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Rebels prep for National
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The 17 and under Coastal Crew Rebels (in red) and the 15 and under Rebels scrimmage against each other Wednesday night as they prepare for two major tournaments. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Rebels

The Coastal Crew Rebels are preparing for two big Amateur Athletic Union-sanctioned tournaments as the 15-and-under Rebels head to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the Big Shot Tournament this weekend and the 17-and-under Rebels prepare for the Division II Nationals in Orlando, Fla., July 26 through Aug. 1.
In preparation for the games, both teams hit the court Wednesday night in some fierce head to head play, displaying the ability to manage the baseline, hit the three shots, move the ball effectively and hit the occasional awe-inspiring slam dunk.
The Rebels qualified for the nationals by placing in the top four this spring in the Eastern Classic.
“This is the second year we go to nationals and it is a great opportunity for the kids to get exposed to the college scouts and be seen in action,” 17-and-under head coach and program director Ernie Walthour Sr. said. “Just about every major college coach will be there. The kids get a chance to see these professionals up close and get the opportunity to play in front of these pros and maybe be offered a scholarship.
“It makes them a little nervous, but it’s a great learning and growing experience. Last year, there were around 2,500 people in the stadium. It’s like playing in the big leagues.”
Deon Villasencio, 17-and-under Rebels team captain, is looking forward to playing at the nationals and plans to keep the team competitive, but he also keeps the game in perspective.
“Last year we went down there and we did pretty good. I’m hoping we do a little better this year, but the main thing is to go down there and play and have fun while doing so,” he said. “Last year we lost to Louisiana and I hope we play them again with a better outcome. We have a young team this year, but if we go out there have fun and play our game we should be all right.”
Michael Brown is the head coach for the 15-and-under team headed to Myrtle Beach in a tournament that will be officiated by ACC officials and scouted by ACC conference schools like Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Florida State, and other top ACC colleges and universities.
“We have some key players that may get a scholarship down the line by playing in this tournament,” he said. “Players like Henry Roberts, Mike Brown, D.J. Fielder, Arthur Ansley. These kids are very coachable players and I can see them being at one of these top level schools in the future.”
The Rebels are enthusiastic about doing their best and ranking on top to represent Liberty and Long County.
“We have players from Long County, Liberty High and Bradwell, and we hope to have continued support from the community to really get behind these kids and encourage them,” Walthour said.
Anyone wishing to support the Rebels in Orlando or are interested in traveling to the tournament can call Walthour at 980-4559 or visit the newly designed Rebels Web site at www.coastalcrewrebels.com.
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