Greenville Wildcats travel to Birmingham for Sports Festival

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 1, 2000

It may not seem like basketball season, but try telling that to the Greenville Wildcats.

The Wildcats are a group of girls who will represent the Camellia City during the Alabama Sports Festival XVIII State Games in Birmingham this weekend.

The group of girls, all 12 years-old or younger, took the court at Ensley High School to take on the Berry Bucs at 1:00 p.m. on Friday. The schedule calls for each team to play two games during the first day of the tournament. After finishing their first game, the Wildcats had to turn around and do it all again as they played the Alabama Roadrunners Blue at 3 p.m. The third game of the tournament will be played at noon today as the Greenville team will take on the Alabama Lady Warriors.

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There are nine teams participating in the Sports Festival and after the first three games have been played, the four teams with the best overall record will play in a championship tournament on Sunday.

The members of the team are Danita Crenshaw, Frances Watts, Andrea Roper, Kendra Mitchell, Lakendria Perdue, Laura Skipper, Denise Smith, Jessica Powell, Katoria McDonald, Micki Harris and Morgan Crenshaw.

Willie Williams and Jerome Harris, the coaches of the team, have been practicing with the girls for the past five weeks.

Williams said the group of players are taking the challenge of the tournament very seriously.

"All of these girls have a great attitude," he said. "These are girls we expect will be playing at their respective junior highs during the upcoming season. They are competitive and are looking forward to the competition."

Brenda Mitchell, a Greenville Parks and Recreation Department employee who has been helping with the team, said before the girls left for the tournament they fared well during two scrimmage games against the Greenville High School girls' basketball squad despite having many inexperienced players.

"We have four girls who have played basketball at the middle school level. Other than that, most of the girls have not had much experience in playing basketball with a full team. But, they've practiced really hard and have come a long way since the first practice," Mitchell said.

Williams said the team he and Harris will take to Birmingham is an all-around team that showcases many talents.

"Each kid brings her own unique talent to the game. But, they are primarily a defensive team with a few good scorers as well," he said.

In the scrimmage against the high school team the Wildcats walked away having earned one victory, while losing the second game.

Mitchell said she believed this team is strong enough to do well in the tournament.

"They should perform well. They are physically and mentally prepared to play and they are having a lot of fun with it," she said.

Williams said the group of girls have come a long way in the few weeks they have practiced together.

"Some of the girls have played before, either on junior high teams or with the Parks and Recreation Department. But, for some of them this is their first chance to play on a team. They have come together as a group and have learned a lot about how to play the game as opposed to just throwing the ball at the basket," Williams said.