Only in youth basketball can a group of players walk onto a court, decide their team is named the Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies and go out and win a championship.
That’s just what the FBRD girls did in the Green Hornets fifth/sixth-grade girls club basketball league.
The team of Abigail Almodovar-Vives, Mimi Castaneda, Olivia Hilbert, Megan Krause, Syrenna McNutt, Sita Parikh, Celia Richardson, Gabriela Villegas and Lily Wells avenged its only loss of the season in the league championship game at Benfield Elementary on February 22, defeating the Ballhogs 16-8 to win the crown and finish the year 10-1.
Coached by Lee Ann Richardson and Omar Villegas, the Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies went 3-0 in the playoffs, with come-from-behind wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
They faced a stiff test from the Ballhogs in the final but came away with a win.
“The Ballhogs are an extremely quick team that likes to use pressure defense to cause turnovers, which they convert into easy baskets. They were the highest-scoring team in the league,” said coach Richardson. “We knew we needed to play tough defense, play at our pace and protect the ball on offense, and use our height advantage on the boards if we were going to win. The girls executed the game plan perfectly. I am so proud of them.”
The win was special for the Rubber Duckies, who had suffered playoff defeats in previous years.
“Most of these girls have been playing for Coach Omar and I since first grade,” said Richardson. “We’ve gotten knocked out in the semifinals several times, so to not only make the final game, but win, meant a lot to them. They worked hard all season and just kept getting better as the season went on.”
Coach Villegas said of the Rubber Duckies, “The great thing about coaching these girls is seeing how much they support each other, even when things were not going well.”
Richardson applauded Green Hornets girls basketball commissioner Ed Davis on facilitating a great experience for the whole league.
“Commissioner Ed Davis deserves kudos for organizing an evenly matched and competitive league that consisted of 10 teams,” said Richardson. “He has done a tremendous job building the program.”