By Kevin Harvison
Members of the McAlester Swish AAU/MAYB boys 14-up traveling team proudly display the medals they received on June 9 in Owasso. After assembling a team from 5 local area schools, Coach P.J. Parker’s determination began to pay off as the boys hit the road in the Tulsa area during the months of April, May and June. Unlike most teams the boys face, they haven’t played together for years, but they are proof that with enough practice and the right coach, anything is possible. They won second in their first tournament in Tulsa back in April. This was followed by going back to Tulsa on May 4-5 and taking first place before even playing their last game of the event. They had won all of their games by a large enough point spread and were the only undefeated team there, and were named champions before playing their final opponents of the weekend. They ended the month of May with a tournament in Owasso on Memorial Day weekend. They returned to Owasso the weekend of June 8-9 to take on some great Tulsa area teams. The boys came in second after falling to the top seed in the tournament by just 6 points, and had beaten the same team the day before by 2 points. The boys practice at least twice a week in the McAlester area. Pictured are the players who showed up for the finals on June 9 in Owasso and are front row from left, Billy Morgan representing Haileyville; Bryson Hale representing Wilburton; Chaseton Bolding representing Savanna, and Tanner Coffee representing McAlester; and back are, Jaylen Irvin, Chase McNutt representing McAlester; Coach P.J. Parker and Zayne Goode representing Stuart. Team members not pictured are, Layne Braswell, Rashard Rushing and Marion Cristwell representing McAlester. The team is going to host a local AAU/MAYB tournament July 19-21 in McAlester. Any team interested in entering should contact Coach Parker at 254-251-8727. This will be the only AAU/MAYB recognized tournament in Southeastern Oklahoma. The entry fee will be $150 per team and is for boys ages 14-up. This should bring some teams that are very exciting to watch to the McAlester area.
A special thank you goes out to the following businesses and individuals for helping the boys raise money for uniforms and tournament entry fees, Edwards Law Firm; The Trophy Shop/Ink Its; Cathey and Associates; Harris Auto Sales; Buck Wilson Body Shop; Stuart Farm and Ranch; Roger Davis; Lance Fields; Jack Emerson and LA Ranch.
Anyone wishing to help these boys continue entering tournaments may also contact Coach Parker or any player to make donations. They are now in the process of trying to raise money for shooting shirts and to pay for places to practice. Coach Parker has plans of keeping this team together as they travel through their high school years and to continue representing McAlester in tournaments nation-wide.