AAU basketball teams end successful season | CraigDailyPress.com

AAU basketball teams end successful season

Elwood Shelton

The girls AAU basketball season came to a close last weekend with an end-of-the year tournament in Laramie, Wyo. All four Craig squads made the trip, but it was the sixth-grade team that walked away with the championship trophy.

The sixth-grade girls played five games in their quest for first place, facing the Casper Quest twice in the finals to seal the championship.

This makes the fourth, top-three finish for the girls.

Coach Chris Maneotis said that his girls had a successful season, with the greatest improvements being their grasp of the fundamentals.

The fifth-grade team also traveled to Laramie, pulling one win out of three games. The team couldn’t be classified as normal this year. The girls faced mostly older teams during the season, which left them with a 3-6 record. The season was positive for the girls, giving them the chance to participate in a competitive sport at a young age.

“We put together a good season, the most important part of it was the game experience the girls gained together,” said fifth-grade AAU coach Nick Charchalis. “We were able to build the girls’ fundamentals this year, especially against the level of competition we played.”

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Coach Dennis Sanchez led the seventh-grade girls to a forth-place finish in Laramie, one of the lowest showings the girls had this season. They finished first, second, and third in the other three tournaments they played.

The seventh-grade girls showed outstanding speed at the guard and wing positions, Sanchez said, but the team is strong in all positions. This was the third year the girls have played together as a team, and they have improved with each year, he said.

The eighth-grade girls put together a solid 8-6 season this year. In Laramie, they were only able to walk away with one win.

Coach Mike LeWarne said the girls worked hard all year and showed marked improvements over the season.

“The girls played a tough year of basketball this year. The most impressive thing is the level of dedication that some of these girls show for the sport at such a young age,” LeWarne said.

The AAU season lasts from the first week of March to the beginning of April. The girls travel to mainly Wyoming and Colorado towns to compete.

Unlike many of the teams they faced, the Craig girls teams do not require try-outs anyone is allowed to participate.

“The girls are lucky that they have such a program. There many girls in bigger cities that would never get the exposure the AAU programs like Craig does,” LeWarne said.

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