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Tue, Oct. 20

Middle school Phantoms end season

The Phantoms middle school basketball team ended their season last weekend with tournaments on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, in the B team conference tournament at Seligman, the Phantoms lost the first game, 25-24, to the hosting Spartans in a single-elimination, first-round tournament.

The young team played inspired basketball, leading 22-17 at one point in the fourth quarter, but they couldn't hold the lead.

The Phantoms were led by Daniel Celis who had a season-high 15 points in a breakout performance. He showed strong leadership on the court, said Phantoms Coach Dale Kissner, stepping up and making himself a dominant presence in the low post for the first time this year.

John Kissner performed well on defense, stealing the ball for a couple of easy layups and contributing 5 points; Chris Vessey and Jonathan Huff contributed 2 points apiece.

On Saturday, the A team conference tournament was held at Ash Fork. The Phantoms went up against two very strong opponents and came up on the short end of the score in both games, losing 59-19 to Peach Springs and 51-25 to Seligman.

"The Phantoms have been lacking in size in the low post and overall experience this year compared to the other teams," said Coach Kissner.

Also, though the team has 11 players, this weekend was the first all season that all were able to play; often for both practices and games there were only six or seven players available, making it hard to form a solid team under the circumstances this year. Despite that, Kissner said the Phantoms fought hard. Both games were very physical, especially in the low post, with Daniel Celis having to come out of the Seligman game briefly in the second half with a bloody nose and Andrew Araiza fouling out of the game in the fourth quarter.

In the Peach Springs game, Cuco Jaime was the leading scorer with 13 points, John Kissner added 4 points and Daniel Celis had 2 points. In the Seligman game, Cuco Jaime was the leading scorer with 10 points, Daniel Celis had 7 points, John Kissner had 5 points and Jonathan Huff had 3. Kissner said it was a learning experience for the kids this year and he knows that those returning to middle school basketball next year will be better for the experience

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