Under the tutelage of sixth-grade teacher Ross Carpenter, the Rim Country Middle School seventh-grade boys basketball team played its way to the championship of the season-ending White Mountain League tournament.
In winning the crown, the Mavericks (9-4 overall, 8-2 in the WML), opened the fray with a 44-30 victory over Joseph City. Hunter Hardt, playing a power forward position, led all scorers with 14 points. Guard Alex Bunk finished with 14.
In second-round action, the Mavs used 20 points from Bunk and 15 from Hardt to beat Show Low 45-29.
The win over the Cougars set up a gold-medal showdown against RCMS's longtime rival Snowflake.
With Hardt scoring 20 points and Miles Huff contributing 15, the Mavericks thumped the Lobos 46-29.
Following the win, Carpenter cited the team's spirited play at both ends of the floor for the victory.
"The entire team played tough defense in the tournament, holding opponents to just over 30 points, and by scoring 45 a game," he said.
He also praised the reserves saying, "The bench played an important role by stepping up and playing quality minutes."
The Mavericks played without the services of regular-season starters Bryson Addington and Joe Prest who were sidelined with injuries.
In their absence, Carpenter said, "Matt Jones moved into the starting lineup and had 15 rebounds in the championship game."
With the seventh-grade basketball season at an end, players are turning their attention to the White Mountain League track and field campaign.