Local AAU squad ranks in top 10 nationally

Staff Writer
Donaldsonville Chief
Members of the Louisiana Hoyas 11U team listed from left to right: Ernest Mitchell, Marcus Gibson Jr., Christian Mitchell, Ty'Lik Albert, Jonathan Williams III, Blake Tuner, Feronti Price, Tahj Williby, Johnanthony Williams, Kobe Harris, Jeremiah Johnson and Jaylin Jackson. Pictured in the center are Coach Jonathan Cutno and Coach Joshua Jackson.

“123... Hoyas 456... Family,” is the mantra that the Louisiana Hoyas 11U team chants proudly before, during and after their games.

The Hoyas organization takes pride in instilling the values of hard work, dedication and family in all of its players—players who work hard on and off the court.

This team has undoubtedly proven this to be true after the season that they have had, which concluded with them placing ninth in the nation at the Division-II championship during the AAU Nationals in Orlando, Fla., in July.

“I am most proud of the perseverance and dedication that these boys have shown,” head coach Joshua Jackson said. “We have had some hard-fought and well-deserved wins, as well as some tough losses, but through it all, they have never given up or lost sight of our goal: to be recognized as one of the top-10 teams in the nation. I stood behind my boys' ability to compete amongst the best of the best all year. I knew that they could do it. I just needed them to believe in themselves.”

The Hoyas started off the national tournament by winning two competitive games against a strong Atlanta Power team (38-35) and a tough New Jersey squad, Stack Five Beast (43-37), securing them as the top seed in pool play.

Adversity would set in as the Hoyas went on to lose their next two games and would need to go on a magical run to secure a spot as one of the top-10 teams in the nation. The Hoyas would do just that by reeling off three straight victories against tough opponents in thrilling fashion, with all games being decided by five points or less.

These three consecutive wins in the championship bracket solidified the Hoyas’ position as the ninth-best Division-II team in the nation.