Local basketball team wins IHOOPNATION LLC Summer Finale

    It was a long, hot weekend in Thornton, Colorado for the local high school girls basketball team WY MAMBACITAS in the IHOOPNATION LLC Summer Finale. The team is comprised of senior Kiara Friday (LVHS), Sophomore Hayden Goggles (LVHS), sophomore Breana Lincoln (LVHS), senior Amanda Jenkins (Wind River HS), freshman Madisyn Arneach (Wind River HS), freshman Delaney Gambler (Wind River HS), and senior Ronessa Sazue (Crow Creek HS, SD). Unable to make the trip was sophomore center Addelyn Anderson (LVHS). The team is coached by Star Friday and former WIHS Lady Chief standout Contessa Bonds.  

    The girls competed in the high school Gold division. The first game was against the Colorado 76ers in a 35-23 win. Saturday pool play continued as they collected wins against Zia Sports Academy NM (32-15), 55 buckets (35-22), and ONE UP (46-14) who both hail from Texas. The Mambacitas rolled in each game using great team rebounding, ball movement and aggressive defense creating easy transition buckets.

    Early Sunday morning, they faced undefeated Classic Hoops out of Colorado Springs, CO. Classic Hoops posed the first challenge of many with their great team size and quickness. The game quickly turned into a slugfest, with each matching shot for shot as the score teetered back and forth throughout the first three and a half quarters. The Mambacitas responded well to their first taste of adversity of the weekend and closed the game out, attacking the basket, getting to the free throw line to come away with a 30-23 victory! The tournament bracket was set with a #1 seed and first round bye. 


    The girls were locked in ready for a strong finish to our goal of winning the tournament.

    5 pm Semifinals opponent ONE UP comes out guns blazing, hitting shot after shot and moving the ball exceptionally well as they hold a 4 point margin for most of the half. Mambacitas battle and claw their way back down at halftime 14-15. The 3rd quarter gets away and ONE UP goes up 8 points continuing their hot shooting. The lead is cut to 6 at the start of the 4th, pesky defense by the Mambacitas starts to stifle the opponent as momentum shifts. Down only 4 points with 3 minutes left on the clock the pressure mounts for ONE UP, and they turn the ball over possession after possession. Sazue, Goggles and Lincoln all come up with clutch free throws down the stretch retaking the lead for good and eke out a 3 point win 31-28! 

    Classic Hoops wins their semifinal battle and a rematch is set for the championship game. 

    Championship Sunday is being played at a miserably hot Thornton High School with no air conditioning! Injuries and fatigue have piled up on the Mambacitas as Classic jumps out to a 14-1 lead! Tensions are high on the court, bench and stands but once again the girls rise to the occasion and chip away at the lead each quarter behind gutsy rebounding and defense from Friday, Sazue and Goggles. 


    Classic Hoops’ lead has dwindled to just 2 points entering the final frame, with each team trading buckets for the next 6 minutes. Freshmen Arneach and Gambler provide solid reserve minutes knocking down a bucket apiece, along with relentless on ball pressure from senior guard Jenkins. Now tied with 2:30 on the clock, timely treys from Lincoln and Sazue give the Mambacitas a 6-point lead. Classic answers with one more layup of their own as clock management starts from the team from the Wind River Indian Reservation. Clutch free throws from Goggles seals the deal as the WY MAMBACITAS come away with a well-earned, hard-nosed victory 36-32!

    Championships are not won alone; every player puts their stamp on the game in a true full team effort! This team embodies that philosophy with this being their 2nd championship of the summer. Concentration is high on improving as they look to carry that into their respective teams’ seasons. 

    In our huddle, life lessons are taught just as much as the plays and schemes we run. Through the highs and lows, they continue to push forward while navigating life as teenagers and young adults, all the while competing at the highest level of the game they love! Nothing in life that is worth it comes easy!


    The above story was provided by Coach Star Friday.


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