Mardi Gras Gators win YBOA National Tournament

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - A huge honor for the Mardi Gras Gators, a seventh grade girls' basketball team from Denham Springs. The Gators won this year's Youth Basketball of America (YBOA) National Championship Tournament.

The tournament, held in Florida,  featured not only teams from around the country, but also from Puerto Rico, Mexico and Aruba.

The team's coach, Delia Taylor was full of praise for the Gators, "The girls played extremely well, improving their play as the tournament progressed. They also were great ambassadors of the game, representing the Mardi Gras Gators organization and their local community with positive actions and attitudes on and off the court."

"I am very proud of the girls for accomplishing a feat that most others can only dream of doing.  I hope this experience always serves as a positive reminder of what team work and lots of practice and determination can produce."

After losing to Memphis' Tennessee Glory earlier in the tournament, the two teams met again in the championship game Saturday and this time the Mardi Gras Gators won 77-52 to take the title.

The team averaged 57 points a game while holding their opponents to 45 points, with each player scoring and earning playing time in the tournament.

Three local players earned honors for their play and accomplishments:  Reek Spikes of Denham Springs, a student at South side Junior High, and Carta Ursine of St. Rose, a student at Albert Common Middle School, were named to the 2012 YBOA All-Tournament Team; and Caroline Taylor of Denham Springs, a student at South side Junior High, received the tournament's Hustle Award and All Academic Award for having maintained a 4.0 grade point average in her school work.

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