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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

Dale Hansen Elite takes over Lincoln

TikTok inspired AAU team dominates tournament against organized teams
Brady Mar, Jordan Gassen, Holden Clausen, Cooper Fortune, and Michael Bartholomew come out as the starting lineup for DHE. The team only had 6 players to play, making the starting group very tired. “I came in thinking that the competition was going to be much harder, since only 2 of us play organized basketball still,” Mar said. “But we came in and took care of business pretty easily.”

What started as a TikTok trend of friends putting together an AAU basketball team with custom tank tops, turned into reality for friends Michael Bartholomew, Brady Mar, Sam Blecha, Jordan Gassen, Holden Clausen, Cooper Forture, and Bobby Joseph were inspired to make their own AAU team. 

They draw their own numbers and logos on the tank tops for their jerseys. The name Dale Hansen Elite came from a friend of theirs who is not on the team. This was their second year in a row playing for this AAU team, finishing second in 2022 after losing in the championship and going 3-1, and winning the tournament in 2023 after going 4-0.

“We didn’t have any practices before the tournament that we entered in this year, so I was a little skeptical about how we would perform,” senior coach Sam Blecha said. “But after the first game, I really started to think we had a chance at winning the whole tournament because of the communication that we had.”

Blecha is one of the friends who helped put this team together and has coached the team for two years. He was originally supposed to be a player, but tore his ACL before the team was ever fully assembled, he helps out the team by calling timeouts, hyping up the team, and keeping stats. After a heartbreaking loss in the championship game in 2022, coach Blecha looked to turn around the luck and win the 2023 championship.

“I wasn’t sure if we were going to play again this year after taking home second place in last year’s tournament, but was really excited when we all agreed that we wanted to play again for the second year in a row,” senior player Brady Mar said. “We put four good games together and walked out with some hardware to put the icing on the cake.”

Last year DHE started hot, winning their first three games by big margins, until they faced a very good, organized basketball team in the championship. They played the entire game very close and ended up losing in heartbreaking fashion by a few points. They bounced back this year by winning four out of four games and won the championship, which came with a medal.

“I had so much fun playing with this team because we are all just friends having fun and playing some basketball together,” senior player Jordan Gassen said. “The most fun moment of the tournament was in the third game when I shot the ball at the end of the game. I made it and we ended up winning on a buzzer-beater, the crowd was cheering and our whole team stormed the court as we celebrated on the court.”

In the third game of this year’s tournament, DHE played close all game and found themselves down two points with 0.7 seconds left on the clock. Two players forced a turnover by the other team and coach Blecha called timeout. Senior Michael Bartholomew threw the ball down the court to Gassen at the top of the three-point line, Gassen caught it, turned around, and shot the ball as the buzzer sounded. Nothing But Net, DHE took the win by one point and ended up winning the final game to claim the championship. They look to maybe play in a third tournament for the third year in a row, and try to claim another championship for DHE.

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Holden Clausen
Holden Clausen, Staff Reporter
Holden is a senior and this is his first year on the Catalyst staff. He likes to spend his time doing various things such as hanging out with his family and friends, playing sports, watching sports, and working. He enjoys writing about and reviewing things such as sports games, new restaurants, and movies.

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