By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMarch 1, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Mar. 1, 2012) -- The 11-12 year-old 2012 Fort Rucker Youth Basketball Tournament wrapped up its final game Feb. 24 as Kinston took home the championship beating Abbeville 27-19.
The game remained tied through the half and into the third period with both teams having scored 11 points. Kinston managed to pull out a lead against Abbeville, however, scoring the majority of its points in the final period of the game.
Terry Hall, coach for Kinston's youth team, spoke about how he and his team enjoyed competing in the tournament and plan to continue participating every year they can.
"I really enjoyed these games," he said. "Most of these kids came and played last year in the 9-10 year-old tournament and we all really just enjoy the games. They are fair and that's what I like about them."
The tournament was created by Randy Tolison, Fort Rucker Youth Sports and Fitness director, who wanted to give the kids who weren't able to participate in the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association all-star games in the post season.
The eight-game tournament began Feb. 21 with all eight teams playing in four games to determine who would go on the next round, according to the youth sports director.
The first game was between Elba and Fort Rucker Collins. FR-Collins took the win with a forfeit by Elba and advanced to the next round where it faced Kinston who beat out Fort Rucker Mack 42-22.
Abbeville took on Fort Rucker Ivy in the following game, beating the Fort Rucker team 37-18 to go on to face Slocomb in the next round who also received a win by forfeit over Dothan Boys and Girls Club.
In the next round of games, Kinston beat out FR-Collins 40-23 to advance to the final game against Abbeville, who barely beat Slocomb in a close game with a score of 12-10, according to Tolison.
Kinston eventually won the tournament as they met Abbeville in the final game, but it wasn't about winning, it was about being able to participate in a post-season tournament that everyone could enjoy, said the youth sports director.
"ARPA only takes all-star teams and not all of our kids were able to be on those teams," he said. "So, we created a tournament so that the kids that weren't able to play in the post-season games were able to have a post-season experience."
The result of that was an eight-game tournament between teams from surrounding communities including three from Fort Rucker.
"We got together and called the local communities to ask them if they were interested in participating in a tournament," said Tolison.
"I think [Tolison] did a great job with this tournament that he put together," said Hall. "The kids enjoyed it and they learned a lot. We were able to put these kids into a tournament environment since we don't get to technically do all-stars like ARPA. It's just great for these kids to have this experience."
Some of the smaller communities are not a part of ARPA, according to Tolison, and don't have a post-season tournament that they can participate in and that is why it was important to put on the tournament.
"It's just been a great turnout," he said. "Our kids really represent Fort Rucker well and we've had no complaints [about the games]. They really enjoy just coming out and being able to play basketball."
Both teams that participated in the final game went home with trophies to take home and feel like winners. The winning team members also received medallions with their trophy to signify their win.
"This is a great opportunity for the kids and we're going to continue to do this every year if we can," said Tolison.