Fascinating games

Deam Team: Home Team Wins Gold at California State Games | Pictures

In San Diego at the three-day tournament for the 2022 California State Games last weekend, Porterville’s traveling home basketball team, the Dream Team, went undefeated in the 14-a-side division. years and under to win gold.

By defeating four teams in a row, the Dream Team accomplished an impressive feat under coach Albert Smith.

The Dream Team has a few years of camaraderie under its belt with Smith taking some of the kids in training as early as fifth grade. The defense-oriented team raced through opponents in the 14U division to come out on top.

The Dream Team’s first preliminary game defeated the Tracy Kings 58-35 early Friday. Next up for the Dream team was their biggest winning margin against STG 45-5.

On the same day, they will face the South Bay Vipers at the end of the day on Saturday, winning 54-25, again passing more than 50 points. Sunday’s big game was a repeat of the night before with the Dream Team leading the field and taking a 56-20 win over the South Bay Vipers.

The Dream Team consists of Shawn Smith, Aden Plyman, Andrew Plyman, Isaiah Colunga, Gabriel Carbajal, Nicholas Martinez, Cruz Campos, Alija Welsh, Israel Briggs and Duron Miranda. They attend Porterville High, Granite Hills, Mt. Whitney, Harmony Magnet Academy, Exeter High, and Summit Collegiate High School.

Coach Smith commented on his starting five. “Cruz Campos playing our power forward was amazing, Isaiah Colunga kept us tight with Israel Briggs and Aden Plyman. Shawn Smith was our playmaker and our group was so skilled it was just great to see these kids.

“Words cannot express how I feel,” added Coach Smith. It’s been an incredible weekend, a long, tiring, but incredible weekend.

He also commented on the growth of the team. “When we started playing, some of the kids back in grade 5, we made defense our top priority. We were practicing the presses and really taking advantage of the pressure all over the court and keeping the opponent’s scores low. It takes a lot of teamwork, and I would say they are the epitome of cooperation and unity.

“These kids have worked so hard and come together and stayed strong against these state competitors. Some children lose heart when they start to lose points; but the Dream Team was able to absorb the mistakes they made and then go back and change their game.”

Although the Dream Team qualified for the national championships, the team has to take a break and will not participate in the competition. However, they have earned a spot in the 2024 Nationals which will be held at the same San Diego sports complex as the California State Games.

Coach Smith described the competition and challenges the team faced leading up to the championships: “We were all excited to go when we showed up in San Diego. We had just done a raffle to get the funds we needed to come a few days before. With the help of J&R Meat, El Tapatio, Rising Stars Basketball, China’s Alley Mexican Restaurant, Grocery Outlet, Galaxy 9 Theatre, River Island Country Club, Studio 66 Tattoo, Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella and Porta Villa Market owner Joseph Abdullah, we did the cost and were able to show how much we appreciate it. We really want to say thank you to our community for letting us hang out.

Coach Smith said his players compared their experience to the Olympics. “You go out on a beautiful field and in front of all these people cheering for you,” he said. “It’s larger than life, you know? It was so awesome that I think some kids are still a little shocked by the competition. They had the discipline and hard work to bring their game to this level. We try to focus on a family-first mentality, with school right behind, finding the passions in our lives and giving back to society and our community to wrap it all up.

“Our children are not only respectful and kind, but lead the way in a positive way; instead of blindly following what they are told. Most of our children are on the honor roll in their respective schools. We demand a high standard in training and the kids really show how they have met that demand and lived up to it. Homework is easy compared to practice, but they all keep showing up and have a genuine love and passion for the game. They are proud, we are proud, to represent the community in this beautiful way.

The Dream Team can be found on their instagram with several videos and photos from the @dreamteam.559 event.