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Williamstown girls earn spot in AAU national tourney

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By Ryan Naus

When Hannah Scroggins and Shelby Beckham started their AAU basketball season, the girls were looking forward for the chance to play in the national tournament in Florida.

Their team, the Basketball Club of Kentucky Firebirds, earned a trip to Disney World, the site of the national tournament, with a second-place finish in the Kentucky AAU tournament in March. The national tournament is July 15 through 20. The Firebirds are a 10 and under team.

“I’m excited because it’s in Florida,” Scroggins said. “Once I found out we were still going to nationals, I was excited that we still had a chance to win nationals.”

“We didn’t play well that game and we should have come in first, but I was happy,” Beckham said. “I was excited because we get to go to Florida and be in the opening ceremonies parade.”

The girls tried out for the Firebirds in August, earning spots on the team and started at point guard (Beckham) and forward (Scroggins).

“We had girls from seven different elementary schools and five different counties try out,” coach Tom Luebbe said. “Hannah is athletic and is tall for her age. Her strength is her defense and rebounding. Shelby runs the show. She keeps everybody organized and is able to score in bunches.”

Michelle Gambrel also coaches the team.

The loss in the state tournament was the team’s first loss of the year. The team followed up by making it to the championship game of the Super Regional AAU tournament before ending with the team’s second loss. Their record is 42-2.

“We do a good job around here, but there are so many good teams that will be at the national tournament,” Luebbe said. “Our expectations are that we play our best, have fun and try to finish as high in the tournament as we can.”

The team is made up from players from Northern Kentucky as Hailey Ison of Independence, McKenzie Leigh of Fort Thomas, Zoe Luebbe of Walton, Autumn Bowen of Gallatin County, Brianna Adler of Fort Thomas, Taylor Gambrel of Burlington and Anna Cully of Piner round out the team.

“They are serious about basketball and are the dominant players on their own teams and this pushes them to get better,” Luebbe said. “One of the things that is nice about these girls is that they’re able to come together and play as a team. I enjoy watching them play against each other for their schools, but it’s great to watch them come together and play so well.”

The girls believe they can win at the national level and are preparing for better competition at the tournament.

“I think we can do pretty well. We have to work together,” Beckham said. “We’ve learned that we’re a good team and we can beat anybody we play. Everybody on our team is talented.”

“I like spending time with the team and I’m excited about going to Disney World. Getting to play against harder teams will make us better,” Scroggins said. “That’s why we started the AAU team because we wanted to go to Florida and we wanted to win.”

Beckham is the daughter of Teddy and Becky of Williamstown. Scroggins is the daughter of Mike and Tammy of Williamstown.

Anyone interested in helping to sponsor the girls’ trip should contact Tammy Scroggins at 859-750-4365.