It was Hinesville versus Hinesville in the championship game of the Youth Basketball Of America National Tournament this past weekend in Orlando, with the South Georgia Kings edging the Coastal Crew Rebels.
The sixth-grade Rebels, still mourning the loss of the organization’s founder and mentor, Ernie Walthour, battled all week, going 4-0 to win their pool. The Rebels then won their fifth game, sending them to the finals.
In another pool, the sixth-grade Kings also ran the table to create an all-Hinesville final.
Rebels coach Simon Steele and Kings’ coach Leonard Hall both knew this was a milestone. Regardless of which team won, the trophy was coming home to Liberty County.
But neither team made it easy for the other.
After being tied at 33-all at the end of regulation, SGK narrowly took the trophy with a 39-36 win.