An undefeated state title winning basketball team, two local basketball standouts and a track star were inducted into the Liberty County Athletic Hall of Fame Thursday night.
The ceremony was at the John McIver Auditorium of the Liberty County Community Complex in Midway.
Former First Presbyterian Christian Academy head basketball coach Darrell West, current FPCA assistant basketball coach David Linderman and 2009 FPCA basketball player T.A. Alston attended, representing the 2009 team being inducted.
Linderman thanked the committee for the nomination and the induction. He said the evening was special as the committee was also inducting another former FPCA basketball player who he coached, Jordan Johnson.
The championship team consisted of Alston, Jamal Anderson, Arthur Ansley, Timothy Ashmen, Joey Bell, Matthew Brown, Garrett Crissman, Michael Brown, Kaelan Dorr, Michael Farrior, Hakeem Golden, Jose Martinez, Preyen Patel, Joshua Rodgers and Ryan Smiley.
Linderman said the 2009 team went 26-0 and that Alston was the team’s star point guard.
The 2009 state title was preceded by the 2008 FPCA basketball team’s state title in the program’s first varsity season. The 2008 team was inducted into the hall last year.
"You get chemistry, but it becomes a brotherhood," West said in describing the 2009 team. West said the squad played as a team, knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses and forgoing ego for the sake of wins.
He said the players had grown up together and in crucial situations they shared the ability to contribute, even if they weren’t the key play makers.
"We had a swagger about us," West said, noting they were actually 30-0 since they had not lost a game since previous year’s playoffs.
Former Bradwell basketball player Jarvis Wardsworth introduced the second inductee of the evening, Jordan Johnson.
"He came during my senior year and he walked in as a freshmen talking about this as his team," Wardsworth said, noting Johnson was a bit arrogant and confident. "First game against Groves though, he couldn’t make a shot"
Wardsworth said the experience quickly humbled Johnson. But instead of walking away, Wardsworth said his friend used the experience to grow.
"It was like he was reborn," Wardsworth said.
Johnson said there was more than one time he had to learn things the hard way.
"My sophomore year, I got kicked off the team... That’s when these guys right here became a part of my life," Johnson said pointing toward West and Linderman.
Johnson said once he transferred to FPCA his whole demeanor changed.
"It changed me as a man. I kept God first," Johnson said.
He added his mom was and continues to be his biggest fan, advocate and anchor. He said he continues to work hard and recognized Charles Shuman, who was at the event.
"The Shuman center was like my second home," he said, thanking Shuman. "Thank you for that gym because it made me who I am today."
Last year, Johnson played for the Ecuadorian basketball team HR Portoviejo. The team won the national championship there. Johnson said he may have the opportunity to play basketball in Italy next year.
Former BI track coach Readie Kelly introduced inductee Quintunya Chapman-Hamilton.
"Years ago when she was in sixth grade, people would tell me to go see this girl run," Kelly said.
She said Chapman-Hamilton was quickly nicknamed Booster.
"And since that day this little long-legged girl would make a believer out of anyone," Kelly said.
Chapman-Hamilton was a multi-sport athlete at BI. She excelled in basketball and volleyball, which was her passion, but track and field carried her to a full scholarship at the University of Georgia. Kelly also pointed out that Chapman-Hamilton didn’t need a sports scholarship and could have attended UGA on an academic scholarship.
She graduated UGA as a four time All-American athlete.
Her track career flourished at UGA. In 2014, she was runner-up at the Southeastern Conference heptathlon, third in the heptathlon at the 2015 SEC Indoor Championships and third at the NCAA outdoor heptathlon. She was third at the 2014 North American, Central American and Caribbean heptathlon, finished sixth in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in the heptathlon and was the 2016 Pan American Combined Events Cup champion in the heptathlon.
She also won the 2015 all-academic student athlete award, and was a member of the dean’s list and the SEC academic honor roll from 2011-15.
She graduated in 2016 with a bachelor of science in health promotion and behavior and is currently the assistant director for youth sports and fitness at Fort Gordon in Augusta.
She is married to her high school sweetheart, Alexander Hamilton.
"It’s unreal to be standing up here right now. I am thankful. I appreciate the recognition," Chapman-Hamilton said.
She acknowledged her mom, who never missed any of her sporting events throughout her career and thanked her dad for his encouragement.
Chapman-Hamilton added she is retired from track and field and enjoys mentoring and coaching youth. She said it was amazing to be at the Olympic Track and Field trials, but added being inducted into the Hall of Fame was just as thrilling
H.C. Baker introduced his sister Barbara Baker-Derrick during her induction. She now joins her brother, H.C. Baker and siblings Faye and Derell Baker as a hall of famer.
"This was our cafeteria when we were in high school...it is only fitting that we are here tonight," Baker said.
He recalled that the girls played 3-on-3 back then and that the boys team wasn’t allowed to watch the games.
"They scored 100 points many times. They put a lot of pressure on the boys. My sister made the team at the eighth grade. She played five years of varsity basketball. She scored 20-30 points almost every game," Baker said, noting that back then, there was no 3-point shot. "I had a tough act to follow."
Baker-Derrick said she learned how to play basketball from her brother and uncle. She said they never cut her any slack.
"Anytime I would try and go for a shot, they would slap that ball back down hard at me," she said. "Right at my face…so I had to get tough, and I perfected my 3-pointers because it was the one shot I could get up against them."
Baker-Derrick, was a four-year letter winner for the Lady Tigers and was their leading scorer in 1964-65, helping guide the team to three district championships, two region championships and one state tournament. She was co-captain her junior and senior years and averaged 28 to 30 points game throughout her career.
"I am so humbled, grateful and appreciative of this accolade tonight being inducted into the Hall of Fame," she said.