Swish teams enjoy long, successful summer

Swish youth basketball

Staff Writer

July was a long but successful month for the 16-under Starkville Swish basketball team.

It has consisted of trips to Atlanta, Georgia., for the Elite 32 Tournament, Louisville, Kentucky, for the All In Hoopfest, and finally Birmingham, Alabama, for the Future 150.

The competition was not the only thing that made it such a busy time for the Swish, but the exposure was overwhelming.

"It was “live period” which means during this time, college coaches can be at the events watching and recruiting, and they were out especially in Atlanta and Louisville," Swish coach Tricky Jackson said in a statement. "The kids performed well. During (July), we played some of the best teams in the country and beat a lot of them in the process."

The Swish went 2-2 in Atlanta, then went to Louisville where they went 2-1 in pool play and beat a tough Skylar Diggins team along the way. That put the Swish in the Gold division semi-final. That was an improvement from last year where the Swish made the bronze division after losing the first two games then fought back with three-straight wins to take the bronze division.

In a very popular game this year, the Swish lost a "heartbreaker" to Under Armor, which was sponsored by Mid-Ohio Pumas.

"It's even up on YouTube," Jackson said. "It was tied in overtime when the other team made a desperation 3-point attempt from behind half court and one of our players raised both hands to defend and the referee calls a foul as time expires. The other team hits the first free throw and game over. My guys played a hard game and fought back from a 12-point deficit to take it into overtime."

After the disappointing loss, the Swish were determined for better results in Birmingham.

"That’s just what we did," Jackson said.

The Swish lost the first pool play game by four points, then won the next four games consecutively to outright capture the pool and put them in the championship game.

There was only 10 minutes between clinching the pool and playing the championship game for the Swish, so they were a tired team.

"You could see how fatigued the team was as the game progressed," Jackson said. "They got down early by 11 points got it down to one point game with about 6 minutes left in regulation, then they ran out of gas.
"This 16U team has a lot of talent and most college coaches look to recruit from 17U. This team will have a lot of attention next year."

The leading scorer for the Swish was Coltie Young, who averaged 16 points a game, along with Trey Jackson, Ricky Johnson and Davante Martin, who each averaged double figures in scoring and rebounding.

The 16U Swish finished an impressive 31-12 during "a very competitive" travel season.

Jackson also gave a shout out to the 13U team that made the championship game in Birmingham and the 14U squad that was competitive but didn't have many victories to show for it.

"They had a very rocky season with not a lot of wins, but they played a lot of close games that just did not fall their way," Jackson said. "Through the season we had consistent play from Kylan Baggett, Reese Jackson, and Alvin Rogers.

"During the last two tournaments, both in Birmingham, we had standout performances from Reese Jackson and Jarius Jordan. Reese Jackson averaged 13 points per game over the two tournaments. In the first game at the Future150 he hit five 3’s and finished with 17 points. Jarius Jordan was highlighted as top 2022 recruit after hitting 12 points in the final game."

Jackson expects bigger things for the Swish program next year. He said any help that can be given would be appreciated.

"Any local companies that would be interested in sponsoring these young academic athletes, please contact me," Jackson said.

Jackson can be reached at tricky6162@aol.com.