An under-16 Aviano-based basketball team that includes two prominent American players won a tournament – equivalent to a state title in the U.S. – in Gorizia, Italy, on Sunday.

Aviano Basket defeated previously unbeaten Giogina Aiello Basket of Udine 79-67 in the title game. Chris Carthon, a freshman at Aviano High School, had a team-high 29 points. Matteo De Luca, an Italian, scored 22. Andre Dean, a sophomore point guard at Aviano, had 13 points. Dean had scored 38 and 30 points in the two previous games of the round-robin tournament, while Carthon totaled 34 points in the two games.

Aviano Basket had qualified for the tournament, featuring the best teams in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region, by winning its local league and a pair of tournaments. Aviano went 16-2 during its regular season, which started in October.

Dean had 22 points and Bobby Henderson, an eighth-grader on base, had 16 points as the team defeated Basket Fossaltese 95-51 in Aviano for the provincial championship on April 22.

Henderson and Darius Fields, a ninth-grader who is home-schooled, also participated on the 16-member team at times. Only two foreign players are allowed to play on a team at one time, consistent with Italian rules across a variety of sports.

Coach Michael Williams said the victory Sunday places the team in a new category. It will receive financial assistance and travel much further to play against teams in a higher division next year.

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