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Carolina C.A.G.E.R.S. capture two Championships

The Carolina C.A.G.E.R.S. 6th and 7th grade youth travel basketball teams traveled to the Myrtle Beach area last weekend, May 10-11 for the United States Basketball Association Invitational. Both teams captured tournament championships and went undefeated for the weekend. The sixth-graders in their first tournament of the season defeated the Powerhouse Warriors of the Wilmington, North Carolina area 46-40 for their title. The seventh-graders upended Carolina Forest of Myrtle Beach 57-54.

The sixth grade C.A.G.E.R.S. coached by Simeon Hammond and Brian Johnson, won their opening game 41-27 over Carolina Forest. Shakim Chisolm, a Colleton County Middle School student, led the team with 11 points, followed by Bruce Benjamin (Colleton County Middle) with 10 points, Trakell Murray of Bells Elementary School, seven points, Deljonte Moore (Colleton County Middle) five points, Manny Shuler (Williams Memorial Elementary) four points, Jasmine Stanley (Colleton County Middle) two points, and Devon Farmer (Colleton County Middle) two points. Chisolm paced the team with 15 points in the championship game, followed by Benjamin and Javon Williams (Colleton County Middle), with 12 points each.

The seventh grade C.A.G.E.R.S., coached by Dr. William Dixon Jr., were paced in the championship game by Mikel Shuler, of St. George Middle School, with 19 points; while Justin Williams (Colleton County Middle) added 15 points, including the game clinching free throws. Rounding out scoring in the championship game were Tristan Nieves (Colleton County Middle), two points; DeIajae Ferguson (Colleton County Middle), six points; Xavier Dixon, of Long Middle School, four points; British Adams (St. George Middle), six points; Ronald Summers (St. George Middle), three points; and Tyler Gant (Colleton County Middle), two points.

The seventh grade C.A.G.E.R.S. went 4-0 for the weekend, including 55-17, 62-51, and 73-25 victories before the championship game. In the 73-25 win over the Charleston (SC) Stampede, Jailyn Rivers (Colleton County Middle) tossed in 17 points, including three 3-pointers. After the weekend, the seventh grade C.A.G.E.R.S. improved to 17-9 for the travel season. Season highlights include a 60-54 victory over the Asheville Stars, paced by Williams (19 points) and Dixon (eight points); and a 48-43 win over the Orangeburg Xpress, led by Williams and Shuler with 10 points each; a 65-58 comeback win over the Carolina Cavaliers of Charleston, in which Jamari Stephens (Colleton County Middle) and Adams scored 14 points each; a 66-18 victory over the Superstars for Christ of Santee, led by Summers (12 points) and Nieves (10 points). The seventh grade C.A.G.E.R.S. have established themselves as one of the premier youth programs in South Carolina, evident by their dominant play and fast style, scoring 73, 72, 68, 75, 66, and 73 points in games this season, despite playing with a running clock once the team is up by over 25 points. Even in defeat, the team has been resilient, losing 4 games by a total of 12 points, including a “statement game” 46-52 loss to a talented Jacksonville (Florida) Magic team in the Tournament of Roses AAU event.

“Our kids have bought into our philosophy of pressure defense, fundamentals, and unselfishness”, said Dr. Dixon, who found the C.A.G.E.R.S. He added “They have worked hard and are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. They understand that everyone is important in what we do and that scoring is just one phase of the game. They are equally concerned about how many assists, steals, blocks, and rebounds they have and how they make each other and the team better. That is pretty special when it comes to travel sports particularly when each of them have been “stars” on their school, recreation, and church teams. I am proud of them. They have definitely represented our local community with character and class.

Seventh grade team members are Tristan Nieves (Colleton County Middle), DeIajae Ferguson (Colleton County Middle), Jailyn Rivers (Colleton County Middle), Xavier Dixon (Long Middle), British Adams (St. George Middle), Ronald Summers (St. George Middle), Willie Green (Colleton County Middle), Justin Williams (Colleton County Middle), Jamari Stephens (Colleton County Middle), Mikel Shuler (St. George Middle), and Tyler Gant (Colleton County Middle)

Sixth grade team members are Jasmine Stanley (Colleton County Middle), Devon Farmer (Colleton County Middle), Bruce Benjamin (Colleton County Middle), Deljonte Moore (Colleton County Middle), Trakell Murray (Bells Elementary), Javon Williams (Colleton County Middle), Manny Shuler (Williams Memorial Elementary), Shykem Chisolm (Colleton County Middle), Warren Randolph (Colleton County Middle), Darius Johnson (Forest Hills Elementary).

The seventh grade team has competed in events in Charlotte, North Charleston, Hanahan, Orangeburg, Myrtle Beach, and hosted a tournament in April. Remaining tournaments are scheduled for Walterboro, Charleston, Dillon, and Charlotte; including the Basketball of the Carolinas state championships and national championships. The sixth grade team’s remaining tournaments will be held in Walterboro and Charleston.

Dixon noted the C.A.G.E.R.S. also have ninth and tenth grade teams, coached by Jay Davis and O’Neil Nieves. He stated that the organization is sponsored by Chris Dodson and Wal-mart, Reverend Leon Maxwell and Ministerial Alliance of Colleton County, Kesia Brown State Farm Insurance, Palmetto Rural Telephone Cooperative, Dorcas Tuten Law Office, Tau Iota Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Genes for Glory, Koger’s Mortuary, Eat Smart Move More, Lynette Fryar, Honorable Pat Grant, Colleton Education Foundation, Shoney’s of Walterboro, Woodland High School Athletic Booster Club, Pat Kelly State Farm Insurance, and Colleton County Chiropractors. “Their support has helped to offset the costs for transportation, registration, and lodging for all four teams and our academic programs, which include mentoring, tutorial support and even a quiz bowl”, said Dixon. “We are also fortunate to have a strong group of parents who have supported and traveled with the kids to events throughout South and North Carolina.” He also emphasized the ongoing support of long time city councilman Franklin Smalls, Superintendent Leila Williams and Colleton County School District, website coordinator LeKeya Chisolm, and the various community members who have served as guest speakers at mentoring sessions for the C.A.G.E.R.S.

Special to The Colletonian (1187 Posts)