Great teamwork and consistent hustle was the cornerstone of the Alexandria Titans 14U Boys Basketball Team, as they rounded out their impressive season with a 2nd place finish in the YBOA (Youth Basketball of America) National Tournament at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
The tournament, which was held during the week of July 23, 2006, featured the very best 14U teams from across the country. The Titans competed in a total of nine games during the tournament, placing first in pool play, continuing on to win four straight games in bracket competition to qualify for the championship game.
The Titans began play on Sunday, July 23, earning a win in their first tournament outing by trouncing the Rock Hill Eagles from South Carolina, 74-58. The team from Alexandria then breezed through their next three games, defeating the LT Rockets out of Louisiana, 58-51, the Maryland Stunners, 62-37, and finally the Florida NAABP Dream Team, 68-53. These convincing wins improved the Titans’ record to 4-0 and a first place seeding in pool play.
Next up was the single-elimination bracket play, with all roads leading to that coveted National Championship. For their stellar play in the round-robin part of the tournament, the Titans earned a first round bye. Their first match-up was against a fellow Virginian team, the Chesapeake Stars. By defeating the Stars, the Titans earned a third round match-up against the Alabama Bulldogs, whom they promptly sent packing. Next up was the quarter-finals against the New Jersey Heat. With a solid all-around team effort they defeated the Heat with ease, and moved on to the final four. In semi-final play the Titans were matched up against the Carolina Flight, both teams undefeated throughout the tournament.
In their third game of the day, the Titans faced what was arguably their most arduous task of the entire tournament up to this point in the Flight. The Titans fought hard for three solid quarters to keep the game close. In the fourth quarter, however, it was all Titan basketball as they rolled to a 73-60 victory, sending them to the finals. Their nemesis in the championship game would be the three-time defending AAU champions, the Orlando Dream Team.
Like their semi-final match-up, the Titans stayed within a few points of the Dream Team for three quarters. However, in the fourth quarter, the overwhelming size of the Dream Team players finally took its toll on the scrappy young boys from Alexandria. The loss resulted in a 8-1 record in the tournament, and a 2nd place finish overall.
Three members of the Titans received honors for their great effort and competition at the YBOA Nationals. Deandre Albritton and Jeremiah Johnson earned All-Tournament First Team honors, while teammate Jamal Cooper received the prestigious 2006 Hustle Award. Special recognition is greatly deserved to the rest of the Titans. Justin May averaged an impressive 17 points per game throughout their 2nd place tournament run, while Marvin Elliot and Griffin Boyle’s three-point and press break specialties proved invaluable for the team’s success. Jerod Brown and Doug Vines’ lockdown defense and dribble penetration skills wore down the opposing teams en route to their 8-1 record. Last but certainly not least, Markees Towles’ great hustle on every minute played, his indispensable team spirit, and all of his point contributions were a vital asset to the team’s success.
The head coach of the Titans is Marvin Elliot, also President of Fundamental Sports Inc, who has coached this team and five of the boys since age nine. The assistant coach is Kevin Quinlan, a former boys varsity assistant at Sidwell Friends School, who this year will be assisting at T.C. Williams High School. The coaches and players look to continue their recent success at the next level in the near future.