River City AAU team falls behind

Published 10:50 pm Saturday, July 25, 2015

Coming off the high of a thrilling comeback victory, the River City Thunder was laid low Saturday by a methodical, machine-like opponent.

The Thunder, an AAU team comprised of Warren County high school players, lost 61-40 to DBA White in the championship bracket of the Primetime Sports National Basketball Championship tournament in Dallas.

The Thunder trailed by two points at halftime, but the undersized group couldn’t keep up with their Dallas-based opponent on the offensive boards, coach Julius Cosby said.

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DBA White used that advantage to score second chance points and get easy baskets off of screens, and turned the close game into a rout.

“We played a good fundamental team that was bigger than us,” Cosby said.

“We kept up with them in the first half. Coming out the second half, it looked like it took a lot out of us. We looked fatigued, and we looked like their defense was getting to us.”

The Thunder was also playing without its best post player.

Kirk Parker, a rising senior at Vicksburg High, was playing with another AAU team at a tournament in Las Vegas.

“It was a bigger team, bigger tournament with some college coaches there, more exposure. I don’t blame him,” Cosby said. “He called us every day to see how we were doing.”

Despite the loss in the single-elimination championship bracket, the Thunder had a good showing at the 72-team tournament.

They went 2-1 in pool play to reach the 36-team championship bracket for the second consecutive year, then beat the Dallas Warriors 46-45 on Friday night on a layup by Shaunterrence Walton with less than 10 seconds to play to advance to the round of 32.

Walton’s layup capped an 11-0 run over the last five minutes that rallied the Thunder from a 10-point deficit.

Cosby said that while the comeback gave his team some momentum and was a highlight, it also seemed to lead to a letdown when they took the court again 14 hours later.

“As a player, you have to bounce back and can’t let it bother you,” Cosby said.

Cosby added that the journey to get to the tournament was as instructional as anything the Thunder learned on the basketball court.

The team held fundraisers and solicited donations to pay for the trip.

Cosby thanked their supporters not just for helping them get to Dallas, but for teaching his players a life lesson.

“I think they learned, more than anything, how to get out and talk to people in the community,” he said. “That’s what this is really all about. They learned how to be men.”