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YCA team takes 7th national title in a row
The Youth Challenge Academy basketball team won its seventh national championship in Frostburg, Md. The team finished 4-0. They are, from left: head coach Ernie Walthour, Corii George, Isaiah Wiley, Mark Richardson, Tyquan Walker, Melquan Alford, Levi King, Kamon Sylvester, Malcolm Bryant, Connor Edward and Dawannes Butler. - photo by Photo provided.

Fort Stewart’s Youth Challenge Academy cadets traveled to Frostburg, Md., recently for the Youth Challenge Academy Invitational and walked away with their seventh straight title after eking out a two-point win over the Maryland YCA team, for a 48-46 victory.

"We had tremendous play from our point guard and tournament MVP, Corii George," YCA basketball coach Ernie Walthour said.

He said Connor Edward also played a key role in the victory.

The Georgia National Guard Youth Challenge Academy seeks to help at-risk, unemployed 16- to 18-year-old high school dropouts who are drug-free and have had no run-ins with the law. The program is designed to help teens become better citizens, attain GEDs, develop life-coping skills and perform community service. Participants also receive training in health and hygiene procedures, physical education and leadership skills.

Walthour said all the players on his squad have earned their GEDs.

"We definitely want to thank Bob Hughes the director for the Youth Challenge Academy on Fort Stewart," Walthour said. "Overall it was an absolute success. The team played very well together. I want to thank Lt. McCullah for helping out with the team. The team wanted to dedicate this championship to the YCA staff. They did a lot for this group over the last six months."

Walthour said the victory had come full circle.

"We were very fortunate to have such a great basketball team," he said. "The last time we went out to Frostburg University was six years ago. We won then and to return to the same place and win another championship was really special."



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