A group of girls, many from Columbia County, moved within reach of their goal last week.
The 16 players of the Pro Vision Elite Wildcats traveled to Orlando, Fla., July 10-15 to compete in the Amateur Athletic Union Basketball 11th-Grade Division II National Championship.
The group, with its core members coming from Columbia County, had been working toward their goal of competing in the championship since April.
Led by coach Antwann Glover, the team started pool-style play facing teams from Tennessee and Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
If the team had finished in the top two of the four-team pool on Thursday, it would have advanced in the championship.
Unfortunately, the team lost its first game Wednesday 62-36 to Team Memphis Elite and then later fell to West Boca Travel Basketball 36-23 Wednesday night.
Among the players were Anna Motes from Augusta Christian; Jasmine Stone, Autumn Johnson and Allysha McFarland from Evans; Jacey Owens and Kara Thompson from Greenbrier; Joshalyn Leverett-Scott, and Bria Baker from Lakeside; and Rosalyan Talley and Tristan Real from Lakeside.
“They’re playing good basketball at this point,” said Glover before the tournament. “They’re actually coming together. They started off a little rocky because they were learning the chemistry.
“We have a lot of girls from different areas. Once they started clicking, they really started winning some basketball games.”
To reach the tournament, the team had to qualify by placing first through third at a super regional tournament. They qualified in June after winning a super regional tournament in Columbia and placing second in another.
Glover has been with the majority of the group for a few years with another organization.
“This is the first year we’ve launched Pro Vision,” Glover said. “We’ve added a couple of strong girls from Washington County (and) Warren County. The actual heart of this team has been together since they were freshmen.”
Glover’s strategy for the season, he said, relied on rebuilding.
‘‘I didn’t want them to focus so much on the individual games as much as getting better and getting better, tournament by tournament,” he said.
His plan looked to be paying off heading into the championships.
“We’ve won a total of four first-place trophies and two second-place (ones),” he said.