closely contested game, the Warriors made a run late in the second half to secure the win against the Champs.  Two late three-pointers by tournament MVP Gabriel Massey was the momentum the Warriors needed down the stretch to earn the victory.

“It was good to win, especially after a long season, but we managed to gel as a team and win the ball game,” said Warrior head coach, Ron Couthen.  “The motto I’ve been going by is who wants it more, and my team would say ‘we do,’ so I told them go get it.  They went out and played their best, and we came away with the victory.”

“I was impressed with tournament MVP Gabriel Massey because he was playing with the older group but not getting much playing time but when he came here, I just wanted to build his confidence, which is what happened.  Chace Orie came to me late but when he came in, he exploded and didn’t miss a beat.”

Following that game was the face off between the Warriors and the Cavaliers in the 10-12 championship game.  After falling behind at the half by the score of 19-3, the Warriors looked to be in desperate trouble against the Cavs.  A different Warriors team came out onto the court after halftime with the lead.

With seconds left on the clock, a Cavs player stepped to the line, gaining two free throws.  He made one of two sending the game into overtime.  The Warriors immediately took control during the extra frame and won the game 37-32.  The tournament MVP was Warriors player Matt Joines.  The Warriors were unlikely champs as they were the lowest seed entering the playoffs.

“I’m very happy we won because we weren’t even supposed to be here,” said Warriors head coach Britton Loyd. “When we went down early it was rough and I thought it was over to tell you the truth.  I knew if I could get my subs right we could win the thing.  I told them defense wins games and they listened.”

MVP Joines added, “I’m very happy and it was an extreme honor to win MVP and I just had a lot of fun.  I was so happy because we started the year 0-5 and I just knew we had to come back and not lose every game.  We were down on Tuesday and came back so we knew we had to do it again.”

Carl Russell director Ben Piggott said he really enjoyed the games and wanted to give a special thanks to The Chronicle for “doing an outstanding job of getting the information out to the community for people to come and watch these kids play.”

“I have to be humble and thank my staff for everything that they have done,” Piggott continued.  “I’m happy for the kids because they had the chance for people to come out and see them play.  I am happy to see these kids have the chance to have trophies in their hands show good sportsmanship.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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