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Jul. 2—Amari Hudson and Zymir Knox knew their Gray team was the favorites to come out on top of Thursday’s youth tournament portion of the West Side Shootout.

The popular event at the courts adjacent to where West Junior High School once stood opened Thursday after a year off due to COVID-19.

The Yellow team, their opponents in the championship game, had other ideas.

After trailing early in the

first half, the Yellow team clawed back to within a point to make it a 19-18 game at halftime.

In the second half, though, the favorites left no doubt as to who the best team was.

They took command early and cruised to a 44-27 win.

“We just had to get back on defense and get back to playing basketball,” Knox said.

The Gray team started the second half on a 10-2 run to open up a 28-20 advantage and never looked back.

Hudson, who had 13 points in the first half, scored his only points early in the second off a nifty pass from Knox.

Then the defense kicked in, causing a turnover, which was cashed in by Joel Navarro for another hoop.

Navarro followed that with a coast-to-coast trip for a hoop, then a putback by Knox and another basket off a dish by Hudson pretty much sealed the matter.

Hudson finished with a

game-best 15 points and Knox had 13. Knox is from Willoughby and Hudson from


Both boys have friends

and family in the Ashtabula area and both said the fun

they had was well worth the trip.

“It was a great time,” Hudson said. “Getting to play with all our peers and stuff, it was a lot of fun”

The Gray team was like the other teams playing in the tournament — a mix of locals along with out of towners. Many of them just met Thursday morning, but within a few hours, they shared a championship together.

Gray coach Trey Sistrunk said seeing them learn to work with each other is what it’s all about.

“It’s good,” Sistrunk said. “We definitely need to work on some things, but they worked together and went undefeated. They’re all good kids and they all know how to play their game, and they did that [today].”

Theron Osborne, who headed up the Yellow squad, said his team also just got put together a few hours before the start of play.

“It was a pretty good experience,” Osborne said. “A lot of our kids are football players. We were an undermatched team, but we still did OK.”

John Paul Butler led the Yellow team with 11 points, while Stephen Kinkoph added six.