Big season for Stars
Published 10:52 am Thursday, July 18, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Another year, another standout performance for the Securus Stars.
The youth basketball team, after finishing second in the state tournament, traveled to Orlando for the Youth Basketball of America national tournament and placed fourth in the fourth-grade division.
A year ago while competing in the third-grade division, the Stars won the state tournament and finished fifth at nationals.
It’s been mostly the same group of players for two years, and head coach Eric Bowles said they’re all invested in the team-first mentality.
“Everybody kind of buys into big team, little me,” Bowles said. “I kind of push that with the kids. As long as everybody does their job, we’ll be OK. All the pieces kind of come together. They’ve bought into that. That leads to success if everybody’s on the same page, even at that age.”
Thanks to the performances in the state tournament, the Securus team has qualified for nationals two years in a row.
At this year’s tournament, the Stars rallied from 20 points down in a quarterfinal game to reach the semifinals. The Stars’ tournament run came to a close with a loss to a team from Boston in the semifinals.
The national tournament was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
“You walk in, and it’s 15 basketball courts, and that’s a long way from two courts at the (recreation center),” Bowles said. “It is an amazing site to see.”
The national tournament put an end to a season that began in March.
“We try to do (a tournament) every other weekend or every third weekend,” Bowles said. “We don’t want to make it too much. Before you know it, the season’s over with.”
Bowles said the players come from across the county.
“We kind of represent a little bit of all LaGrange,” Bowles said. “We’ve got kids from Callaway, from Long Cane, from LaGrange Academy, kids from Berta. We’ve got kids from all over. It’s really a true community team. We represent all of Troup County.”
Bowles, whose son Braylen Bowles is on the team, enjoys being around all of the players.
“The parents know I treat them like they’re mine,” Bowles said. “Several of them I knew before we started this, so that makes it even easier.”
TEAM MEMBERS: Rayquan Fuller, Tashaad Gates, Terrence Tiggs, Braylen Bowles, Hampton Malone, , Zycorious Dandy, Hayden Martin, Kaiden James, Trenton Pollard, Davis Moncus and Travis Tucker, Jr.