By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Columbus, Ohio, is a long way from Harlem. Frank FR Crantz had the opportunity to see just how far when he played in the US Eastern Regional Basketball Championships, July 12-18, held at Columbus.
Crantz, a junior at Harlem High School, helped lead his Montana team to a fifth place finish at the tournament.
The team was comprised of basketball players from across the state from Trout Creek to Billings who vied for the 10 spots at a tryout in Butte.
He found out about the tournament when a letter was given to him through the school, Crantz said. He and family traveled to Butte for the tryouts and Crantz was chosen from about 200 players.
At Columbus, Crantz attended opening ceremonies and practiced with his temporary team for two days.
One great thing was playing with different people and getting to know them, Crantz said.
The Montana team played four days of pool league play and went into the championship round ranked seventh out of 40 teams. In the final two days of play, Montana split, going 3-for-3 and taking fifth overall.
There was pretty good talent over there, Crantz said. It was a little harder than here. They were taller, quicker players.
The experience of playing at a competitive tournament outside Montana was not lost on his grandmother, Glorian, either.
I think he learned great leadership out of this, she said. It was good for him to get off the reservation and to see other players.
Since Crantz, only 16, will have one more year of high school eligibility after this season of play, he hopes to return to the regionals next year to learn a little more about basketball.