Local basketball teams compete in state tournament
The Lehigh Acres Blue Devils’ third through eighth grade basketball teams recently competed in the US Amateur Basketball State Championship Tournament.
The Devils’ third-grade team won the state championship for their grade in their first season together. The team was led by head coach Jose Gonzalez and assistant coach Eric Dobson.
“The amazing part is this is the first year we had a third grade team and they built up to win their championship. The expressive thing about it is that they had to play in the fourth- and fifth-grade bracket throughout the season in order to play, because there are not many third grade teams to play in the state,” Quran Pettyjohn Sr., Lehigh Blue Devils’ president and LBD Basketball Program director said.
Other LBD teams finished in the final four during this year’s tournament. The Blue Devils’ sixth-grade team placed second in the State Championship for their grade level led by head coach Pettyjohn with assistant Darrell Coomes.
“I really want to highlight the two sets of brothers who played and placed on the third- and sixth-grade teams. Two of them were able to come out as state champions or runner ups. Brothers Christopher “Dru” Davis (6th) and Max Davis (3rd); and Quran PettyJohn Jr. (6th) and Qristian Pettyjohn (3rd),” Pettyjohn said.
According to Pettyjohn, the organization continues to grow and branch out to other grade levels.
“The sixth-grade team is our original team that we started with in regards to the organization. We have been around for about four years now and from an organizational stand point, this is only our second year in expansion. We had only one team at first. Then last year we expanded from fifth grade to eighth grade. This past season third grade through 11th grade,” Pettyjohn said.
This year, the organization was also proud to announce they received a sponsorship from Adidas.
“This allows our players the opportunity to play some of the best teams in the best tournaments in the U.S. It puts us in a position to be in front of scouts and for our players to earn college scholarships. Even the NBA if that’s their goal,” Pettyjohn said.
The Lehigh Acres Blue Devils are sending two high school teams to play July 11 through July 15 in completions being held at ESPN Worldwide Sports Center.
“It will be exciting. Teams from all over the country will be coming,” Pettyjohn said.
The teams will then take the summer off and reconvene back in October.
“Our competitive teams start back again in October and goes all the way to June. Anyone interested can go online to register and find out the dates for try outs, which are held at Oak Hammond Middle School,” Pettyjohn said.
For more information on the Lehigh Acres Blue Devils or to sign up for their next try-outs, visit lehighbluedevils.com.