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9 Assault capture national crown And the national championship trophy that the Assault hoisted after the final buzzer of the championship game was more a symbol of the team hard work than an award for being the tournament best team. season was a special season, said Assault coach Donald Toatley, an Upper Marlboro resident. had some very special players. It was an extremely exciting tournament. The kids enjoyed themselves and got a chance to play basketball at Disney World. most impressive is that the Assault U 9 team was composed of only eight players, of which were extremely valuable, Toatley said. The Assault roster included Lawrence Thompson, Prentiss Hubb and Donovann Toatley of Upper Marlboro and Nicholas Sharma of Bowie, along with Randolph Miller of Fort Meade, the District Joseph Hampton, Trevon Duval of Baltimore and Darryl Morsell of Owings Mills. Though the team amassed a 42 1 record this season against other U 9 teams, Toatley challenged his squad by having it face older competition on a regular basis. season, we actually been playing up, Toatley said. when we traveled, we played against 10 and under competition. We even won a [Potomac Valley Association] spring league. At 10 and under, we did fairly well. It actually allowed the kids to be faced with more adversity early on in the season. Our opponents were bigger kids, faster and stronger and we were always challenged. When we played against [U 9 competition], it was a step down for us. said he could see his team outclass its opponents at the national tournament, and the point differentials showed that edge. Toatley said his team frequently was forced to play under the AAU newly installed 20 point mercy rule during the seven games. The rule prohibits teams with leads of 20 points or more from playing full court press defense, requiring them to defend from within the three point arc. Toatley said the Assault led, 22 3, at halftime of the championship game against American Roundball Corporation of Sherman Oaks, Calif. The Assault went on to claim a 27 13 win, and their average margin of victory in the seven national tournament games was 22.4 points. Thompson father, Richard, said he hopes the team learned valuable lessons during the experience. hope they know the benefit of hard work, Richard Thompson said. you put your mind to, you can get it despite anything. You gotta learn teamwork and the logic behind it, like when you in the work world. Sometimes you can let ego get in the way of the team concept. Prentiss Hubb father, Prentiss Sr.: of the kids have actually grown from a mental aspect. [They seen] the mental toughness you need to win a championship.