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Seventh-grade Rebels headed to nationals
Late founder remembered this weekend
The seventh-grade Coastal Crew Rebels boys basketball team, which has a 41-6 record this season, will compete in the Youth Basketball of America National Tournament starting Sunday in Orlando.

The seventh-grade Coastal Crew Rebels are headed to Orlando this weekend for the Youth Basketball of America National Tournament, which takes place July 6-12.
According to coach Simon Steele, the Rebels had a great run during their Amateur Athletic Union season and have a 41-6 record. Among their recent accomplishments was winning the Cobb County Shootout on May 18.
“The Rebels went undefeated in this tournament — 6-0,” Steele said. “This was their fourth championship win for this season.”
The Rebels beat TSF, 63-15, defeated the Georgia Shocks, 84-30, toppled the Georgia Kings, 74-19, beat the RH Kings, 71-36, and downed Team Takeover, 65-32.
In the championship game, the Rebels beat Dunwoody Elite, 68-25.
The Rebels then entered the Division Two state tournament, where they finished second.
The Rebels first beat the Georgia Phoenix, 85-21, and defeated the Thunder, 54-33. They then beat the TC Thunder, 77-34, and thumped the Lakers, 59-21.
In their semifinal game, the Rebels won, 68-50, over the Atlanta Hurricanes. That set up the championship game against the Central Georgia Empact, in which the Rebels lost, 57-56.
After those two intense tournaments, the Rebels traveled to Bryan County and Statesboro, where they played and convincingly beat six middle-school teams, the coach said.
“I am proud of the accomplishments this team has earned,” Steele said. “Everyone on this team is special. Most importantly, I am proud of how these young men have conducted themselves off the court.  
This past Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Rebels founder and mentor Ernie Walthour. His unsolved murder still resonates with many in the community, who remember his contributions and the impact he had on the youth of Holmestown and Liberty County.
Steele said his seventh-graders are much more to him than just a basketball team. He said they have learned to forge a family-like bond, trusting and helping each other during tough times.
Steele thinks the Rebels will represent Georgia well at the national tournament.
“We are a strong team with a lot of outside support … We’ve had many people step up to support these young men along the way,” Steele said. “The community did a great job by stepping up and helping us financially. I can’t say enough about the support we have been given. It has been one year since we dealt with the passing of Ernie Walthour, and we look forward to carrying on the legacy that he started. We are in a great position headed to nationals.”
Several of Walthour’s friends will gather this weekend to host a memorial motorcycle ride beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sunday in Miller Park.
Walthour’s annual Summer Slam Fest also will take place Sunday at Salter’s Field and feature local musical talent and a car and bike show. The music contest starts at
2 p.m., the car and bike show is at 3 p.m., and a concert starts at 5 p.m.

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