With school back in session, the Recreation Department of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community held the annual “Back 2 da School Yard” youth co-ed basketball tournament August 15-17 at the Pi-Copa and Lehi gyms. Twenty teams participated in the tournament, which was divided into two divisions: an eight- to 12-year-old division and a 13- to 15-year-old division.
For the eight- to 12-year-olds, the San Carlos Mustangs played against the AZ Outlaws for the championship. The Outlaws at first fell behind the Mustangs, but both teams never gave up as they stayed within 1 point of each other at times.
Finally, with only seconds left to get ahead, the Outlaws scored and the buzzer rang, with the final score at 39-40. Valarie Key, coach of the Mustangs, consoled her team after the disappointing 1-point loss.
“We all did very well. We almost won the game, [missing] by 1 point. Good job!” said Key to hear runner-up team.
Next, the championship in the teen division had Ak-Chin playing against the Ballerz. The Ballerz played all day, making their way from the loser bracket to the championship tournament. During the final game, Ak-Chin stayed comfortably ahead of the Ballerz and eventually took the tournament with a score of 22-37.
Back 2 da School Yard Basketball Tournament Results
Division: 8-12 Years
Champions: AZ Outlaws
Runners-up: San Carlos Mustangs
Third Place: Ballers Select
Division: 13-15 Years
Third Place: Gila River