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The Sparks in the 10-Under division were the only team to complete the 2022 youth basketball season undefeated. Photo Contributed

Youth Basketball Ends Its Season With Championship Tournaments

MADISON- The 2021-2022 season of youth basketball in Madison recently came to a close with the annual post-season tournament. This year’s tournament was much different than in previous years.

Due to date restrictions, the 2022 tournament was changed to single elimination in each of the nine divisions made up of both boys and girls. In past years, the tournament included a “silver bracket” with teams fighting it out after a loss in attempt to earn the third place medal for its efforts. This season a decision was made to eliminate the silver bracket action and make the post-season extravaganza a “do or die” situation with first and second place honors being bestowed among the final two teams.

In all, there were 66 teams in action this season including 13 girl’s squads. Through the season and post-season action only the 10-under girl’s Sparks were able to advance through the campaign undefeated. Here is the rundown of each of the championship games:

18U Boys- The battle of the one-loss teams came down to the No. 1 seed Heat versus the No. 3 seed Bulls. The Bulls actually were in control of the game for three quarters leading 42-39 going into the fourth stanza, but were outscored 26-16 to give way to a Heat win of 65-58.

Jacob Wilhide was on fire in the fourth quarter scoring 10 of his team-high 22 points. Austin Minor scored 11, including six in the fourth quarter, and Isaac Gauthier added 10 for the winning Heat (12-1). The comeback victory by the Heat, led by head coach D. Wilhide, overshadowed a remarkable performance by the Bulls’ Luke Vaporis who scored a game-high 31 points. His scoring total included six three-pointers. Vaporis scored all but two of the Bulls 16 points in the fourth quarter. Ben Conway added 13 points for the Bulls (11-2) coached by Benefield.

14U Boys- The five-team age division came down to a battle between the one and three seeded teams. Trailing by six at halftime, the top seeded Nets outscored the Thunder 15-4 in the third quarter and then hung on scoring just seven free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off the Thunder 33-30 in a hard-fought, physical contest.

Corey Robinson led a balance scoring attack by the Nets (10-2) with 10 points with five players scoring for the division champs. Laine Baker had seven, while Reed Wilson and Om Patel had six points each. The Nets were led by head coach Mike Burt. The Thunder (8-4) were led by the 15 points scored by Mick Tyrell. Cole Spainer added seven. D Wilhide was coach of the Thunder.

12U Boys- The incredible post-season run by the No. 8 seed Heat came to a close in the championship game losing to the second seeded Warriors 30-17. After victories over the Lakers, the top-seeded Bulls and Mavs, the Heat faced the Warriors for the division title. In reality, the Heat held its own against the Warriors in each quarter except the second when the Warriors outscored the Heat 11-2.

The Warriors, coached by D. Utt (12-1) were led by Hedrick Lorizo who had six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter and Landon Anderson’s nine points. For the Heat (6-8), coached by B. Freeman, Quinn Bomes had seven and Isaac Leon had five.

10U Boys- After the ninth seeded Nuggets posted victories over the Heat, the No. 1 seed Nets, and Thunder, the squad faced an uphill battle against the No. 2 seed Lakers in the championship game. With a 9-6 first quarter lead, the Nuggets were then outscored 35-8 over the next three quarters to fall to the Lakers 41-17.

Tyler Barbee, son of head coach T. Barbee, led the Lakers (12-1) with 23 and teammate Thomas Barbee added 13. The Nuggets (7-7), coached by D. McNair, were topped in scoring by Miller Makari’s 13.

8U Boys- The long anticipated battle between the top two seeds came to the forefront as the No. 1 seed Warriors squared off against No. 2 Celtics for the division title.

The Celtics took a 10-point lead at halftime and cruised to that advantage with a 24-14 victory. Cedric Cook had 11 and Ellis Green had nine to lead the Celtics (10-2) while the Warriors (10-2) were topped in scoring by Dalton Laslo’s 10 points. The Warriors were coached by B. Byrd and the champion Celtics were led by head coach P. English.

7U Boys- The Bulls were tops in the regular season with a two-game lead over T’Wolves and the two met head-to-head in the championship game for the title trophy.

The Bulls (11-1), coached by E. Hildebrand, held the T’Wolves scoreless in the second quarter while they scored 10 points of their own and raced to a 19-8 victory. All but one of the Bulls scored during the game and were led by Caiden Jones (6 points), Jordan Freeman (5 points) and Aaron Wyatt (4 points). Meanwhile, coach B. Dannelley watched just two of his players score in the title game. Both Ben Dannelley and Ethan Flores had four points each for the T’Wolves (9-4).

15U Girls- The lone team with a regular season winning record continued its prowess in the post-season as the Sparks defeated the Storm 34-24 for the division title.

The Sparks (9-2) opened an early lead and held that advantage to the end. Madlie Schreiber scored all of the Sparks’ 12 points in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 19 to lead the top seeded squad. Scarlett Abott added 11. The Sparks were coached by K. Millar. Meanwhile, the K. Robinson coached Storm (5-7) were led Sarah Vineski’s 11 points while Genevieve Byars added six.

10U Girls- The Sparks posted an undefeated 12-0 season with a 24-17 victory over the second-seeded Storm for the championship trophy. What made the title run for both teams even more interesting was the fact the opposing coaches are husband and wife.

The Sparks (12-0) and head coach Sherri Willingham defeated the Storm (9-3) and their coach Chris Willingham three times during the recent campaign including in the championship game. A 9-6 lead at halftime led to the seven-point victory as Makayla Mann led all scorers with 18 for the Sparks. Both Diya Patel and Madison Godwin scored six points each for the Storm

8U Girls- The Lynx (11-1) completed a one-loss season with its 23-11 championship game victory over the Aces (6-6).

A game that went back and forth throughout the first half was a second half victory for the Lynx, which outscored the Aces 13-2 in the stanza to earn the division championship. Charlie Graham had a game-high 13 points to lead the Lynx, coached by K. Graham, while Chelsea Vital had eight. Coach D. Langston watched as his squad scored three points over the last three quarters. Cybil Gebus led a group of five players who scored with three points.

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