By Joshua Edler Davis

After fielding more than 144 teams from tribes with players of high school age from all over the country and Canada and even New Zealand, by Sunday afternoon only two were left holding the biggest trophies.

The Footprint Center was host to the 20th Native American Basketball Invitational championships, the destination after nearly a week of competition across metro Phoenix.

The girls division championship was played between Legendary Elite and Quiet Storm with Legendary Elite coming out on top in dominant fashion 69 to 47. Ashiaan Hunter was named MVP of the game as she led her team with 21 points. Zoie Austin of the Quiet Storm had a game high 25 points.

"I could say a thousand words about her (Hunter) but all that comes to mind is lots of heart. She plays with lots of heart and love for the game." Said Legendary Elite coach Donnie Gibson.

At the end of the first half legendary elite had a 22-point lead 40-18 as they played great defense and were making their 3-point shots. They stood their ground defensively to hold the advantage and every player would score in the game.

The boys division championship came down to the Oklahoma Runners and Akichita with Akichita coming through with the victory 85-67. The game was close throughout, but Akichita took control in the second half. Mark Fassett Jr. was named the MVP as he put in 14 points.

"This was for North Dakota; the MVP could have gone to anyone I'm just happy we won." Said Fassett Jr.

Congressman Greg Stanton was in attendance to announce that he was recognizing this tournament in the congressional record at the Library of Congress. "One of the coolest things I get to do as a member of congress is to place important people and important events in the record books at the Library of Congress." Said Stanton during the opening ceremonies.

Also, in attendance was Marjon Beauchamp of the Milwaukee Bucks as a representative to present the trophies. Beauchamp was a 1st round draft pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and is a Native American from Yakima Washington.

The Suns' indigenous-inspired court was on display which has the word "sun" in 22 native languages and 22 leaves surrounding the Suns' logo at center court. The Suns have a history of celebrating native culture as the Footprint Center has all 22 flags of the Tribal Nations in Arizona near the entrance to the arena.