The tournament, which also was a memorial for fallen Grasshoppers Arve’ Black and E.J. Richards, featured 30 boys teams from all over the Southern Crescent ages 11-under to 17-under. Black and Richards were killed in a car wreck on June 28, 1998 — a wreck in which Grasshoppers founder and head coach Alan “Duck” Richards survived.
“We wanted to host this tournament because we can’t forget those players we lost in the accident. Arve’ and my nephew E.J. dreamed of being career basketball players and we’ll always keep the dream alive,” said Richards.
The House Party went well for the 17-under team, which blazed its way to the tourney finals to face the Fulton County Rockin’ Knights. Thanks to hot shooting from Grasshopper guard Tae Mayes, the local team rocked the Rockin’ Knights from the start, sprinting to a 34-2 first-quarter lead en route to winning the championship.
Mayes led the Grasshoppers in the blowout victory with 45 points, sinking 15 three-pointers.
“Tae was unbelievable. He actually made 15 treys, some of them on the break. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Richards said.
The 17-under Grasshoppers were comprised of Mayes, Markeydeous “MoKing” Prather, Markee Dickerson, Anthony Calloway, DeAngelo Anthony, Kenneth Colquitt, Eric Miller, Kyle Dugger and Kris Bell.
In other tournament action, the 15-under Grasshoppers made it to their division’s championship game, but they fell to the South Atlanta Knights 36-31. Raymond Wynn led the second-place Grasshoppers with 19 points, followed by Zalan Richards with 14.
“This was a very successful event,” coach Richards said. “We’re looking to do this tourney every year.”
The 17-under Grasshoppers, which has a new theme song performed by Atlanta rapper “Trigger”, will be very busy this month. They travel to play in a tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. July 14-15, followed by the Peach State Classic in Augusta July 18-22 and the AAU Showcase at the Walt Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando July 24-30. All three tournaments will be NCAA live events, where college coaches can check out the players, Richards said.
To sponsor the Grasshoppers or make a donation for their trips, please call coach Richards at (404) 402-4951 or go to iHigh.com/griffingrasshoppers for more information.