Palo Alto NJB teams head for the national championships


Palo Alto will send six teams to the National Junior Basketball (NJB) All Net Nationals in Orange Country next week after all qualified during last weekend's Silicon Valley All Net Championship Round at Valley Christian High in San Jose.

Palo Alto had three champions -- fifth grade girls, fifth grade boys and seventh grade boys -- plus three runnerup squads -- fifth grade boys 2, sixth grade girls and seventh grade girls.

Palo Alto was guaranteed a champion in the boys' fifth-grade division as Palo Alto 1 defeated Palo Alto 2 in the finals. The teams were seeded No. 1 and 2, respectively, after splitting their regular-season games. The title contest came down to the final shot as Palo Alto 1 pulled off a one-point victory.

The winning fifth grade boys' team included Max Jung-Goldberg, Spencer Rojahn, Benner Mullin, Jack Devine, Mohr Tzur, Max Dorward, William Schlemmer, Max Kelmon and Thomas Brown. The team is coached by Stephanie King and Beau Brown.

The seventh grade boys' championship team included Jonathan Davis, Justin Hull, Cameron Lee, Christian Leong, Matthew Lewis, Tyler McGraw, Alec Olmstead, Rohit Reddy, Jonathan Samos and Oliver Svirksy. The team is coached by Ken Morgan.

The winning fifth grade girls featured Klara Astrom, Brianna Claros, Sabrina Dahlen, Sophie Frick, Mele Kailahi, Stella Kailahi, Claire Lin, Carly Leong, Christina Perez, Emma Staiger and Alexandra Stuart. The team is coached by Randy Scott and Scott Peters.

In perhaps the most unusual game of the weekend, the Palo Alto seventh grade girls had to forfeit its championship finale with Sequoia of Redwood City due to not having the proper game-day paperwork. While Sequoia was ruled the winner, the teams decided to plan anyway, with Palo Alto pulling out a 41-36 victory.

At the postgame awards ceremony, the Sequoia players and coaches received their trophies. Then, in a remarkable display of sportsmanship, the winners handed their championship trophies to the Palo Alto team after the hard-fought battle that ensued on the court.

"In this era of 'win at all costs', I feel that the Sequoia team represented what this is truly about," said Ryo Koyama, the Palo Alto NJB Chapter Director. "They should be commended for their acts, and without a doubt are the true champions of the day in our eyes."

Added Sequoia's All-Net Director Tim McGrath: "These athletes have demonstrated that they will represent our chapter well they compete for the national championship in Los Angeles later this month."

National Junior Basketball is a non-profit, youth basketball league that is based on sportsmanship and player development. Founded in 1984, it has grown into a national youth league with more than 25,000 participants in six states.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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Like this comment
Posted by Jane Kershner
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm

What a great story! Congratulations to all of the basketball players, but I am especially impressed by the sportsmanship displayed by these 7th grade girls, their coaches, their families and the league. Our family has played and followed competitive sports for many years and this is the kind of memory that will stay with these kids always. I wish both teams luck at southern CA tournament!

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