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|Twin Cities play host to AAU basketball tournament|
Over 60 teams from around the country competed this weekend on basketball courts across the Twin Cities for a chance to qualify for a spot in the AAU National Basketball Championships.
Thirty-five of those teams stayed in area hotels over the Memorial Day weekend. Teams visited Monroe from as far as Maryland.
"Memorial Day weekend is typically a slow period for our area hotels," said Alana Cooper, executive director of the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau. "This tournament increased the number of room nights booked this weekend and resulted in a positive economic impact on our area.
"I had hotels calling saying they had more rooms filled," Cooper said. "The tournament was important from that standpoint. I would say 10 or 15 people came with each team, not including the players on the team."
The tournament began Saturday and ended Sunday. The winners of each division will now move on to the National Basketball Championship tournament of the AAU.
On the girls side, Ponchatoula Hurricanes took home the gold in the 10-and-under division. The Lady Bears were champions in the 11-and-under category.
A hotly contested championship game in front of a solid crowd at West Monroe High School saw the Acadiana Stars win the title in the 12U division.
The New Orleans Domino's were the top team coming into the tournament in the 13U division. That held true as New Orleans scorched all competitors on their way to the tournament championship for their age group.
Another New Orleans-area squad was champion of the 14U division as the Kenner Angels fought their way through the bracket and won the title.
The only out-of-state squad to win a championship over the weekend was the Mississippi Lady Jaguars who won the title in the 15U category.
The top division, Juniors, saw the Lady Heat take home the trophy after overcoming some adversity in the championship round and cruising to the crown.
On the boys side, Southeastern Louisiana Warriors of Hammond won the championship in the 14U bracket.
In the 16U bracket, the Lafayette Suns won after overcoming some turnover problems and made key fourth-quarter free throws to secure the gold.
Team Impact won the 17U championship trophy in the tournaments toughest division with solid defense and big baskets down the stretch.
Plans are already in the works by the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau to bring even more great sports events like the AAU tournament into Ouachita Parish, Cooper said.