Blazers are Memphis-bound

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Suffolk Blazers, a 13-and-under AAU basketball team, is headed to the AAU National Tournament in Memphis, Tenn.

Two of the players — Nicholas Doyle and Jalen Ford — are from Southampton County.

Doyle and Ford, both students at Southampton Middle School, played junior varsity basketball for Southampton High School this past year.

After opening ceremonies on Sunday, the team will participate in the U-13 Division II championships beginning Monday.

The squad will enter pool play Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday against teams from Louisiana, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The rest of the tournament is double-elimination.

The Blazers would need to finish first or second in their pool to continue play on Thursday. The championship game is set for July 6.

The Blazers reached the tournament by winning the regional in Hampton with a 4-1 record, then winning the state

tournament in Fort Lee with an undefeated record.

&uot;We have been doing fund-raisers and scrimmaging various teams,&uot; said Keith Doyle, a representative from the team. &uot;This is the team’s third year to nationals, and last year they were ranked 10th in the nation. There will be about 50 teams in our division, with teams from about every state.&uot;

The team has been working out against the Southampton junior varsity team and a team from Lakeland High School.

Fund-raising has secured much of the cost to send the 12 players to Memphis at $1,200 apiece.

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) was founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in amateur sport. The AAU is involved in 35 different amateur sports.