Local Athletes Stand Out in Largest Winter Basketball Tournament To-Date

Published by The Bee News

December 29, 2022

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Bullhead City, AZ., December 29, 2022 – Tyson Banks of Mohave Accelerated Learning Center and Cayla Cotter of Mohave High School earned the honor of making their divisions’ All-Tournament Team during the 2022 Bullhead Holiday Shootout.

“We’re enormously proud of our local athletes,” said Mayor Steve D’Amico. “We know they work really hard, and its great to see their work pay off.”

The All-Tournament Team is a selection of the tournament’s most outstanding athletes selected by a panel of coaches, referees, and tournament staff. 6 athletes from each tournament division were selected to their division’s All-Tournament Team after the panel judged their performance during the tournament.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Parks and Recreation Superintendent David Heath, who planned and organized the tournament in collaboration with the Colorado River Union High School District. “This tournament brings a lot of extremely talented players to our area, and it means a lot to the athletes to be recognized as being a top performer in their division.”

The 2022 Bullhead Holiday Shootout hosted 26 high school basketball teams in the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse, making it the largest Holiday Shootout since the tournament began December 2015. The three-day-long tournament was held December 20 through December 22 and featured 4 divisions, playing on 3 courts, under 1 fieldhouse roof.

“Each division is its own tournament within the tournament,” said Heath. “Breaking up the tournament this way helps ensure the games are competitive, and the courts are efficiently utilized.”

The Tournament was broken down into a Diamond Division for boys and a Diamond Division for girls as well as a Platinum Division for Boys and a Platinum Division for girls.

“The Diamond Divisions represent teams from very large, and extremely competitive schools,” said Heath. “It’s not uncommon for our Diamond Division teams to end up in the MaxPreps top rankings.”

Heath continued, “The Platinum Division teams come from schools more average in size and competitiveness.”

The Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks from Oro Valley Arizona won the Boys Diamond Division 55 to 49 over North Canyon as well as the Girls Diamond Division 68 to 13 over North Canyon. Ironwood Ridge has an enrollment of 1830 students and competes in the Arizona 5A Southern Region. The Nighthawks girls team has a record of 10 wins and 2 losses, and the boys team has a record of 11 wins and 3 losses this season.

Mohave High School’s Lady Thunderbirds were the runners up in the Diamond Division with a 48-35 win over North Canyon.

“The team has been gelling well,” said Mohave High School Principal Gina Covert of the Lady Thunderbirds performance. “They look more cohesive each game.”

Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) won the Boys Platinum Division Championship 65-64 over White Pine. SLAM competes in the Nevada 3A Southern Mountain Region and has a record of 14 wins and zero losses this season.

Lincoln County won the Girls Platinum Division 53-43 over Del Sol. Lincoln County competes in the Nevada 2A Southern Region with an enrolment of 153 students and has a record of 10 wins and 3 losses this season.

“We’re very excited about the growth of this tournament, and what it represents for City’s economic future and success as a sports tourism destination,” said city manager Toby Cotter. “Bullhead City is the premiere destination for sports tourism in the Southwest, and every year more teams, more families, and more promoters are catching on.”

Sports tourism is a significant economic driver of Bullhead City’s economy. Large Tournaments hosted at City parks, or at facilities within city limits, bring thousands of people annually who reserve local lodging, and patron local business while they are in town.

“In the summer, Bullhead visitors primarily come for the warm beaches along the pristine Colorado River,” said Public Information Officer Mackenzie Covert. “Fall through Spring, they come for large parks filled with grassy sports fields that can host over one hundred teams in one place.”

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