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Elementary basketball kicks off with exciting first night of games

February 19, 2013

The four-day elementary boys' basketball tournament tipped off on Monday night with the first set of four contests at the Punxsutawney Area High School gymnasium. In this photo, Alabama fourth-grader Ben Fezell (right) puts up a shot in his game-high six-point effort. Alabama bested Oregon 14-10 in the first game of the night to kick off the elementary basketball games.

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The future varsity stars of the Punxsy Chucks played the first night of elementary basketball games, which showcased four exciting contests.

The 4th- and 5th-graders took to the court for the first two games, with the 6th-graders closing out the final two contests.

Alabama 14, Oregon 10

The first game of the night was between the 4th/5th graders on team Alabama (red) versus Oregon (green).

Alabama had a 12-6 lead over Oregon with less than three minutes remaining in the game, before Zackary VanLeer and Graham Lott scored four consecutive points for the Green team to pull within two of the tie, 12-10.

Red's Sean Deeley prevented the Green comeback when he got fouled on his way to the hoop with 30 seconds remaining. Deeley stepped up to the charity stripe and knocked down two clutch free throws to seal the 14-10 victory for Alabama.

Ben Fezell led Alabama with a game-high six points. Deeley, Alec Greenblat, Branson Scarantine and Ethan Presloid each contributed two points in the Red teams' winning effort.

VanLeer and Lott led Oregon with four points apiece, while Nicholas Humble added two.

Colorado 12, Princeton 11

The second game of the night was an exciting contest between the 4th/5th graders of Princeton (orange) and Colorado (black).

Colorado came out strong in the first half, establishing an 11-4 advantage by halftime. Princeton went on a run in the second half to tie the game at 11-11, thanks to a made free throw by Orange's Andrew Young with 39.9 seconds remaining in the contest.

Black's Ethan Lainey picked up a steal at halfcourt with 17 seconds left and was fouled on his way to the hoop. Lainey swished his first of two free throws to give Colorado the one-point edge. Lainey missed the second foul shot, but black was able to secure the ball to hold onto a 12-11 victory.

Jacob Ebel paced Colorado with five points, including one from beyond the arc. Max London added four points, and Lainey contributed three for the black team.

Young was the game's leading scorer with six points for Orange. Ryan Roberts tallied five points for Princeton.

Mich. State 29, Florida 20

The third game of the night was between the sixth graders of Florida (blue) and Michigan State (green).

The first half was a back-and-forth contest, with Michigan State establishing a narrow 11-9 lead at the half.

The second half belonged to green team, which used good ball movement to secure a 29-20 win over the blue team.

Michigan State was led by Ethan Blose, who scored a game-high 12 points, with two from three-point land.

Andrew Wehrle (5th grade) tallied six points for the green team, while Evan Humble added five. Cameron Smith contributed four points, and Jeff Barnett added two to round out the scoring for the green team.

Daren Byers (5th grade) was the top scorer for the blue team with seven points. Caden Barrick added six points, while Carter Newcome scored five, including a triple. Andrew Britton scored a bucket for Florida.

LSU 32, Florida 24

The final game of the night was between the sixth graders of LSU (purple) and Florida (blue), which played its second game in-a-row.

LSU jumped out to a commanding 16-0 lead before Florida stuck back. By halftime, the purple team had a 22-7 lead.

Florida made a valiant effort at a comeback in the second half, pulling within four points, 24-20 off a layup by Newcome with 5:20 remaining. The deficit ended up being too much to overcome for Florida, as LSU went on to claim a 32-24 victory.

LSU's Alex Gianvito was the leading scorer of the night with 14 points. Purple's Derek Huey was not far behind with 10 points. Jackson Fezell (fifth grade) added four points, while Micah Kriebel (fifth grade) scored two.

Byers (fifth-grade) and Newcome each scored nine points for Florida, combining for three treys (Byers two, Newcome one). Britton contributed four points, and Barrick added two for the blue squad.

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