According to Thunderbirds coach Conrad Yanito, the GCMS boys racked up a 5-0 record during the two-day Thunderbird Winter Shootout. The team’s first game was a 38-34 win over Paonia, Colo., which was followed by a 52-35 victory over Cortez, Colo. later Friday evening.
Saturday morning, the Thunderbirds defeated Roosevelt Middle School by the score of 35-26, which wrapped up pool play and put the T-Birds in the single-elimination round to determine the champion.
The Thunderbirds earned a bye due to their No. 2 seeding, then faced No. 3 seed Roosevelt again. The T-Birds won that game by the score of 35-30.
“That game felt a little closer than the score was,” said Yanito. “That win was important to get us into the championship game.”
In the other semi-final game, No. 1 seed Vernal lost in a 51-45 upset to Paonia, so GCMS then played Paonia in the finals.
In the championship game, the Thunderbirds outlasted Paonia by the score of 58-45, with Kenyon Birdwell leading the way for GCMS with 18 points and Christian Wilson contributing 12. The T-Birds five straight tournament wins improved their overall season record to 17-6, according to Yanito.
In the tournament’s consolation game, Vernal beat Roosevelt 41-34 to take third place.
This coming weekend, the GCMS seventh-grade team, which has only lost one game this season, will host a similar tournament. The event, called the Thunderbird Winter Classic, starts Friday, Feb. 22 and continues through Saturday, Yanito said. Final brackets and schedules for the tournament had not yet been determined as of Tuesday.