TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Tue, Sept. 17

Cottonwood youth basketball league crowns champions

Courtesy Photo.
The Knicks team.

Courtesy Photo. The Knicks team.

Two weeks without practice while everyone else was hard at work didn't seem to deter the Celtics of the Mighty Mites division in Cottonwood Parks and Recreation's youth basketball league. Two weeks was how long the Celtics were without a coach. With a record ten teams in the division there were far more players than coaches, that is until Rodney Vincent stepped up to the plate and led the Celtics to an undefeated season. Every Saturday the Celtics were able to breeze by the competition with only one team able to come within ten points.

The rest of the league was highly competitive with five other teams finishing the season above a .500 winning percentage. Included in this group were the Hawks, Heat, Raptors, Blazers, and the Warriors. For seven Saturdays these ten teams battled it out at Cottonwood Elementary School with tremendous results. Great Volunteer Coaches, superb officiating from two of Mingus High School's finest Justin Schultz and Ty Meachum, along with the scorekeeping of Ryan Roland and Danny Madison made for another great season for these 7-9 year old kids. Thank you Mighty Mites coaches Ernie Carillo, Randy Cramer, Denise Dedrick, Dave Maxson, Lee Paris, Robb Shore, Jim Sinek, Phil Tanner, Tandy Taylor, and Rodney Vincent.

Power Division I is where the most competitive division could be found. The Knicks and the Lakers battled it out for first place, both finishing the year with an impressive record of 6-2. The two teams split their two games against one another but the Knicks took the title through a point differential in their two meetings. The Suns were another team to recon with in the league finishing 5-3, with two of their losses to the Knicks and one to the Lakers. Thank you PD I coaches Dennis Blonairz, Tim McKeever, Tommy Mestas, Guy Pope, and Herb Tiffany.

Power Division II was dominated not by just one team, but by one player. The Wildcat's Carlos Abrigo led his team to a 5-1 regular season record and a single elimination tournament title. With a lot of hard work and a good head on his shoulders this kid could be a real impact for Mingus in the years to come. The Huskies were the only team able to beat the Wildcats and finished second in both the regular season and the tournament. The division was also highlighted by two first year coaches, Troy Hoke of the Sun Devils and Michael "Crash" Greer of the Bruins were both major additions to the league and made tremendous contributions. Also, thank to youth basketball coaching veterans Robert Gonzales, Alton Lightfoot and Jim Wixom.

The girls 10-14 year old division kicked off the season by spending their first two Saturdays with Mingus head girl's basketball coach Will Rider and some of his players. These were two incredible sessions teaching the girls the fundamentals of the game while having some fun. The work showed during the season with the three teams, the Liberty, Mercury, and the Reign all playing at a very high level. The Liberty were able to play at the highest level and won the league with a record of 4-2, barely squeaking out the title over the 4-2 Reign, with the final decision coming over head to head competition. Thank you Girls League coaches Jayne Lee, Gary Romines, and Kristie Tuell.

A big thanks from the Parks and Recreation Department goes out to all of our volunteer coaches, Tim Hay and Frank Soqui for officiating, and Trevor and Steven Faust for keeping score, without these people the league would not be possible. Thanks to all of the players and parents for being involved and Parks and Recreation hopes to see all of you again next season.

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