BOYS BASKETBALL: CHS underclassmen win national title
S.T.H Team Talent, a local travel basketball club, captured first place in the US Amateur Boys National Championships last weekend at Buchholz High in Gainesville.
The 10th grade squad, composed of all Columbia players, went undefeated on
Sunday, knocking off the Alabama Hornets 58-33 in the final contest. Their season ends on a high note, capping off the four-month campaign with seven titles total.
"With a team of 10 ninth-graders and four 10th-graders, playing in the 10th grade division, we weren't the biggest in size but we were the biggest in heart," coach Erica Mayo said. "I feel blessed to have founded this organization and to have such an amazing group of kids representing my organization (Strength, Talent, Hustle)."
Team Talent was anchored by co-MVPs Kenney Gaines and Darrien Jones. The squad received a boost defensively from Dante Brown and Darian Mayo. De'andre Jefferson pitched in with 23 points Saturday to propel them to the championship.
Team Talent defeated X-Factor, South Florida Spartans (forfeit), Treasure Coast Titans and the Hornets for the national title. The squad reached this tournament after winning the Sunshine State Games championship last month in Gainesville.
"We've seen them do things that we didn't know they were capable of doing," Mayo said. "Our point guard Darrien Jones has been amazing. He led the way – without him we wouldn't be in the position that we're in …De'andre showed up big for us in this tournament… Charleston Ponds is usually one of our scorers (too)."
These Columbia players will continue polish their game ahead of the 2018-19 winter varsity and junior varsity seasons. Coach Mayo, an assistant coach at Columbia, believes this year's summer season is only the beginning for the boys.
"These kids are amazing (and) have a bright future ahead of them."