The seventh-grade St. James Coastal Crew Rebels have placed well in their last three tournaments, according to coach Simon Steele.
The Rebels started their AAU tournament circuit by going 5-0 and claiming first place at the Hilton Head Takeover tournament March 28-30.
“Jaleel Gilbert came up big for us in this tournament,” Steele said. “He averaged six steals a game and anchored our defense for us. Jaleel has added an aspect to our team that is greatly appreciated.”
The Rebels’ next tournament was the Ice Breaker Tournament held April 4-6 in Augusta. They finished 3-2 and made it to the semifinals before losing by eight points to the World Wide Wildcats, who eventually won the tournament.
“Qualeek Keith managed to average 20 points and 10 rebounds a game at this tournament,” Steele said. “Our team is now more balanced on offense with Qualeek’s scoring. His basketball IQ has improved a lot since last year.”
On April 11-13, the Rebels competed in an AAU tournament in Jacksonville, where they went 3-2 and finished second.
“We lost to the LBF Stars by 10 points in the championship game,” Steele said. “As a coach and mentor, I am extremely proud of these young men. Around this time last year, we were a below-.500 team. After Jacksonville, our record improved to 16-5. This seventh-grade team is making noise this year and on schedule to have a record-breaking year. We are able to compete with top teams this year because of the hard work we put in during the off season.”
The Rebels have a full schedule of games ahead as they prepare for the AAU national tournament July 6-12 in Orlando.