Splash Brothers

The Splash Brothers third grade boys basketball team wrapped up a solid winter campaign with first place at the Columbia Gorge Classic last weekend in Hood River. In the photo are, left to right, back row, Austen Alsup, Creed Weedman, Diego Ambriz, and Ben Grahm. In the front row are Jayden Mondragon, Nautis Kerr, Christian Rubio, and Levi Alsup.

Head coach Jesse Alsup had his third grade boys basketball team called the Splash Brothers hitting on cylinders last week, as they cruised to a perfect 4-0 record to grab first place at the season-ending Columbia Gorge Classic Tournament put on by Flames Basketball last Sunday in Hood River.

After a lopsided opening-round win versus The Warriors, the Splash Brothers engaged in a gritty battle with Oregon Basketball Club, who pushed TSB to play one of its best games. It was a close scoring game in both halves, until OBC broke away in the last two minutes to gain a one-point lead with six seconds left in regulation.

OBC looked to be in control with the ball and time running out, but Splash Brother player Diego Abriz stole an inbounds pass and made the downcourt pass to a teammate Levi Alsup, who drove and scored on a layup and a foul shot. Alsup sank the free throw to give his squad a two-point lead with six seconds left. OBC could not get the ball down the court for a tying or winning shot, so the Splash Brothers hung on for the 33-31 win to move into Sunday’s semifinals.

In that matchup, top-seeded TSB hit the court against OBC once again and they went on to secure a 38-19 triumph to advance to the championship against Hood River.

TSB played a tough defensive game in the final and held small leads throughout action. Hood River made a late charge, however, and The Splash Brothers did not wilt under the defensive pressure and locked down a 33-27 win, despite being out-sized and having a shortened bench.

“As a coach, I couldn’t be more proud of these boys for their work ethic and dedication to the game of basketball,” coach Alsup said. “I believe they had decided that they were going to make a statement and they put out everything they had to end the year with a championship. Their play in the CGC tournament was exceptional as a team. When you play those high level teams, win or lose, it has a way of taking a team to a new level.”

Previously placing second in the Hoops For Kindness Tournament in Vancouver, Wash., coach Alsup said that they saw what they were capable of, especially against The Portland Future in that same tourney.

“That pushed this team to a new level of play and they left that on the court during the CGC tournament,” coach Alsup said.

Last weekend’s efforts in Hood River improved The Splash Brothers’ AAU Tournament record to 17-11 on top of their 8-1 regular season record.

Coach Alsup had a quick and small group to lead, with Austen and Levi Alsup playing guard spots, and Jayden Mondragon, Nautis Kerr, Ben Grahm, Creed Weedman, Christian Rubio and Diego Ambriz taking on various roles inside the paint and on the perimeter.

With some runner-up performances and tournament wins under their belts, The Splash Brothers have proven that they are just getting started.

These third grade standouts will only get bigger, faster and stronger from here.

“These boys want to play basketball,” coach Alsup said. “They just have a passion for it. I am very much looking forward to their future.”

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