Hillsboro — The Italy Youth Athletic Association (IYAA) 5th-6th Grade Boys basketball team managed an impressive 2nd place finish on Saturday after playing 5 consecutive games in one day. Head coached by Kyle Holley and assisted by coaches Jasenio Anderson and Andre Speed, Italy won their first two games of the 2015 Hillsboro Basketball Tournament, 21-19 over Chilton and 36-33 over Waco Robinson, before dropping their third game, 42-24, to host Hillsboro.
Italy led Hillsboro 23-20 with 2:37 left in the third after a 3-pointer from Jayden Saxon and consecutive put backs by Grant Hamby inside. It was all Hillsboro after that, however, as they forced Italy down into the lower bracket.
In their only game against Robinson, Hamby scored 16-points, Kort Holley scored 8-points and Reese Janek scored 8-points. Jayden Saxon scored a basket and Evan Cunningham scored 2-points as well.
In their first game against Hillsboro, Italy’s third game of the day, Hamby led Italy with 9-points and Saxon put in 8-points including two net-popping 3-pointers. Andrew Celis scored 4-points in the paint, Calvin Mays dropped in a free throw, Ty Cash made a free throw and Omar De La Hoya made a free throw.
Now in the lower bracket and after Chilton defeated Robinson 37-35, Italy took on Chilton to determine who would meet Hillsboro in the tournament championship game. It was Italy’s fourth game of the day and it was a close match throughout with Italy outlasting Chilton for the 22-19 win and a spot in the finals.
Leading Italy in scoring during the rematch against Chilton were Hamby with 9-points and Kort Holley with 7-points. Ty Cash scored 4-points on fast break layups and Janek scored 2-points.
Unfortunately for Italy, their rematch against Hillsboro to determine the tournament champion immediately followed Italy’s win against Chilton. With little time to rest before playing their fifth game, Italy’s players chugged down Gatorade and then had a brief warmup session before tipoff.
The more rested Hillsboro team quickly took control of the game with Italy unable to muster the energy needed to stay with their fast breaking opponent. Italy did handle Hillsboro’s press defense masterfully, an improvement from the previous battle between the two teams. However, tired legs and missed shots opened the door for Hillsboro who eventually ran away with the tournament’s top prize after a 49-22 win over Italy.
In the finals, Hamby scored 7-points including a 3-pointer by the big man and Jayden Saxon hit another 3-pointer along with two free throws. Cunningham put in 4-points total after a brilliant spin move on the low block gave him the angle to bank in his second shot and Celis scored 2-points in the lane. Reese Janek, who helped dribble the ball along with Holley, Cash and Julius Williams, scored 2-points for Italy’s cause.
Throughout the tournament, Calvin Mays brought energy off the bench for Italy, especially on defense while Rocklin Ginnett added muscle on the boards.
For their efforts, Italy earned a 2nd place finish and were presented trophies during the tournament’s award ceremony.