More good news for local teams has emerged as the tournament results roll in
According to recently released results from the 2103 Youth Basketball of America National Tournament, held July 12-14 in Kissimmee, Fla., the South Georgia Kings’ fifth-grade team surged to a second-place showing in its division.
The Courier reported Wednesday that the sixth-grade South Georgia Kings beat the Coastal Crew Rebels, 39-36 in overtime, in its championship game.
According to the YBOA website, the fifth-grade Kings bounced back from a winless showing in pool play en route to the championship game.
First-year fifth-grade SGK coach and former Liberty County High School basketball player Donrico Wigfall said the boys had to overcome some obstacles.
“When we first started, it was very different because the kids were used to playing just recreational basketball,” he said. “When we started going to Atlanta and traveling and they started seeing different kids their age that can really play ball, that made them want to practice and go hard.”
He said that motivated the players, and the hard work showed at Nationals. The Kings lost their first three pool games, but two of the losses were in overtime. Instead of hanging their heads, the boys went out and practiced, knowing that in bracket play they would have to take on the No. 1 seed.
In the playoffs, the Kings tipped top-seeded Ascension Heat, 25-24. Game two was just as close, with the Kings beating the Southside Ballers, 35-34. That placed the Kings in the championship game against the Covington Hoyas, who ended the Kings’ run with a 35-18 win.
“Leonard Hall and I talked to the kids and told them, ‘That is what we came here to do, play basketball,’” Wigfall said. “I mean, in bracket play we beat the No. 1 team, then we turned around and beat the team that had beat us earlier by nine and at least made the championship game.”
Wigfall said the Kings’ season might be over, but their workouts will continue so they can ready for another run next season. He added he is happy to be able to coach and mentor the youth and give them the same opportunities that basketball has given him.
“I’ve been there and done all of the things you can do … I had the scholarship offers … and my thing is to take them through the experiences I’ve been through and have them take scholarships to play basketball in school,” Wigfall said.
YBOA national tourney
SGK: Cameron Fleming, all-tournament, Marcus Lindsey, All-Tournament, Demontae Garett, hustle award
SGK: Jaleel Gilbert, most valuable player; Arieus Taylor, all-tournament; Raiquan Taylor, all-tournament; Desmond Brown, hustle award
Rebels: Simon Steele Jr., all-tournament; Isaiah Scott, all-tournament; Qualeek Keith, hustle award
Editor’s note: In Wednesday’s Courier the sixth-grade South Georgia King coach incorrectly was identified as Shane Smith. The sixth-grade coach is Leonard Hall.