River City AAU team advances at national tourney

Published 9:45 am Friday, July 24, 2015

The River City Thunder is about to take its game to the next level.

Shaunterrence Walton scored 19 points, Chavis Smith had 10 and Trey Warren nine as the Thunder beat the Dallas Raptors 48-33 Friday at the Primetime Sports National Basketball Championship AAU tournament in Dallas.

With the victory, the Thunder — an AAU team comprised of players from Warren Central, Vicksburg High and St. Aloysius — finished 2-1 in pool play and advanced to the championship bracket of the 72-team tournament.

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The Thunder were scheduled to play an elimination game Friday night.

“That’s the goal, is to reach the championship bracket and play Saturday. That’s when the stars come out. They’re looking for the gold ball,” Thunder coach Julius Cosby said.

All of the other teams in the Thunder’s pool are from Texas.

On Thursday, the Thunder split its first two pool play games, losing 63-58 to the Dallas Generals before beating Impact Basketball 49-37.

Walton scored 24 points and Warren had 13 against the Generals, but the Thunder fell behind by double digits early and struggled to catch up.

The Thunder chopped a 15-point deficit down to three in the closing moments before the Generals hit a couple of free throws to ice it.

In the second game, the Thunder flipped the script. They jumped on top of Impact by 16 points and kept the margin in double figures the whole way.

“I was pretty happy with our defense. We were in control the whole time. We were up 16 to 18 the whole time, and every time they tried to make a run we shut them down,” Cosby said. “We didn’t have anybody that really led the team in scoring. Everybody had some points. Everybody just did their job.”

Cosby thanked the team’s sponsors and supporters in Vicksburg. The Thunder financed their trip by staging fundraisers and soliciting donations. The team “barely made it” to Dallas, Cosby said, but now that they’re there they’ll try to make their hometown backers proud.

“All the people around the community, thank you for the donations. The kids went around and knocked on doors and people supported us,” Cosby said. “They stepped up and got us here.”