A gold medal showing at the Maverick Invitational Tournament is the highlight of the Rim Country Middle School seventh-grade boys basketball team's 8-0 early season record.
During the five-team skirmish played Feb. 7 in Wilson Dome, the Mavericks rolled over Mogollon, 39-8, Round Valley, 42-19, Winslow, 35-9, and Joseph City 59-13.
In the tournament-ending win over Joseph City, Ridge Halenar led the Mavs in scoring with 14 points. Halenar also paced RCMS against Winslow, scoring a game high eight points. In whipping the RV Elks, Cody York tallied 10 points to pace a well balanced offensive attack in which 10 of the 13 players on the roster scored.
Max Siverson's 10 points led the Mavs to the victory over Mogollon.
In addition to the tournament wins, RCMS has defeated Holbrook, 44-30, Mogollon, 59-6, Winslow 69-26 and Snowflake 57-51, in White Mountain League regular season play.
Veteran middle school coach Ross Carpenter has said the team probably the best he's had in his tenure at RCMS.
"The boys that are juniors now (at Payson High School) were undefeated in seventh grade but I don't think they had as much talent top to bottom," he said.
About the only White Mountain League team that has tested the Mavericks is the Snowflake Lobos.
In RCMS' six-point victory over Snowflake Jan. 27, the Lobos led 12-10 early in the game and 27-20 at halftime. RCMS managed to trim the Lobo cushion to 38-37 early in fourth stanza. The Mavericks notched the victory by outscoring Snowflake 20-13 in the final quarter.
Carpenter credited the come from behind win to a stellar man-to-man defense in which the Maverick defenders were able to deny the Lobos entry passes.
Offensively, the Horns were led by York's 27 points.
"He took over the game," Carpenter said.
York's offensive outburst included a pair of three-pointers and seven-of-seven free-throw shooting. As a team, the Mavericks cashed in on 16 of 21 free throws.
York also led the Mavericks to the regular season win over Mogollon tallying 13 points. Halenar paced RCMS to the triumph in Winslow with 12 points.
The seventh graders return to action at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in RCMS gym against the St. Johns Redskins.
The Mavs are also slated to participate in the Tonto Apache Recreation tournament Feb. 20, 21 and 22.