Tifton Gazette

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May 24, 2014

Blue Devil teams honored at basketball banquet

TIFTON — It was a night of memories, of celebrating the past and toasting the future. Beulah Hill Baptist Church was at full capacity Thursday evening as boys basketball teams from Eighth Street Middle, Northeast Campus and Tift County High were honored.

Dr. Eric Holland thanked everyone in attendance, including the Board of Education and administrators. "Five years ago, you blessed me," he said. His Tift varsity squad won the school’s second state championship this season.

The event included a guest speaker, Christopher D. Hill, who spoke of being a champion in life. Precious Melton also sang a solo.

Assistant Chris Wade listed off all the players who have signed scholarships. Six from the team have signed specifically to play basketball. Another — Stefon Mills — will be attending Valdosta State on the Jack Gibbs Memorial Scholarship, Wade said, and Steven Waters was in negotiations with Georgia Southern to sign to play football.

Each coach then individually recognized their teams, from seventh grade up to varsity.

Of the Eighth Street Middle groups, Isaac Alford's seventh grade went 9-3 and finished 2nd in the SGAC and Dallas Neloms' eighth grade team won the conference championship.

Moving on to Northeast Campus, Anthony Bateman ninth graders went 10-2. "I don't know how we did it, but we did," he said. His team, he said, also finished with the highest GPA. Xavier Holmes coached the junior varsity squad.

Then it was time for Holland's own team to come to the front.

After recognizing each varsity player in numerical order, he handed out team awards.

Coaching: Quay Fergerson

Hustle: Tyrie Jackson

Will to win: Michael Johnson

Most improved: Hayden Mullinax, whom Holland said had been elected team captain for 2014-15.

Sixth man: Jalen Lewis

Blue Devil: Rashawn Canady

212 degrees: Nate Thomas

Defensive: Ladarius Stewart

Offensive: D.J. Bryant

Player of the year: Tadric Jackson

Most outstanding: Preston Horne

Toughness: Waters

Academic: Mills

As the players stood up front, Holland had one final surprise for them: a presentation of championship rings.

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