Both Napa Valley Basketball Alliance spring boys teams recently won all of their games for a first-ever sweep of an AAU tournament by a Napa league.
The nonprofit NVBA’s eighth-grade team, made up of players who will be attending Napa, Vintage, Justin-Siena and St. Helena high schools, went 3-0 in the AAU “Nothing But Net” Tournament at the Hardwood Palace in Rocklin.
They opened with a 55-25 win over a team from the Marin County-based North Bay Basketball Academy that had players from Petaluma and Rohnert Park. NVBA defeated a NBBA team made up of Marin players in its second game, 60-32. In its final game, NVBA downed the Red Bluff Hotshots, 48-20, and were presented tournament championship medals.
Throughout the day, NVBA’s scoring was balanced and it played strong team defense. The team was led in rebounding by Alex Humer, Theo Branum and Antonio Poire.
Playing outstanding defense were Manny Cortez, Nick Elliott-Smith and Tyler Walls. Inside scoring came from Sammy Schwartz and Parker Totty, outside shooting by Nathan Graziani, transition offense by Owen Weber, and court leadership by point guards Brandon Ho and Dominic Collins.
The NVBA seventh-grade boys won three hard-fought battles, with the whole team holding strong until the end of a long day that ended at 8 p.m.
They won their first game, 33-32, over YBA Extreme Red of Rocklin. Good shooting from Niko Lopez, Brendan Neal and Nick Herring helped NVBA tie the game throughout. With seven seconds left and NVBA trailing by two points, good passing led to a winning 3-pointer by Lopez.
The second game saw NVBA edge El Dorado Hills’ All Net Gold in overtime, 29-26. The rebounding of Miles Khoury and Merrick Kowlaski, Lopez’s fast-paced lay-ups, and the perimeter shooting of Brendan Neal and Nick Herring kept NVBA in the game, along with quick passing by Servin Ellis and assists from Gage Bement, Grady Miller and Colin Sherlock. In the final minutes, shooting guard Owen Gorsuch made two steals and two breakaway baskets to seal the victory.
In another game that was close throughout, NVBA finished up with a 38-37 thriller over the Red Bluff Hotshots.
Lopez scored the majority of NVBA’s baskets, including a 3-pointer.
Max Hautala was the next highest scorer, supported by the strong defense of Cameron Vaziri and Colin Sherlock.
They were also awarded championship medals.
The NVBA teams will play in their second tournament today. The seventh-graders will play two games at the Hardwood Palace in Rocklin and one game at Roseville’s Silverado Middle School.
The eighth-graders will be at Center High School in Antelope, and expect to be challenged more than last week because they are playing two divisions higher.