The SR Warriors basketball team made it to the silver bracket Sweet 16 round of this year’s NABI tournament, making it the best appearance since competing at NABI. The Warriors, featuring mostly SRPMIC members, fell to Valley Crue with a final score of 52-49.
The road wasn’t easy for the Warriors. Starting the tournament off with a record of 0-2, the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t looking very bright. But in their third game they found their groove and turned it around, winning their first game against the Jedi Knights.
“The nerves were gone,” said head coach Taylor “Trey” Track after the game against the Knights, “and they started to feel more confident. One of our players [possibly] wasn’t going to make it [to the tournament], and that caused a huge impact on the other players. But he’s here now, and they’re feeling confident, making them play better and come together today.”
In their first bracket game against the Tohono O’odham Storm, the Warriors looked good and matched up well. But they started to fall behind, missing opportunities to score. But they weren’t out of it yet. After some minor adjustments, the Warriors came back from an 11-point disadvantage and took the lead with a little more than 12 minutes left in the second half. Frustration grew for the Storm, and although they continued to put baskets in, it wasn’t enough and they ran out of steam, unable to find the answer to the Warriors’ defense.
In their final game, against the Crue, the Warriors were nothing less than competitive. Down by 7 points with 1:38 left in the game, the Warriors started to come back, going on a 4-0 run (47-40). With less than a minute left in the game, the only hope was to foul the other players to stop the clock; this effort gained them another 9 points on the board, but it wasn’t enough. Crue players made their foul shots and the Warriors ran out of time. The final score was 52-49.
“It was a tough loss, but the team play was a lot better than last year. This is my second year at NABI,” said Community member Stanford Vasquez. “We weren’t ready for today’s game, it seemed like. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it to the game because of a ride, so that makes a difference in your performance.”
Vasquez said NABI is a good experience because players compete against other Native talent from all over the country and they have the opportunity to talk to the other players and make friends from the other teams.