The final week of July, 2012 was a time to remember for the 6th grade KY District Champions, Spiece KY Gators. During the State AAU Division 1 tournament held at KBA in March, 2012, Coach Lee Brones and the Spiece KY Gators won in convincing fashion and showed promise to represent Kentucky well at Nationals.
The Gators were placed into pool play with one of the most difficult schedules facing the nationally ranked Team Ferrari out of Chicago and also the highly seeded Indy Hoosiers who have been a perennial Top 10 ranked team for many seasons. To round out the pool, the Gators also needed to compete against the Maryland Hawks who finished well in the D1 tournament as 5th graders in 2011. There was a strong opinion that the pool was as difficult as any other of the 86 teams competing in Hampton, VA at the Boo Williams Complex. The Spiece KY Gators had played a very competitive 2012 season to prepare them for the most elite competition found at the Division 1 National AAU tourneys. This preparation paid off as they finished pool play to emerge as the #1 seed team from their pool to advance to the Championship bracket and also gain a bye.
First (Team Melo from Baltimore, MD) and Second (PG Bulls from Prince George, MD) round victories advanced the KY Gators to the round of Elite Eight where they scored a huge victory over the George Hill Rising Stars out of Indiana. On the final day of the event the semi-final matchup was against the GA United team from Atlanta. The game was close throughout and with less than a minute remaining the KY Gators possessed the ball only down 1 point, but could not get the basket they needed to advance to the National Championship game. Still, this very strong team from KY left a mark at the tournament establishing themselves with their aggressive and fast style of play that reinforced the brand of basketball that is putting Kentucky back on the map of the AAU national scene.
The team had solid contributions and was represented from several cities in Kentucky. Louisville standouts Nick Olsofka, Ahmad Price, Alvin Thomas, Kobe Stanton & Anthony Wales all played significant roles. Paducah standouts JJ Reed and Nathan Stonecipher were each outstanding at the post position. Corbin was represented with scoring guard Andrew Taylor. Other team members from Louisville were Solomon Mathis, Dylan Dunbar, Davis Bryant, Marshon Ford, Tone Wales, and Zion Smith. Look for the Spiece KY Gators to be a leading contender for the National Division 1 title as 7th graders with all contributing players looking to return to build upon this fantastic Final Four finish.