Championship goes down to the wire at eighth-grade Knights tourney

Submitted photos

The local middle school girls basketball season got off to a flying start over the weekend.

The St. Bernard’s Knights hosted an eight-team eighth-grade tournament on Saturday with almost 80 players competing.

The third annual Knights Fall Classic also included teams from Jacoby Creek, Redwood, Crescent Elk, Coastal Grove, Sunny Brae, McKinleyville and Pacific Union.

And the tournament went right down to the wire in a back-and-forth championship game that wasn’t decided until the dying seconds.

Matching up against Jacoby Creek, the Knights scored the winning basket with just a couple of seconds remaining to pull out a 36-35 victory.

If the rest of the season is anything like that, it should be a fun couple of months for the local schools.

Both teams traded baskets in the final minute of the championship game, before forward Xochitl Granado hit the tournament-clinching basket after guard Carli Baum drove up the sideline and passed to her inside.

Crescent Elk placed third and the McKinleyville Comets won the consolation championship.

“Big thanks to all the schools, coaches, officials, families, volunteers, and community members for supporting these awesome student athletes, exhibiting great sportsmanship, and for making our tournament a huge success,” tournament organizer Cliff Hart said.

Baum was named tournament MVP, while the all-tournament team also included teammates Granados and Tally Williams, as well as Colby Eisner and Claire Delaney (Jacoby Creek), Sophia Webster (Redwood), Emily Coats (Crescent Elk), Olivia Murphy (McKinleyville), Karely Ruiz (Pacific Union), Amirah Johnson (Sunny Brae) and Lilly Felsenthal (Coastal Grove).

The Knights will also host a seventh-grade girls tournament this coming weekend. 

Check out video highlights of the championship-clinching basket below …

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