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Solid sport fun at school basketball tournament

CARLSBAD — After one rainout, the sun was shining and fun reigned March 31 at the Mini March Madness fifth grade basketball tournament held at Poinsettia Elementary School.
The Poinsettia playground was raucously alive with the merry mayhem of laughing players, cheering spectators (“Good footwork!” “Great basket!”), encouraging coaches (“Way to rebound!” “Full court press!”) and the pounding sound of bounding basketballs on the blacktop.
The competition was fierce, but friendly. Boys’ and girls’ teams from elementary schools around the Carlsbad district showed spirit and sportsmanship. Even youngsters on the losing teams said they had a great time practicing for weeks before the event, then participating in front of peers and family.
Capturing the titles were Calavera Hills Elementary girls, and, in a “threepeat,” Pacific Rim Elementary boys. Pacific Rim Principal Robert Devich attributes the trio of triumphs to “the excellent, consistent coaching of fourth grade teacher Walter Konieczko plus a little bit of luck. The competition is always high.”
“I like to encourage my students at all times,” Konieczko said. “There are a lot of ‘teachable moments’ when the kids are successful and when they can improve. I like to take advantage of these times while pointing out what is happening to help the kids learn. My one rule is, ‘Always try your best.’ I feel that if kids follow this rule, whether in the classroom or on the court, they will have some form of success.”
Jim Ogden, who came with his wife Annella to cheer on their Magnolia granddaughter, Mackenzie, said, “Makes me wish I could play again. These kids are having a blast.”