On Saturday, December 7, five basketball teams composed of young women from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and other tribes competed in the 2013 Salt River Jingle Jam Round Robin Tournament at the Salt River Gym. The first tip-off was at 9 a.m., with AZ Sting pitted against the Salt River Renegades. The Renegades came up short, losing 35-12.
“The competition has been pretty good. The players on AZ Sting were taller than our girls, and it was a struggle to handle their size,” said Robert Ramirez, coach of the Renegades, after losing the first game in the tournament.
The Renegades went on to play N8V Thunder, a fellow Community-member team with girls from Salt River and other Arizona tribes. The Renegades beat N8V Thunder by 5 points in this game, with a final score of 19-14.
“It was weird playing against my sister, although it wasn’t the first time. I am still trying to get used to playing against her,” said Renegades player Lynnyice Carlisle, whose sister Julianne Carlisle played for N8V Thunder.
The teams Phoenix Force and Copa Crew fought hard against the other three teams; unfortunately, they finished as the bottom two in the tournament and did not place. Phoenix Force is a club team out of Phoenix, and this was their first year playing in the Jingle Jam tournament.
“I am really proud of the way they have been playing and the effort they put forth. We like to stay strong and stay smiling,” said coach Ruben Elias of Phoenix Force. “The competition has been great. It’s everything the girls need to go through to get ready for their school ball and beyond.”
AZ Sting took first place in the tournament. The team, which is composed of East Valley girls and one Salt River Community member, dominated the tournament and finished undefeated.
“I thought our girls did very well. They have tendency of going up and down, although did I need a little more consistency from them,” said AZ Sting coach Patrick Mangosing. “This is the first tournament that [these girls] have [competed in] here as AZ Sting; they have [played in] tournaments here in the past, but on other teams. The Community is always great to us, [welcoming us with] open arms and very friendly.”
The SR Renegades ended the tournament in second place, and N8V Thunder took third.
“The tournament was fun,” said N8V Thunder player Keeli Kaye. “The best play we [executed] in the tournament was the Schimmel play, where we set up the box and I run between the inbound and low post and get open and try to score the ball.”