Greenville Parks and Rec 18-and-under team wins state
Published 5:16 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Everyone loves a good comeback story, but few are fortunate enough to experience them firsthand.
The Greenville Parks and Recreation 18-and-under basketball team was one such team this weekend following the bounce back from a crushing 1-point loss at the district level to win the state championship at the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association (ARPA) State Basketball Tournament.
More impressive still is that the Greenville team, considered the No. 3 seed in their respective district, went on to win it all and it wasn’t even remotely close.
Greenville’s 18-and-under team competed with a grand total of four teams last weekend, including Hoover, Pell City, Monroeville and Enterprise, and won them all by at least a margin of 25 points.
Head basketball coach Ronald Bogan said that in a way, the 1-point loss the team suffered a few weeks ago proved more fuel for the fire than any amount of coaching could.
“Normally in district play, only the top two teams make it to the state level. We were actually the third team. We were fortunate to be invited back to compete for the state title,” Bogan said.
“You don’t get too many second opportunities in life. For Mrs. Womack to get us a second opportunity was really a blessing, and I guess these guys really wanted to prove that they could compete. The kids bought into our system and what we were trying to do. In district play, you’ve got a lot of 18-year-olds that think they know how to play basketball and want to do what they see on television. But when it comes to being a team sport, you have to play as a team instead of individuals.”
And team play is exactly what Bogan got last weekend, as his eight players took command at various points throughout the weekend to lead Greenville to a dominant tournament run.
Bogan expected the championship round to prove the toughest test yet for his team, especially given that Enterprise was the team that won the district-level tournament that Greenville competed in.
But that couldn’t have been further from the case.
“After those guys saw those championship rings they were competing for, it gave them the extra incentive to prove a point and say ‘this team is supposed to be the best in our district, but we’re going to show that we’re the best in our district,’” Boggan said. “We ended up beating them by 35 points in the championship game. That’s rare.”
Bogan added that the landmark tournament run speaks volumes about his team’s grit in the face of adversity, but he also hopes the season serves as a springboard for bigger and better things in the realm of basketball in Butler County.
“We met last night, and we’re trying to get 12, 10 and 8-and-under groups and get them prepared for the next level as far as middle school and high school basketball,” Boggan said.
“We’re trying to get something going as far as a year-round basketball program. Those kids saw those rings and said ‘hey, I want to be a part of this program.’ Everybody wants to be a winner.”