Seaside High and Broadway Middle schools recently hosted the Pacific Basketball League (PBL) Championship Tournament with 16, 4A level 5th grade tournament teams competing. This year’s champions, the Warrenton 5th grade tournament team, took first place honors in their grade level.
Towns throughout Clatsop County have sponsored tournament teams that are formed in the early grades to develop the skills and team work needed to make them competitive at the high school level. Some of these kids play together for years. All of the teams are private or parent sponsored.
This year’s PBL championship game between the top two teams, Warrenton and Seaside, was a “barn-burner” of a basketball game. For a younger level basketball game, it had all the drama and excitement of some high school games, with both sides besting each other over and over, resulting in two 2-minute overtime periods. Both ended in a tie. This led to a third overtime which was non-timed, and the winner was to be decided on which team scored first.
In the final seconds of the third overtime, Seaside lost possession of the ball and Warrenton was given the ball for an inbound pass to start the play. The ball was then tossed to player #25, Brian Xochipiltecatl (aka, the X-Factor), who was fouled by a Seaside player as he ran down the sidelines. This led to a 1 and 1 free throw penalty. The X-Factor scored, winning the game 27-26!
But that is not the end of the story. In addition, these boys get to travel and play in the State Championship for Oregon Middle Schools in Redmond, Oregon Friday March 9-11. They will play in the Silver Division.
The team, who is coached by Chris Palmer and Dave Wines, had another unique experience to be proud of. At the beginning of the season, they were contacted by an anonymous donor who agreed to sponsor the team’s entire season, including the uniforms under certain conditions. The boys had to do some volunteer work and the parents whose kids played were asked to donate to a couple of charities if they had the means. Those two Warrenton based charities, Warrenton Kids Inc, and Warrenton-Hammond Healthy Kids, both received donations as a result. As for the volunteer work, the boys participated in the Warrenton middle school Christmas gift wrapping program, and the Thanksgiving basket program.
It seems that not only will this Warrenton 5th grade team learn to play together over the years, but they will also learn to give back and help others along the way.
For more information, or if anyone is interested in donating to the Warrenton Youth Basketball association, which works with teams from 4th-8th grade, please visit them on their Facebook page or call Jen Palmer at 503-440-5164.