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News

Smith Panthers basketball sweeps Cochise Tournament

By Jennifer Vollmer Colonel Smith Middle School’s boys basketball team finished on top of their conference Dec. 12 closing out their championship game against St. David Middle School with a score of 60 to 45.

The Smith Panthers won the semi-final game against Naco Middle School 58 to 45 to advance to the final game.

“These young men played hard from the start of the game until the finish. They gave 100 percent in every game,” said Larry Vaznonis, Smith’s head basketball coach. “All of the teams we played dominated us in height, but we used our speed and quickness to our advantage.”

Smith has two boys’basketball teams – an “A-Team” and a “B-Team.” The teams were comprised of 22 boys ranging from 6th through 8th grade. Although only A- Teams are eligible to compete in conference champion- ship play, both of Smith’s teams were successful and went undefeated through their entire seasons.

Vaznonis attributes much of the teams’ success to

Fourteen of the players are expected to return next season, although only two of the boys haveA-Team experience. Even with the limited A-Team experi- ence of next year’s team, Vaznonis isn’t worried they’ll lose much steam. “The good and encouraging news is that our B-Team was also undefeated at 12-0. Those players are expected to carry their success to the next level,” he said. “My hopes for the basketball program at Colonel Smith Middle School is to grow every year due to the suc- cessful season we just had. I want people to know what Colonel Smith basketball is all about and build a well respected program each new season.” his coaching staff. “I also had a very good and capable assistant coach in Paco Perez. Volunteer coach Scott Stansberry was helpful too,” he said. Panthers Basketball Team Vaznonis is a recent transplant from Indiana. In ad- dition to coaching Smith’s basketball team, he teaches physical education at General Myers Elementary School. Courtesy photo

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