The Katy Rebels-D’Addieco team won the 2016 All-American Sports National Championship in the 4th grade silver division in San Antonio, TX on July 8-10. A brand new team this year consisting almost entirely of girls in their first year of AAU basketball, the Rebels went to AAS Nationals with the hopes of just gaining their first National tournament experience. Instead, they walked away with their first championship trophy.
In the first game of the tournament, the Katy Rebels faced a very fast and athletic team from Monterrey, Mexico. The Rebels opened the game with the lead, and held that lead until the last 4 seconds of the game. A missed weak side rotation in the defense allowed the opponent to hit what turned out to be the game winning shot from 17 feet on the left wing. The Rebels, still battling, executed their full court last second play flawlessly, getting the ball to the left elbow and sending the potential game winning shot up as time expired. The shot rattled off the back, then the front, then the back of the rim again before popping out. The Rebels lost with a final score of 18-19. This 1 point loss would ultimately send the Rebels to the silver bracket.
The Rebels bounced back from their opening loss to post their best scoring output and largest margin of victory of the season, knocking off their second opponent 32-4, which included a 19-0 second half. A smothering defense with tight ball pressure and aggressive denial behind led to opponent turnovers and limited shot attempts. Excellent passing from the Rebels led to efficient shooting and distributed scoring throughout the roster.
In the semi-final game, the Rebels found themselves in a defensive battle early against a very aggressive, physical team employing a full court, trapping press. But, the Rebel defense also stood strong, and they took a 7-2 lead into halftime. In the second half, the Rebels met and then exceeded their intensity, and opened up the lead to win the game with a final score of 22-9, setting themselves up for the championship game.
Riding the momentum into the final game, the Rebels opened up the contest with a 17-0 run, en route to a 26-5 victory to claim the championship. The Rebels’ zone defense, which had been good all weekend, hit its apex in the championship, allowing almost zero penetration all game long. Working as a unit, the Rebels repeatedly stopped wing penetration, and very effectively denied all entry passes inside. The Rebels kept the opponent on the perimeter, forcing difficult shots and collecting defensive rebounds. Offensively, the Rebel guards found driving lanes for layups, and the post players worked for high percentage shots inside, leading to their most efficient shooting output of the year.
The overall keys for the Rebels this tournament were defense and efficiency. Season-bests in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and turnovers led to an overall efficiency rating almost quadruple their season average. Additionally, much improved defensive execution as a unit led to a 30% decrease in opponent scoring. The team of Melinda, Ruke, Madison, Mackenzie W, Caitlyn, Mackenzie G, Julia, Nikki, Lauren, and Chloe played phenomenal team basketball on both sides of the court on their way to claiming their first ever National Championship!