12U Ascension Jaguars place 12th at Division I AAU Nationals

Staff reports
The 12U?Ascension Jaguars recently placed 12th at the Division I?AAU?Nationals in Hampton Virginia.

The 12 and under Ascension Jaguars competed in the 12 and under Division I Nationals July 15 - 23 in Hampton, Virginia.  96 teams were in Hampton battling for the right to call themselves National Champions.  

The first game of the tournament saw the Jaguars playing against “The City” the New York metropolitan region runner-ups.  The Jaguars led at half-time 24 - 21, but lost focus in the second half and lost the game 49 - 53.  Jaquel Gant led the team in scoring with 19 points and Charvon Julien chipped in 14 points. 

Next up for the Jaguars was Team Dallas 2015 the No. 4 ranked team in the nation. The Jaguars came out focused and played one of their best games of the season outlasting Team Dallas for a 51 - 46 victory.  Malik Crowfield led the team in scoring with 15 points. The final game of pool play saw the Jaguars facing the Anthony Atkinson All-stars.  The Jaguars came out determined to put this game away earlier and led at half-time 37 - 21. The Jaguars continued to click on all cylinders in the second half and won going away 73 - 48.  Jaquel Gant scored 27 points and Devante Francois put in another 16 points.  The 2 wins in pool play advanced the Jaguars to the Championship bracket. 

In the first round of the championship bracket the Jaguars played NBA2B the Indiana state runner-ups.  The Jaguars started off sluggish, falling behind 16 - 2, before making a comeback.  The Jaguars cut the lead down to 2 with 1 minute left in the game, but was unable to get over the hump, losing 47 - 49.  Jaquel Gant played a superb game torching NBA2B for 29 points  This was a heart breaking lost for the Jaguars, because the loss knocked them out of championship contention.  Next up for the Jaguars were the Indy Spiece Elite Hawks in the 1st round consolation bracket.  The first half was back and forth throughout, with the score tied at half 31 - 31. 

The team came out focused in the second half and ran away from Indy Spiece, winning 77 - 57.  Jaquel Gant continued his dominance dropping in 32 points and Malik Crowfield put up another 20 points.  Maryland's Finest was the next opponents for the Jaguars.  This game was never in doubt as the Jaguars led 36 - 20 at half-time. The Jaguars cruised to a 68 - 48 victory.  Jaquel Gant couldn't be stopped once again and put up 30 points with Devante Francios putting up 16 points. With a win in the next game the Jaguars would guarantee either an 8th or 12th place national finish.  In order to reach the goal, the Jaguars had to go through the Minnealpolis Hustlers. 

The Jaguars played a solid game and came away with a 73 - 58 victory. Jaquel Gant scored a season high 38 points in this contest.  Malik Crowfield lit up the scoreboard for another 14 points. Up next for the Jaguars was the 8th/12th place game.  The Jaguars played Oregon Fast Team Sports.  The Jaguars came out flat from the opening tip and could never put together a serious run.  The Jaguars trailed at half-time 17 - 24.  The Jaguars scored a tournament low for them of 30 points and lost 30 - 41 to finish as the 12th place team.  Even though the goal was to win the National Championship, finishing as the 12th best 12 and under team in the nation was a great achievement for the kids.  The 12 and under Jaguars finished the season with a 36 - 10 record.

During the season they won 2 tournament championships and finished as runner-ups in 3 others.  They are the Louisiana State Runner-ups.  The 12 and under Jaguars would like to thank all the players, parents and coaches who supported them this season.  The Jaguars would like to give special thanks to their sponsors who made this season possible: Eatel, Prairieville Wal-Mart, Attorney John Gutierrez, Attorney Ebony Cavalier, Attorney Ryland Percy, Attorney Anthony Marshall, Gussie Johnson, Fraternal Order of Police, Chief of Police Sherman Jackson, Cajun Catch Seafood, Mike Andersons and CF Industries. 

The Jaguars would also like to give special thanks to East Ascension High School, Gonzales Middle School and Dutchtown High School for allowing them to utilize their practice facilities.  The team was coached by Travis J. Turner, Barry Whittington, Jr. and Rondrick Gray.  Team members are Jaquel Gant, Charvon Julien, Devante Francois, Malik Crowfield, Malik Anderson, Nicholas Brown, Randell Watkins, Jr., Courtney Julien, Jr. and Christian Pilgrim.