Tuesday, August 13, 2013
That’s the Palmetto Youth Center’s Trojans basketball team, now the USSSA 17-and-Under Division 2’s best team in America. Coach Reggie Bellamy’s charges shining moment came at the USSSA National Tournament of Champions last weekend in Kansas City, Mo.
In the title game, the Trojans defeated Topeka, Kan., 58-50, the only team they lost to in round-robin play.
They qualified for nationals by winning the USSSA Southeast Regional Championships in Suwanee, Ga.
The national champions Trojans are:
Nick Buto, Tre Clark, Terry Collins, Brandon Drake, Kyle Edwards, Kahlil Garcia, Keiwon Jackson, Jarrid Rhodes, Stepvon Saunders, Christian Zanders and Dequon Washington.
“This was a huge undertaking in a very short period of time, but the experience these young men had was well worth all of the effort,” said Chris Lukowiak, the PYC executive director. “They have created life-long memories and have grown in countless ways.
“Their demeanor on and off the court reflected well upon themselves, the Palmetto Youth Center, and Manatee County. We could not be more proud of them.”
Lukowiak and Bellamy also expressed heartfelt gratitude for all the donors and volunteers who helped make the trip possible.
Approximately $15,000 had to be raised within two weeks in order to fly the team to Kansas City.
“This truly was a community effort,” Bellamy said
Among those donors were:
Medallion Homes, Neal Communities, Sheriff Brad Steube, County Commissioner Larry Bustle, Commissioner Michael Gallen, The Bike Shop in Bradenton, Attorney Cliff Walters, Battalion Chief Mike Williamson and the North River Fire Fighters Association, Bob Davis and The Panda Foundation, Reverend L.C. Livingston of Eternity Temple First Born Church in Palmetto, Brenda Rogers, Ted and Mary Tillis, Josh Baker and Amanda Fister, Frankie Craddock, Eddie Shannon, Rich Higgins, Palmetto Dentistry, Kevin and Gale Garcia and several anonymous donors.
“We cannot thank them enough,” Lukowiak said.
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