The Tar Heels went 26-1 on the season and won the All-Net League Championship, All-Net Super-Sectionals Championship and All-Net National Championship with a strong group of boys from the Newport-Mesa area.
In pool play, the Tar Heels beat a solid team in the Vallejo Hustlers 54-33, a familiar foe Placentia P-Town 46-43 and Redwood 57-29 to finish first in the pool. In the semi-finals, the Tar Heels faced a strong Fullerton Cougars team and prevailed in a battle 44-41, setting-up the championship game against Placentia P-Town, who also won in the semi-final.
The Tar Heels started hot with Jake Hamilton scoring five quick points and Nico Dasca stealing two passes for scoring opportunities to DJ Rodman and the Tar Heels led 11-4 after the first quarter. Dasca continued the scoring in the second period hitting a 3-pointer and a layup to put the team up five, but Placentia rallied back at halftime only down three points. Hamilton began the third period with a 3-pointer and Johnny King added two quick baskets to extend the lead while Luke Chelf added three rebounds and a steal in the quarter. Adam Flood blocked two shots and added two rebounds in the third as well. The fourth period was a battle with Sam Barela and Mason Melcer playing solid defense while each grabbing key rebounds, but Placentia cut into the lead to make it a game. Ethan Barnes grabbed three rebounds in the final minutes and was fouled twice hitting some clutch free-throws down the stretch. Matt Olson also grabbed two rebounds and hit one of only two baskets made by the Tar Heels in the final period, but it was enough to win the game 39-33.
The Tar Heels averaged 48 points per game in the nationals while holding opponents to 35 points per game, which was the best in the tournament.
Coach Scott Stucki spoke very highly of his team’s play over the weekend, calling it “an overall excellent team effort, I am so very proud of all the boys for the hard work they put in this season.”
Story courtesy of the team. Photo provided by Dana Flood. Pictured in top row from left are Ethan Barnes, Sam Barlea, Mason Melcer, DJ Rodman and Johnny King, and bottom roy from left are Jake Hamilton, Matt Olson, Nico Dasca, Luke Chelf and Adam Flood.