Fresh off two title victories at the inaugural Kings of the Coast Classic Invitational Tournament the first weekend of June, the South Georgia Kings pulled off a few more wins. They took the championship trophies in the 12U, 13U and 14U divisions at the River Street Summer Classic last weekend in Jacksonville. As a bonus, 13U Kings player Malcolm Dingle was named tournament MVP, and the 17U squad’s Rion Brown, a Liberty County High School standout, scored 41 points in one game.
"We lost one game the whole weekend and that was the sixth graders," South Georgia Kings organization president and 14U coach Jessie Fleming said.
The 14U squad battled the Coastal Georgia Suns in the title match winning 47-69. The 13U Kings took a 64-52 win against the Jacksonville Lee Bulls for their trophy. The 12U squad defeated the Brentwood Hurricanes 49-42 for their championship win.
The coaches said all the players had a good showing at the tournament.
"Macloclm Dingle played like a little LeBron James," Fleming said. "Joshua Powers, Javon Codden, Krenwick Sanders, Monte Wallace, and little Derrick (Brooks) they all played well the whole weekend."
"Eric Moore was really the standout players for the sixth graders," coach Derrick Brooks said.
"We’ve been working pretty hard for the last three to four months," 13U Kings coach Jose Pineda said about his squad’s victory. "The team we just beat was the championship team we lost to by 28 points in our first tournament. In this tournament we beat them twice, once by 12 and once by 13 so it’s been a big improvement in our players."
The eighth grade team is a three time champion of the River Street. The current sixth and seventh grade squads earned their first River Street titles. Because of the Kings’ performance in the last few years at River Street, the SGK teams are considered the marquis squad to watch.
Older King polayers, Rion Brown, James Sinclair and David Thomas were on hand as mentors of the 17U squad helping some of the eighth graders on the squad reach a 2-0 record before bowing out to allow the younger competitors a chance to play in their respective division championship games. Showing their skills 14U players JJ Frazier scored 27, Aaron Scott had 14 and Derrick Brooks hit 13 as they took the 17U Leroy Butler Foundation squad down 100-72 while playing on the 17U squad.
Fleming said he commends Brown for the way he conducted himself among the younger players saying he mentored, taught and allowed the younger players to play the game.
"He did a lot for those younger kids," Brooks added. "He is an exceptional talent."
"The people in Jacksonville know who Rion Brown is now," Fleming said.
Brooks and Fleming said the folks at Faith Baptist have done a lot in helping the SGK organization. The coaches said they meet with their squads for a two hour training session almost every morning and conduct team practices nearly every afternoon. It’s what they say kept the SGK squads in top shape and game day ready. They credit the workouts to their series of successful tournaments.
"They have allowed us to use their gym and work with these kids," Brooks said. "When we travel and people talk to us, folks ask us where the kids train. Most kids pay top dollar for private coaches and we are able to give it to our kids through volunteer effort. And the Sellars family at Faith Baptist and even the folks at the YMCA have made it possible for us to have a place to train these kids."
The coach said they are preparing for nationals and are planning fund raisers this weekend.
"We’ll be at Kroger bagging groceries," Brooks said. "The last weekend of the month we’ll be at Wal-Mart."
Three of the SGK players were selected to the Five Star Camp this month. Derrick Brooks, Jr. and David Rogers are headed to the University of Central Florida to attend the elite players’ camp.
The Kings are set to host another tournament within Liberty and Long County over the Fourth of July weekend and were invited to the Peach State Showcase in Augusta July 13-15. Of course they’ll be at next year’s River Street Classic to defend their titles.
"It’s a blessing," Brooks said. "For Chris Stacy to recognize our talent and ask us to come back it’s a true blessing."