Twisters Spring Classic a tremendous success

By Ivan Sanders

   Organizers with the Elizabethton Twisters organization are breathing a sigh of relief after wrapping up their 2003 Spring Classic with what is considered a tremendous success for everyone, from the teams that participated down to the volunteers who manned the concession stands and officiated the ballgames.
   "The support the tournament received from the school system and city was outstanding," said David Bush, one of the tournaments organizers. "The many volunteers that donated their time and energy are really what makes this event go with the big winners being the girls basketball programs in Elizabethton."
   Bush said that by the time the end of the day came on Sunday there were a lot of tired, but happy kids and parents. Bush went on to add his thanks to all the people that made the event so successful.
   Following is a synopsis of the tournament for each age bracket.
   16 and under: Boys Championship
   Knoxville Wolfpack 47
   Rogersville Chiefs 36
   After losing their first game in pool play to the Chiefs, the Wolfpack came back to win three straight to capture the championship, beating two teams from Virginia, the Lee Players and Far West Wormer's, and finally the Chiefs in the final. The Chiefs beat the Wolfpack, Lee Players, and Blacksburg, Va. teams en route to the title game.
   16 and under: Girls Championship
   WNC Lady Aces 53
   Pigeon Forge 34
   The WNC Lady Aces were as good as advertised as they blew through their division. On the way to the championship, the top notch AAU squad defeated the Shooting Stars teams and the Elizabethton team in the semifinals 37-19. Elizabethton played short handed as they were without Valnessha Redd who had strained her knee earlier in the week.
   14 and under: Boys Championship
   Tri-Cities Eagles 46
   Tri-Cities Tar Heels 34
   Two local teams beat up on the competition to reach the final. The Tar Heels beat the Lee Players, Knoxville Wolfpack, and two Scott County, Va. teams to reach the final, while the Eagles beat the Claiborne Hoop Stars, Scott County, Va. and Lee Players en route to the title game.
   The championship matchup saw the game stay close until the last minute when an intentional foul and multiple technicals against the Tar Heels allowed the Eagles to soar to a comfortable victory margin.
   14 and under: Girls Championship
   Pigeon Forge 36
   Shooting Stars 29
   Pigeon Forge's program is certainly on the rise as the 14 and under team went undefeated to take the championship. The Twister's 8th grade team finished third and played tough against the older Pigeon Forge and Shooting Stars teams, losing 26-22 and 53-46 respectively. One of the most exciting finishes occurred in the Twisters-Avery County game when Avery Co. took a one point lead on two foul shots with five seconds left.
   An Avery Co. foul at the buzzer sent Marti Bush to the line with no time remaining where she calmly sank both free throws to give the Twisters a 41-40 win. The Pigeon Forge and Shooting Stars team were mainly composed of ninth grade players.
   13 and under: Boys Championship
   Blountville 54
   Amateur Youth Sports 49
   In an upset of sorts, the Blountville Tigers ousted the AYS team from Elizabethton in the final. AYS had blasted Blountville in a first round game, but the Tigers carried the fight to the local team in the final. Bubby's Gym Rats finished third in this division.
   13 and under: Girls Championship
   Lady Indians 30
   Rutledge 26
   In a mild upset, the team from Kingsport beat Rutledge in a hotly contested final. The Lady Indians reached the final by beating the Wise, Va. team in the semifinals. Rutledge reached the final by beating the Twisters 7th grade team.
   The Twister 7th grade squad fared well against mostly 8th grade competition beating Chuckey Doak and losing a heartbreaking double overtime game to Kingsport, 35-34.
   In that game, Kyla Jones stepped to the line after being fouled on a three point attempt and nailed all three shots in the final waning seconds to send the game into overtime. The youthful Twisters team couldn't quite get over the hump in dropping the contest by one in two overtimes.
   12 and under: Girls Championship
   Knott County, KY 36
   Rogersville 33
   Knott Co., Ky. traveled over two hours to play a 9 a.m. game on Saturday and by the time they finished around 9 p.m. on Saturday night they had won four games over some stiff competition to take the championship. Beating Morristown, Pigeon Forge, and Kingsport to reach the finals.
   The talented team from Rogersville beat Chuckey Doak, Kingsport, and Pigeon Forge until they met their match against the Patriots from Knott Co.
   The championship game was a classic with neither team having the upper hand until the end when the team from Kentucky prevailed by three. The Twisters 6th grade team lost a heartbreaker in the consolation game falling 25-23 to Morristown.
   11 and under: Girls Championship
   Pilot Comets 30
   Rogersville 26
   The Pilot Comets from Knoxville prevailed over the talented team from Rogersville in a nip and tuck final. The Comets reached the final by beating the Twisters 5th grade team in the semis 21-16. Rogersville reached the championship game by defeating the Lady Blazers from Boones Creek, 14-9.