Youth team headed to Great Five-State Basketball Championship

Marlys Barker Nevada
Journal Editor
Pictured are members of the Nevada fourth grade boys’ team (all going to be in fifth grade this fall), who won the Pacesetter State Tournament in March and are heading to Minnesota for the “Great Five-State Championship” this month. They are: (front row, from left) Austin Waldera, Clay Franzen, Zander Freeman, Kole Beving, Gavin Egeland; (back row) Drake Hinson, Cash Handsaker, Coach Chris Hinson, Coach Josh Beving, D.J. Dunham and Jack Spence. Photo by Marlys Barker

A team of young Nevada basketball players has been working hard in recent weeks to prepare for an upcoming tournament this weekend, that they earned the right to play in.

Coach Chris Hinson said the team, made up of boys who just finished fourth grade and will soon be in fifth grade, won a state qualifier in Pella back in March for their right to compete in the Great Five-State Championship, sponsored by Pacesetter.

They aren’t the first Nevada team to ever qualify for a Pacesetter event, Hinson said. But for this group of boys, competing on the level will be a first.

“We have a pretty good team, but they’re still young,” Hinson said. He wants the players not to worry as much about winning, as about learning and having fun.

Here’s what the players had to say when they were asked about going to this tournament…

Austin Waldera, son of Brian and Bristal Waldera: “We all have to try our hardest and not give up. We have to work as a team and most of all, have fun.”

Clay Franzen, son of Janelle and Neal Franzen: “We need to work together. It’s exciting to play basketball with my friends.”

Zander Freeman, son of Josh and Angie Freeman: “We need to focus on making good passes to be successful.”

Kole Beving, son of Josh and Andrea Beving: “I hope we can pass the ball well. Our team needs to choose good plays and hit people when they’re open.”

Gavin Egeland, son of Melissa and Adam Egeland: “We need to have confidence. This is probably the hardest tournament we have ever been in.”

Drake Hinson, son of Chris Hinson and Monika Stalzer: “I want to help my team out and be encouraging to them even if they make a mistake. I’m super-excited that we were the best (of the teams wanting to go). I’m excited that we could accomplish that.”

Cash Handsaker, son of Mark and Mary Handsaker: “I’m looking forward to having fun with my friends, having teamwork and playing as a team. We don’t want to get our heads down.”

D.J. Dunham, son of Matt and Dani Dunham: “I want to work on my layups. I’m pretty good at them, but I want to do that well.”

Jack Spence, son of Luke and Stephanie Spence: “I think being a team player and giving assists is going to be most important.”

Not pictured or available for this interview was team player Jaden Grimm, son of Jason and Heidi Grimm.