Local 10U team third in nationals

CNJ staff

The Clovis New Breed 10-and-under boys basketball team won four of six games over the weekend to place third in the Inland Empire AAU West Coast national boys basketball tournament, played at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nev.

New Breed, coached by David Dawson, went 2-1 in pool play on Thursday and Friday, then came back to beat Los Angeles-based Tar Heel Nation 39-29 for third place in bracket play on Sunday. That win avenged a loss in pool play.

New Breed lost to Tar Heel Nation 42-39 in its first pool game, then beat the Oregon-based Double Dribble Sixers 40-13 and Renegade Hoops of Sacramento 49-36 to finish second in the pool.

On Saturday, the Clovis team defeated the Washington Warriors of Seattle 42-39 in the quarterfinals of bracket play before losing to Salt Lake Metro of Salt Lake City 70-28 in the semifinals.

Dawson said three regulars were unable to play in the semifinals — David Blackmon with a calf bruise and his son, John Dawson, and Willie McCray III due to colds — but they were back in action for Sunday’s finale, which the coach called the highlight of the tournament for his squad.

“We left on a really good note,” David Dawson said. “(Tar Heel Nation was) a really good team. We probably had the youngest team there.”

He said two players, McCray and Peyton Lott, are 9-year-olds while another, John Ainsworth Jr., is 8 years old.

“We knew we were going to be facing bigger guys than in our usual age bracket,” David Dawson said. “In this area, we’ve blown out most of the 9-10-year-old teams, but we knew that wouldn’t be the case (at Reno).

“The kids battled. I felt if we played ball we could finish in the top three out there.”