The Franklin County Basketball Academy 16 and under basketball team has played well this summer, but isn’t willing to settle for second best.
The team placed second in the Tallahassee Comets Explosion Tournament on May 10-12, defeating the Quincy Warriors 48-28 to make it to the championship. Kelsey Jones and Logan McLeod made the All-Tournament team. Players who also participated in the tourney include Cameron White, Marshall Sweet, Tyler Howard, KK Wilson, Josue Barahona, Quantavious Fuller, Tanner Boone and Tyler Farmer.
On May 31, the team opened up its first tourney games against the Tallahassee Heat which had members from Godby, Lincoln, and FAMU high schools. Coach Michael Sweatt said the team played well but lost in double overtime. The last play of the game Jones hit a three-pointer to tie the game but one referee claimed his toe was on the line and called it a two-pointer so the Seahawks lost 53-52. This meant they had to win the rest of their games Saturday and Sunday to make it to the championship game.
“Boy, did our team respond to that,” said Sweatt.
The team opened up Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the Wildcats from Taylor County. It was a tight game at the half, with Franklin County down 19-17. “The second half we jumped on them with our full court pressure led by Sweet, White, and Jones in the backcourt and outscored them 42-19, finalizing the score of 59-38,” Sweatt said. An offensive spark from Barahona who hit six three-pointers in the game helped out.
The next game wasn't until 6 p.m. so the team went and watched a movie and hung out at the mall. They played the Georgia Rams, which had them beat in size but again speed and determination led to the victory. The Seahawks led the entire game and won with a defensive stop at the last play, with a final of 49-47.
McLeod fronted the post, as designed in the timeout, so they had to lob it over the top to their big man and there were Jones and White on the weak side to meet him. He threw up a wild contested shot and Jones secured the rebound for the victory. On that play McLeod tweaked the knee he hurt during the jamboree football game.
“We thought we weren't going to have him on Sunday morning,” Sweatt said.
Sunday the game started at 8 a.m. which meant the team left Apalachicola at 5:50 a.m. The team was sore and tired but everybody showed up ready to win. And who was at the gym at FAMU waiting? Logan.
“We played the Aucilla Attack team that morning and had a shaky first half,” Sweatt said. “They ran a collapsing 2/3 zone and we were settling for contested shots and not running the play. We were down at the half 19-16.”
The Seahawks played solid man defense led by Howard who shut their best player down the entire second half. They only scored six points and the final score was 39-25. “Farmer did really well, controlling the offense at the point in the second half too,” Sweatt said.
With a three-game win streak, the Seahawks were in the championship game, facing the 4-0 Tallahassee Heat. “The only dilemma was it didn't start until 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, so another drag time of waiting,” Sweatt said. “We went to the mall then came back and watched some ball.
“The championship game started off rough. We had way too many turnovers throughout the whole game. Even though we turned the ball over, we played great defense,” said the coach.
The Seahawks were down by four midway through the second half when McLeod went down again, and the team ended up losing by double digits.
“Even though we lost in the championship game our guys represented our county very well,” Sweatt said. “Second place did not sit well with the team though, as this is now back-to-back tournaments in which we have been runner-up. I like that our team is not settling for second and is not happy with it. I am proud of how hard we fought though.”
Jones was named to the All-Tournament Team again. Kids in this tournament included Howard, Sweet, McLeod, Wilson, Jones, Barahona, White, Farmer, and Matt Murray.
The team’s next tournament was June 22 in Panama City. They are also playing on Tuesday evenings in Tallahassee at Dade Street Community Rec Center, in a 17-and-under league.
On Tuesday, the team played against Port St Joe and Liberty County. They opened with a 41-29 win over Liberty and then lost to St. Joe in the nightcap 50-37. “We played well considering we were missing players,” said Sweatt.
Kelsey Jones led scorers in the Liberty game with a double-double 16 points and 12 rebounds. In the second game White stood out with his hustle on defense and his dribble drive penetration, finishing with 11 points and five steals. Barahona hit six three-pointers in the game and led scorers with 18 points. McLeod did not participate in the St Joe game, and Jones played sparingly due to a strained hip. Other players who participated and played well were Howard, Farmer, Murray, and Nathan Jones.
“Overall I liked the effort from the team and we are really improving and working hard,” said Sweatt. “We started at the end of March with our offseason basketball and the past three months have been great for our older team and our younger team. We have been working three days a week and some four days a week on fundamentals and gaming.
“We have another month left in gaming for the offseason before fall basketball workouts start. The 16 and under team has 3 tournaments left in the month of July.” he said.
“I want to thank our sponsors again Gander Auto Parts, Inc., Fisherman's Choice, Sandy Beach Properties, C and S Service, Barber's Seafood, and Gulf Coast Auto Parts,” said Sweatt.