Rain pelted the area last week, keeping most people indoors, however, a different kind of pounding took place on the basketball courts at Faith Baptist Christian Academy, Snelson Golden Middle School and Lewis Frasier Middle School.
The 12U and 14U South Georgia Kings reigned supreme, taking first place in the inaugural Kings of the Coast Basketball Classic Invitational Tournament on June 4-7.
SGK President Jessie Fleming said the event featured the coast’s best sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. He said 12 teams came from South Carolina, Savannah and Jacksonville.
"We had the SPO Gators, the Stacey Pool Organization from Jacksonville," he said. "They are a very competitive ball club. The Jacksonville Lee Bulls came, the Leroy Butler Foundation, the Jacksonville All-Stars, Savannah Panthers, Savannah Hurricanes, the Beaufort Sharks, the Coastal Georgia Suns showed up all and the competition level was up for where you expect middle school to be. Of course the South Georgia Kings came out on top."
Fleming said the caliber of talent was off the charts.
"We had a kid who is one of the top five players out of Florida in Solomon Pool and his brother Stacy Pool who is one of the top 50 kids in the country," Fleming said. "Their father Stacy Pool senior was one of the first McDonalds All-American out of Jacksonville."
But Fleming said it was his 14U Kings squad that impressed him most.
"All of them played well," he said. "I watched this crew of kids gel together."
He said Kings players Phillip Black averaged 20 points per game and Derrick Brooks Jr. performed well, helping the team get to the finals and win.
"He had a good weekend," Fleming said of Brooks.
King players Malcolm Dingle and Juvon Golden stood out as well.
"We expect a lot out of Malcolm anyway but he played in the eighth grade championship game and scored 15 points in the game," he said. "Dingle and Aaron Scott led in scoring."
"The championship game was a significant one for our crew," Kings coach Derrick Brooks said. "We lost to the SPO Gators at the Super Regional in Jacksonville about two months ago. They stole the ball from us with two seconds left on the clock, making the shot to win in a closely contested game. But that was down in Jacksonville. Now they came here and we controlled the game from the onset."
Brooks said his squad took a 14-point lead in the half and held off a rally when the opposing team came within six points. The Kings won 82-70.
"JJ Frazier scored 12, Alton Sapp had 12, Aaron Scott and Malcolm Dingle had 15 each, and Derrick Brooks had 14," Brooks recalled.
Brooks said the 12U Kings victory against the Grand Park Trojans was a comeback.
"Right now, they look like a top 10 team in the 12-year old age division," Brooks said of the Trojans. "They actually beat us twice. The first time they beat us by 35, the second time they beat us by 25 but on Sunday we beat them in the championship. Our kids really showed up well.
"My team started by coming off a 25-point loss and had to win out to play in the championships and the home crowd had a lot to do with them playing hard," 12U Kings head coach Larry Stigall said. "I’m pleased with the effort they put in to get the job done."
The Kings look to host another tournament in Hinesville for the July 4 weekend.
"The Independence Day Tournament is the fourth of July weekend and we are looking to have 16 ball clubs within the eighth-grade division and possibly eight in the sixth- and seventh-grade divisions," Fleming said. "It’s July 3-5."
Fleming said they hope to have 16-24 teams for future tournaments.