The Rim Country Middle School eighth-grade boys basketball team compiled a 3-0 record to win the Oak Creek Invitational Tournament championship. In rolling to the triumph Feb. 14 in Cornville, the Mavericks blasted Mayer 52-31 and thumped Beaver Creek twice, 43-37 and 52-21.
According to coach Joe La Salandra, the Mavs rode 16 points from Robert Walker and 15 from Levi Neal to the tournament opening win over Mayer. The coach also praised the rebounding of Jonathan Knoner, Troy Brown and Anthony Pearce.
In the second round victory over Beaver Creek, Carter Connolly paced the Mav scoring parade with 12 points. Neal contributed 11 and Knoner had 10.
The final victory over Beaver Creek can be attributed to what the coach called an "aggressive full court defense that held the Lobos to only one field goal in the second half."
Connolly once again led RCMS in scoring with 15 points that included making three of four three-point shot attempts. Neal also was deadly from beyond the 19-foot, 9-inch arc cashing in on two of three long range bombs. Neal finished with 14 points, as did Walker.
At the conclusion of the day in a voting of coaches and officials, Knoner, Neal and Walker were selected to the all-tournament team,
La Salandra praised the players for their "aggressive defense, tenacious rebounding and an awesome team effort."
The invitational trophy was the second the eighth-graders have returned home with this season. At the Joseph City tournament Jan. 24, the team finished third.
Lady Mavs host Roughriders
In Rim Country Middle School girls basketball action Feb. 18 in Wilson Dome, the seventh-graders whipped Whiteriver 34-25, but the eighth-graders dropped a 33-26 decision.
The seventh-grade charge was led by 11 points from Kayla O'Donnell and seven from Cydney Figueroa. After jumping out to an early 14-8 lead, the Lady Mavs coasted to the win.
According to RCMS athletic director Tim Fruth, the two teams are the best in the league and could battle the White Mountain championship.
In the eighth-graders' loss to the Roughriders, Katie Calhoun and Hannah Palandri scored six points each. Brittany McDaniel and Jessica Blalock contributed four each.