The Junior High 3AAA-South District Tournament was held last week at Gosnell. The boys champ was Valley View and Rivercrest won the girls side.
Valley View squeaked by East Poinsett County in the first round, 47-40; EPC pulled to within four with a couple minutes to go, but Valley View hit their free throws down stretch and held on for the win.
Valley View then went on to play the regular season conference champs from Manila. Manila had beaten Valley View twice during the season, but fell to the Blazers in a low scoring defensive battle. "It's tough to beat someone three times in one season," said Manila coach Anthony Brewington. "I told the kids not to let this loss affect the great season we've had."
The girls' tournament was dominated by one of the best teams around, Rivercrest. The Colts met Manila in the finals. The Lady Lions made their way to the finals by beating Trumann and Valley View.
Manila coach Ron Stratmoen said of Rivercrest, "They're an extremely good team. Our girls were really pumped to be in the finals, but so was Rivercrest. I think all the energy we had exerted the night before in the Valley View game was a factor. We had a poor shooting night. We had 10 first half points and eight of them came from one player. Our defense was there but the shots just weren't falling."
The junior girls from Manila fared well in every tournament they played in this year. They were runnerup in the District Tournament, of course. They finished second in the Tri-County, and took the same runnerup title in the Manila Invitational.
"I couldn't ask for a better season. We had a lot of injuries and kids getting sick, and the girls played through it all. We made it to the finals in three tournaments. Every team but one that beat us won their District Tournaments. We won 27 games and that's a lot for a junior high team."
The Junior Girls from Manila finished with a 27-8 record.