Chobee Nation brings home national championships

KISSIMMEE — Two Chobee Nation basketball teams were able to bring back national championships from the 2019 USSSA National Basketball Tournament held in Kissimmee on July 4-7.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Chobee Nation
Their 2019 win marks the third time the Chobee Nation varsity boys team has won the national championship in the last four years.

The Okeechobee boys varsity team and the girls eighth grade team took home championships in their divisions.

Boys varsity coach Demetre Riles was proud of the effort each Chobee Nation team put into the tournament.

“It was a lot of tough hard work for the kids to prepare to play in the tournament and they accomplished the goal they set out to do,” said Riles. “It’s competitive, it’s not an easy thing to do.”

The boys varsity team opened the tournament with a 57-31 win over JC Mambas. The next day they won 60-39 over MCB Elite. That put Chobee Nation up against Taylored Athletes Elite in back-to-back games which Okeechobee went on to win 52-48 and 49-40 to earn the championship.

This marks the third time that the Chobee Nation varsity team has won the USSSA national championship. The team won both in 2016 and 2017 as well.

The Chobee Nation eighth grade girls opened the tournament with a 49-47 win against Charlotte County Miracle, but the following game saw Okeechobee fall to NSL eighth, 41-28.

That setback didn’t stop the girls however, as they came back the next day to defeat Charlotte County again 40-37 to force a championship rematch against NSL eighth.

The championship game saw things go in the Okeechobee team’s favor as the girls were able to pull off a 49-42 win.

“They overcame a lot of adversity,” said girls coach Jovanny Torres of his players. “Coming back and beating a team that beat them in the second game of pool play. They took what I said and executed to perfection. The team we faced was playing a defense we hadn’t practiced for so none of our plays worked. I had to draw something up during a timeout, something we had never practiced before and they adjusted very well.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Chobee Nation
The Chobee Nation girls eighth grade team shows off the rings and trophy they received for winning the 2019 USSSA Basketball National Championship.

“My point guard, Justice Shanks, did an amazing job of seeing the court and making great passes to set up easy layups for her teammates,” continued Torres. “Shooting guard Leta Adamo knocked down a couple clutch three-point shots and that opened up the paint for my forward, Semaj Jasper and center McKenzie Neal to be able to have more room to work and get easy lay ups. This group of girls has great chemistry and play hard from the first to the last whistle. The effort was above and beyond my expectation.”

Riles credits Chobee Nation for helping revitalize the basketball programs at the high school and middle school level in Okeechobee. Earlier this year the Okeechobee High School boys varsity team won their first district championship in 28 years.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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