CRESTVIEW — The Crestview Force, an Amateur Athletic Union boys basketball team, will head to Tennessee next week to participate in a national tournament.
The 11-player team is going to Memphis after winning the state boys basketball tournament in May for the second straight year.
The team, coached by John Kimble and assistant coaches, took home the state trophy in the Seventh grade, Division II category. The Force is competing in the same division for the national championship.
Player Terelle Holliday, 13, said the team is more than ready for the tournament.
“I just want to go out there and win,” he said.
The team has set fundraisers to help cover travel expenses. In addition to collecting donations at the Crestview Wal-Mart and organizing car wash benefits, the team has a gofundme.com account.
So far, the website has collected more than $2,300 of a $3,000 goal.
The community's support is appreciated.
“This is the first time they have ever been to nationals,” said assistant head coach Heath Childs. “All of these kids are from Crestview, which makes this even a little more special.”
Terelle said he enjoys playing basketball with his teammates.
“It’s like we are all playing street ball; we just go out and play,” he said. “I have been playing basketball and football with them since I was 4.”
Jay Stanton, 13, agreed that the team is close.
“They are technically my second family,” he said.
Childs echoed the sentiment.
“Most of these players consider each other brothers,” he said. “They are always around each other hanging out.”
HOW TO HELP