Two losses end Pros’ championship attempt

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 20, 2002


LAPLACE – The River Parish Pros AAU boys basketball team was served two second-round defeats to end last week’s national championship tournament in Clarksville, Tenn.

Coach Kevin Branch admitted the team did not have enough starters to contend with the other teams through the double headers. Branch said he had only seven starters to send in, which led to a fatigued and slowing team by the second game.

Battling against the Pros were 128 other teams, with three teams also making the trip from Louisiana. The River Parish Pros placed second in the state following their first regular season loss in more than three years and 85 games to another La. team, the La. Future Stars. The Future Stars held on for the victory and beat the Pros by only five points.

Despite the one loss, the Pros were ranked first in their pool of four national teams as they worked toward tournament play in Clarksville.

The Pros finished their pool play undefeated, then moved on to edge past the Pittsburgh Jots by one point 63-62. However, the Georgia Stars wore the Pros down, sending the River Parish team to the losers’ bracket.

However, losing to the Georgia Stars did have some condolences, as the Stars continued on to the lose to the Dallas Mustangs by only one point, 78-77, in the championship game.

In the losers’ bracket, the Pros ran over the Carolina Wildcats Red team 77-41 Thursday, but couldn’t come back to win their first match on Friday. The Pros’ last game of the tournament was a loss at the hands of the Friends of Hoop team, 62-55. The Friends of Hoop lost their next game on Friday, 41-35.

Only two years ago, the Pros took the 2000 state championship and Youth Basketball of America State Championship. Last year, the team captured the state title again, then finished 6th of 140 teams in the nationals, with an 8-1 record. Their only post-season loss came by only one point to the Arkansas Hawks in overtime.