Dora 5th-grade team wins Campus Challenge tourney

The Dora fifth-grade basketball team won the first leg of the Campus Challenge over the weekend, competing at the University of Missouri - Kansas City.

The Campus Challenge features the best fifth- through eighth-grade teams from Missouri and surrounding states.

The team, coached by Rick Luna, opened up play against the BV Swish team from Overland Park, Kans., 49-20. Next, the Dora squad played the Victory Basketball Gunners from Lee's Summit and won, 50-35.

Luna said those two games concluded the pool play part of the bracket, and the Falcons came out of their pool as the number one seed from Pool C.

On Sunday, Dora faced the second-ranked team from Pool A, B3C Running Gunners from Kansas City, Mo. The Falcons won, 47-33. Then Dora took on the Columbia Chaos from Columbia and won that contest, 50-34.

That win put Dora in the championship game against PowerGroup 2020 from Lenexa, Kans. PowerGroup was the defending Campus Challenge champion from 2011 and the reigning United States Specialty Sports Association state champions.

According to Luna, the PowerGroup team pulls kids from Wichita, Topeka and the Kansas City area.

Dora defeated the defending champs, 51-44, handing PowerGroup their first-ever loss.

"I couldn't be prouder of the way my seven boys played this past weekend," Luna said. "It was a total team effort from all the guys. Every game we play we go into it outsized because we have two third-graders, four fourth-graders and only one fifth-grader on the team.  Every team we face is a full squad of fifth-grade boys."

The great thing about this team is we can have a different leading scorer every single game, and these boys play super hard on the defensive end," Luna said. Luna said most of his team is comprised of Dora students, but he also has a few students from West Plains area elementary schools, such as Richards and Glenwood.

The second leg of the Campus Challenge is the KU Challenge in Lawrence, Kans., Jan 4-7, and the final leg of the tournament is the MU Challenge Jan 11-13 in Columbia. Each team gets points for the place they finish in the Campus Challenge (for all three tournaments) and as of now, Dora is ranked first overall.

<p>Front row: (left) Landon Luna (Dora), Isaac Haney (Richards), Bryson Luna (Dora). Back row: Connor Rackley (Glenwood),  Colby Hoover (Richards), Mason Luna (Dora),  Auston Luna (Dora) and Coach Rick Luna.</p>

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