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Chadron girls

(Front row, from left) Maci Rutledge, Jaleigh McCartney, Ashlyn Morrison, (back row, from left) Teverra Sayaloune, Demi Ferguson, Kaylee Sprock, Kenli Boeselager.

Chadron basketball’s sixth-grade girls traveled earlier this month to the Born 2 Hoop Bash tournament in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and came home with second-place honors.

“I was happy,” says Dave McCartney, a coach for the girls’ team, regarding how the girls fared at the tournament. “I thought the girls played well.”

The team won three games and lost two along the way to its second-place finish.

“We played two close games, we won one by one-point, and one by two points, and our third game we won by close to 30,” McCartney says.

The tournament, organized by Hoop Dreams Nation, was the girls’ first of two they’ll play this summer, and the first time the Chadron team has attended, though McCartney has previous experience with them as his eldest daughter played in the tournament as part of a Gering summer team when she was in high school.

McCartney says he was confident his Chadron team could compete at the tournament. “There was some talent above us, some teams right with us, and even some below,” he says.

In actual play, the Chadron team finished the tournament in third place, a result McCartney was equally happy with, but a phone call while on the bus revealed that a team which had gone undefeated had been disqualified due to a rules infraction, and was forced to forfeit all of its games, bumping each other team up one place.

Originally the group had planned to travel to a tournament in Greeley, Colorado, but when that event was cancelled due to a lack of participation the Born 2 Hoop Bash in Colorado Springs was an easy alternative.

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Similarly, the girls’ next tournament, this coming weekend, also in Colorado Springs, came about as a result of their previously scheduled Thornton, Colorado visit being cancelled.

Despite the team’s success, McCartney comments that he’s undecided on whether to return to the tournament next summer, adding that he’ll ultimately let the parents of the players decide.

Although the coach points out that the level of competition, as a whole, at the Colorado tournaments isn’t so dissimilar to what the Chadron girls face locally, there are players in attendance with skill sets much higher than typical, and the experience can be a great learning tool for his players.

“There are girls that are a little bit taller, a little bit faster, that can handle the ball and do some things that the Chadron girls wouldn’t typically get to see on the teams we play around here,” McCartney says.

“Win or lose – I told the girls before we began, ‘it doesn’t matter if we lose all five, I’m not going to think any less of you. We’re playing here for the summer because you want to get better at basketball, and this is a great place to learn.”

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