The Lake Norman Magic girls' basketball team recently played against some of the nation's best competition in the Youth Basketball of America National Championships in Orlando, Fla.
The Lake Norman Magic is composed of girls ages 11 and12 from within a 10-mile radius of Huntersville. With head coach Stephen Dean and assistant coaches Mike Hendershott and Kevin Dunn, the team played 36 games this season with an overall record of 31-5. It qualified for the national championships after finishing third out of 12 teams in the N.C. Division One State Tournament.
When asked about the most memorable moment, Dean said, “We were down seven points with 1:52 (remaining) versus the Freedom Stars (from Philadelphia). Anna Diggs hit a three-pointer with five seconds to force overtime. The Freedom Stars and Atlanta Select are huge Amateur Athletic Union programs with national recognition.”
Tom Bartolomeo, parent of player Rachel Bartolomeo, said, “Back in February after the team was selected, coach Dean gave all the girls their uniforms. He also gave every girl a warm-up T-shirt that had a quote on the back of it which said, ‘One Team One Goal.'
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“The goal was to qualify for the national tournament in Orlando. They exceeded that goal. I think every girl learned some very good life lessons, which will be remembered way beyond this basketball season, about teamwork, setting goals and the value of working hard to achieve them. It was joy to watch this team come together and play.”
What is the secret to the team's success?
“It is not possible without the support of the parents,” Dean said.
During the season, the Magic won four of the six tournaments before the nationals. Many girls have attended the Annette Watts Women's Basketball Camp at Davidson College. Many have played since they were 6 years old in the Huntersville Youth Athletic Association league. Nine of the 11 players were able to attend the national championships. All nine scored at least one basket during the tournament.
“I am most impressed by the amount of energy and enthusiasm our team displayed this year,” Dean said. “There was no difference between the first game in March and our last game on July 19th.Our season lasted five months. That speaks volumes for the heart and determination for these 11- and 12-year-old girls. I am proud to have had the opportunity to coach them.”
The Magic hit 26 three-pointers during the seven-game national tournament, including six in the semifinals and five in the final.
Anna Diggs was crowned the YBOA national three-point champion in the 11-and-under division. Selena Dunn and Anna Diggs were named to the All-National Tournament Team.
International Carwash Association's Scholarship
The International Carwash Association has announced scholarship winners for 2008, and one is from Huntersville.
Scott Estes, a student at UNC Charlotte and an assistant manager at AutoBell Car Wash, received the International Carwash Association Scholarship. Estes plans to graduate in 2009 with a degree in business management and hopes to continue his career at AutoBell. Applicants for the scholarships must be employees, or direct family members of employees, of an International Carwash Association member. They must be a graduating high school senior, or have graduated in the past three years and enrolled at an accredited post-secondary educational institution.
For more information, visit www.carwash.org.