SEABROOK - After losing to the Oakland Soldiers in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League Championship (EYBL) last summer, Team Takeover 17u guard Myles Dread was in tears after the game, trying explaining their loss.
“We fought back in the game,” said Dread. “It wasn’t enough, we shouldn’t have dug the hole that we did but we fought.”
This year, Takeover’s 17u squad made a huge splash to start the summer by becoming the top team in the EYBL with an impressive 16-0 record in league play, qualifying to the Nike EYBL Peach Jam Championship in July.
Following the championship loss last year, Team Takeover 17u head coach Keith Stevens gave a speech to the team, reminding that competing with 40 other AAU teams was not going to be easy, especially in league play.
However, the 17u team finished the EYBL undefeated, becoming the first team in league history to have two undefeated seasons. Led by current Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant, Team Takeover went 16-0 for the first time back in 2012.
“It’s definitely a major accomplishment,” DeMatha High School center and Takeover’s leading rebounder Hunter Dickinson said. “I expected us to be the best team in the country because of all of our talent and thought we had a chance to go undefeated. It’s always good to be a part of history but we aren’t done yet we still have our eyes set on Peach Jam.”
Not only were they just beating teams but in their 16 victories, Takeover won ten games by double digit points.
Takeover 17u is loaded with several local talents who are being heavily recruited by top Division 1 schools. The team’s leaders, both averaging 12 points a game, are a pair of local high school talents who have already made their college plans. DeMatha shooting guard Justin Moore recently announced his decision to attend Villanova commit while St. John’s College High School’s Casey Morsell committed to attend the University of Virginia.
“I’m honored to play for this team,” Moore, who has participated with Team Takeover since he was in 7th grad, said. “Since I got in [a] Takeover uniform, it has been special. Coaches teach us it’s not about ourselves but it’s a team and that really prepared me for life and as a leader.”
The team also includes Paul VI Catholic High School star Anthony Harris and former 16-and-under gold medalist for Team USA Jeremy Roach.
Not only has the 17u team qualified but Team Takeover’s 15u, 16u, and the girls program qualified for the EYBL Finals in their respected groups. The teams are currently gearing up for the Nike Peach Jam finals in July in North Augusta, S.C.
While success is important in these league and tournament games, for Takeover’s 16u Head Coach Doug Martin, the biggest concern is about making the kids better in the program.
“If you can get your kids better on the court then winning the games is the easy part,” Martin said.