Claiborne Sparks: My Site News: Cocoa Beach Recap

Cocoa Beach Recap

The 13&Under Claiborne Sparks Girls AAU Basketball Team descended upon Orlando, Florida via Southwest Airlines before heading to Cocoa Beach, Florida for the 13 Under AAU Nationals Tournament.

This was the first flying experience for many of the players on the team. Some were given wings by the helpful Southwest staff.

We arrived on Thursday, July 9, 2009, at the airport and received our rental vehicles. We then headed to Cocoa Beach, about sixty miles south of Orlando.

The team stayed at the Residence Inn-Marriott. Chaperones accompanied the team and a great big thanks to all of you who joined us on this journey. Special thanks to Ms. Delores Hampton, Ms. Michelle Williams, Ms. Christina Claiborne, Ms. Kim Davis, Ms. Irma Malbreaux, the Pickney family, Gauthier family and the Bradley family. Polly sure made some good gumbo on this trip! We had some great home-cooked meals during our stay thanks to Ms. Malbreaux, Ms. Hampton and Ms. Bradley.

Ms. Lavergne did not cook.

We had a scheduled practice that Friday at Viera High School. That was followed by team registration, team meeting, a party for the athletes and the opening ceremonies. The players registered and received lanyards, backpacks and national T-shirts. They also traded pins with the other 43 teams in attendance at the tournament. The Opening Ceremony was held at Bayside High School. The team marched in carrying a banner and a team sign. They were welcomed by fans and supporters of AAU. The ceremonies were live streamed through Space Coast Sports Productions. The players had a good time representing Opelousas and St. Landry Parish as well as the state of Louisiana.

It was time for business on Saturday as the Sparks took on the Staten Island Rebels of New York! The game waxed and waned for a time there, but we prevailed with a winning score of 40-36. The next game for us on Saturday was against the Central Texas Triple Threat. We were once again victorious and defeated the Texas Threat 60-55.

We treated ourselves with a visit to the beach! Thanks Jonas and LeDawn! Oh yeah, we were also treated to some old school dancing by Coach Claiborne and Ms. Malbreaux.

We started out again on Sunday at noon against the Potomac Valley Lady Tar Heels. We had a lead of 52-48 with two minutes to go in the game; alas foul trouble and a tied game and an official blows the whistle with 2.2 seconds left putting the Tar Heels on the line whereby they made both free throws and won the game 57-55. This was a great game where our players played hard and showed grit and determination. Good job Aaliyah and Bre'! They were our top scorers for all three pool games. The other players really stepped it up with Maya Richard rebounding really well; Carlie, Monique, Chloe, Maya M. along with Andrea, Alexis and Shanekque did their part as well. Thanks Girls. You sent us into the Championship Bracket of the Tournament!

We played our first Championship Bracket Game on Monday and they don't call it "Monday Morning Blues" for nothing! We just couldn't seem to get it together against the Maryland Flames. We took a lead against them before the half and they dropped a two at the buzzer to go up two points on us. The second half of the game went sour for the Sparks. We couldn't beg, buy or bribe the rims, we didn't score for the first seven minutes of the half. We couldn't get that ball to drop in for anything! It just didn't work out. We lost 51-38 for the final score.

 On Tuesday, our last championship game was played against the Maryland Shooting Stars. We hung in there with them and "Tweety" shot a beautiful three bringing the crowd to its feet. But we were too short at the end losing 58-53 to end our second showing at Nationals. Next year, who knows? One thing is for sure - the Claiborne Sparks will return to Nationals!

Coach Davis, you are one of the very best! You can do anything. Thank you for your guidance and direction on the court! Thanks for the great bbq on Sunday night.  It was some good!

Ms. Lavergne did not cook.

Coach Claiborne, once again you showed us true leadership by example and kept a cool head no matter the situation. Thanks for all that you do.

Thanks to Ms. Lavergne for organizing the team's travel and taking care of all of the administrative matters for the team.