Youth basketball puts on game face for league championship

By Douglas McCulloch | Mar 15, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Tennessee with control of the ball.

Parents, kids and young basketball players lined the gymnasium at Dartmouth Middle School for the two final Dartmouth Girls Athletic League championship matches on March 15.

In the Senior Division, Tennessee State — a DGAL team named after the college, as is custom in the league — took a 17-14 win against Syracuse University in overtime. After a scoreless first quarter, Syracuse surged ahead with a 6-1 lead going into the third quarter. Tennessee picked away at that lead, trailing 12-7 at the close of the third quarter, and tying the game 14-14 in the fourth quarter.

After a tense few minutes in overtime with frequent scoring attempts by both teams, Tennessee State put three points on the board, and the crowd erupted in cheers.

“Today went very well. It was an unbelievable comeback. We were down 8-1,” said Tennessee Coach Chris Gardiner.

He added that after the half, he began switching up the team’s offense and ensured his team was still trying its best.

Championship season is the only time the comparative aspect of the sport really shows. The league’s main purpose is building teamwork and basketball skills in a fun environment, Gardiner explained.

“We build fundamentals: shooting techniques and defensive and offensive moves,” he said.

Once the game ended, focus shifted to a celebration of the season. One by one, players from both teams accepted a trophy, while parents snapped photos on their smartphones. Coaches praised how far each player had come.

In the Pony Division, Florida State narrowly edged out Duke University, 35-33. Duke took the lead early in the game, leading the first quarter, 10-7. By the end of the half, Duke had a 16-13 advantage.

In the third, Duke kept its three-point advantage, 26-23. The tide turned in the fourth quarter, when a reenergized Florida State took the lead and secured its win.

In DGAL's youngest basketball league, Arizona State took the Junior Division championship title on March 13.

Syracuse brings the ball out of its home court. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Syracuse and Tennessee players clash. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Tennessee with its trophies. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
The Florida Pony League team. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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