Jay and Michael Middleton missed out on a state championship when Whale Branch Early College High School fell 71-64 to C.A. Johnson in overtime earlier this month in the state Class 1-A final in Columbia.
But they'll get another shot at a title this year, this time in Florida.
The Unit, an AAU team comprised of 10 players from Beaufort County won the Atlanta Hoops Quest Tournament this past weekend in Atlanta, Ga. The win qualifies the team for the AAU 11th-grade Division II National Championship to be held July 8 through July 13 in Tavares, Fla., near Orlando.
The Unit, with different players, of course, played in the National Championships in 2012, as well.
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Joining the Middletons on this version of The Unit are Beaufort High's Travis Belflower, Henry Jones III, Henry Mack, Jawan Mack, Darryl Owen and Sire Perry. Adonis Williams of Battery Creek is on the roster, as well. Hilton Head Christian's Joshua Polk is the only player from southern Beaufort County on the roster.
Head coach David Francis is assisted by Kenny Mack and Al Williams.
In pool play for the Hoops Quest, The Unit beat GA Lethal, 69-61, on Friday and Positive M-Pact, 55-47, on Saturday. The 2-0 mark and point differential put them in fourth place headed into bracket play.
The Unit opened bracket play with a 74-71 win over the Gwinnett Starz before downing Atlanta Select (Prime) 56-47. Those two wins set up a game with Atlanta Select (Classic) in Sunday's championship. The Unit won 79-72.
"With the great contributions and attitude of all The Unit team members, the weekend was a success," said Francis, who didn't want to single out any individual player's accolades, instead focusing on the team.
Before the national championships, The Unit will travel to the Orlando, Fla. area in April to play in the AAU Easter Classic at ESPN's Wide World of Sports.
"We are travel basketball so any contributions from local individuals and businesses are greatly appreciated," Francis said. "AAU participation gives the young men an opportunity to play in front of NCAA scouts and recruiters for college scholarship opportunities, so we'd really like to keep them traveling through the spring and summer."