By Cristian Ponce | Special to the Almanac
A local sixth-grade girls basketball team, called TNT Undisputed, won seven and lost two games at the Amateur Athletic Union Division II national championship, held recently in Hampton, Virginia.
The team, coached by former 49er quarterback and longtime youth sports coach John Paye, finished ninth nationally, moving up from its tenth-place finish last year. TNT Undisputed is currently the highest ranked AAU national team in California.
In the tournament, the team first competed against four teams in its pool Kentucky Storm Elite, Maryland NOVA, Virginia Cross-over Hoops and Virginia Cap City Ballerz and finished first in that pool.
Standouts included Marley Langi of Redeemer School, who led in rebounds and scoring, and averaged a double-double in all four games. Among the top scorers were Caitlin Dulsky of Central Middle School, Danielle McNair of St. Raymond School (Menlo Park) and Maeia Makoni of Hillview Middle School (Menlo Park).
Top defenders included Porsche Trinidad of St. Raymond School, Georgia Paye of La Entrada Middle School (Menlo Park), Tejal Gupta of Menlo School (Atherton) and Alexis Jackson of Central Middle School.
TNT Undisputed moved into the championship bracket of the Sweet Sixteen and was on the brink of joining the Elite Eight when it suffered a last-minute loss to No. 3 seed, Virginia Outlaws, 48-47.
Despite the loss, TNT Undisputed went on to win four consecutive games against Yonkers NY, North Carolina Flames, Georgia Pearls and Indiana Sky Digg Elite.