Katie Robinette yesterday pronounced her second visit to the Washington area successful, after she and her team of girls basketball all-stars from Nebraska won the under-17 title of the U.S. junior nationals at American University's Bender Arena.
Robinette's only complaint was about the area's traffic, but she and her teammates' route to the championship seemed easy, as they went 11-0 in the tournament and defeated the Michigan Belles in the final, 74-58, with K.C. Cowgill scoring 23 points and Robinette 20.
No local team made the tournament's round of 16. The Beltway Cougars, based in Prince George's County, went 6-1 and lost in the championship game of their pool. The tournament featured 124 teams from 24 states, with teams using the best players from high schools in their area. The Nebraska team drew from the entire state. It won the title five years ago, and has placed in the top five each of the past four years. "Everybody probably looks at it as being some farmer state," Cowgill said. "We proved them wrong."
More than 400 college coaches were in attendance, tournament director Mike Flynn said, and many were there to see Robinette. The 6-foot-2 junior forward played for the Nebraska all-stars last summer in the tournament, when the team finished fifth.
"I have a really good high school team [South Sioux City High] and we were ranked nationally, but we didn't win the state title this year, so this means a lot," Robinette said.