MARYSVILLE — The Marysville AAU Basketball program hosted the Wesco AAU Tournament from March 1-3, and it was a Marysville team that took first place in the fifth-grade boys division.
Matt Chism is the director of Marysville AAU Basketball and the coach of the fifth-grade boys Wesco team.
“What’s been really special about coaching this team is that they are really a fantastic group of boys,” he said. “They are really great athletes and they are all team players who are really coachable. They all want to play together as a group and they can execute changes as needed. Their overall commitment to basketball is amazing. How they have grown as a group and been able to be competitive and win the tournament this weekend was so great for them. To be known as league champions, you have to win the league tournament. This was a goal that was very special to them.”
The team played four games in the tournament against other feeder programs, including Cascade, Glacier Peak, Kings and Shorecrest.
“Shorecrest is considered one of the best feeder programs in this area, and winning just showed how well these kids can make adjustments,” said Chism.
The boys won the final championship game against Shorecrest, 54-31, and finished with a 41-1 record for the season. The boys sixth-grade team took second place in the tournament and the seventh-grade team took sixth place.
Chism is hoping that a revamping of the Marysville AAU program and the success of their current teams will attract more players.
“We took over last year and have made quite a few changes and grown the strength of the program,” he said. “We used to average 13-14 kids at tryouts for a 10-man team, and last year we averaged 30 kids per 10-man team. We’ve grown from having four teams in the Wesco feeder program to having eight teams.”
Marysville AAU has boys Wesco teams for grades 4-8, and SWISH teams for the same grade levels. They also have girls teams for grades 5-8. The goal of the program is to grow quality Marysville basketball players to support the local high school teams.
“Our fourth- to seventh-grade SWISH teams practice up in Mount Vernon, but our main locations are at Marysville-Pilchuck High School and Totem Middle School,” said Chism.
When Chism took over as the director of the program, it was called Marysville-Pilchuck AAU, prior to the inauguration of Marysville Getchell varsity sports.
“There are both Marysville-Pilchuck and Marysville Getchell high schools, so we changed it to Marysville AAU and completely rebranded the program so that the community could support both high schools,” he said. “All of the kids in our program go to school in the Marysville School District. That’s what has been so special about our teams. They are just being an overall feeder for the high schools. There are kids at both high schools who went through our program.”
“The goal is to grow to the point when we can give each school 10 basketball players every year,” said Chism. “Right now, we can give them 10 players between the two of them, so we need to double our numbers. What we want is for kids in the community who are interested in playing at a high level of basketball to come try out.”
For those interested in participating in the program or coaching visit www.marysvilleaaubasketball.com.