County basketball teams shine at Lone Star Invitational
Dec. 9, 2004
Terron Hampton
Staff Writer




Two of the county's high school basketball powerhouses have made their cases to be considered among the nation's elite by winning the prestigious Lone Star Invitational in San Antonio last weekend.

Riverdale Baptist won the boys' bracket, while McNamara was the winner on the girls' side. Two county players (Riverdale Baptist's Nolan Smith and McNamara's Iman McFarland) also swept tournament most valuable player honors.

Ranked No. 6 in the country this season by USA Today, the McNamara girls headed into this season with the uncertainty of inexperience. Coach Mike Bozeman said the team answered several questions last weekend.

"I learned some things about them. I know they're fighters," Bozeman said of his team, which is currently dealing with an injury to senior star Paulisha Kellum and the inexperience of many freshmen and sophomores..

In the championship game against Lynwood (Ca.), the Mustangs trailed by 11 midway through the contest, but went on to win. The Mustangs' Ashlee Spriggs and Jori Nwachukwu were also named to the all-tournament team along with McFarland. In the process of getting to the finals, McNamara erased an 18-point second-half deficit to defeat Texas defending 5A state champion Duncanville.

Meanwhile, Riverdale's boys continued to roll. The Crusaders became the Lone Star Invitational leader in victories by claiming the 2004 championship. Riverdale Baptist is now 12-3 in three consecutive seasons playing in the tournament.

This year, the Crusaders had to outlast some local competition. Riverdale Baptist got past Paul VI (Va.) of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference in the tournament final, 61-51.

The Crusaders were led by strong performances from Travis Ivey and Michael Beasley, who were both named to the all-tournament squad.

Riverdale Baptist was without three of its stars including senior Devin Sweetney and Yannick Brinbridge, who were out with injuries, and Edwin Bailey who was benched for disciplinary reasons.

E-mail Terron Hampton at

thampton@gazette.net.