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Clovis team headed for national tourney

Third- and fourth-grade basketball players from Clovis will play in a nationally recognized tournament Saturday and Sunday at the University of Texas in Arlington. Their coach, David Dawson, said 20 players were called to tryouts recently and 11 were chosen.

“We called 20 players we had seen playing in various local leagues,” Dawson said. “The 11 that we chose will be competing against teams from California, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado. We are the only New Mexico team in the tournament.”

Marshall Winn, 9, is a member of the team. His mother said he is excited.

“He is happy to have the chance to play basketball some more before football season starts,” said Melissa Winn. “I think his playing basketball is a lot better than sitting on the couch playing Nintendo.”

Dawson said the tournament, the Southwest Youth Basketball Tournament, is sponsored by Adidas and may serve as a stepping stone to greater national recognition for the Clovis squad.

“If we do well, then we can qualify for berths in other national tournaments,” Dawson said, “and our kids can get national recognition.”

Dawson calls his squad the “Clovis New Breed.” He has been coaching youth basketball for 18 years including time at the high school level. Recently he has coached in the local youth league, Play Inc.