LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — On a last-second shot by Jackson See, the Ohio Unity 16U boys’ basketball team won the 2016 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball championship in dramatic fashion Monday at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Ohio Unity went 7-0 in the tournament. Two of the players and a coach for the squad are from Wilmington. Wilmington High School students Matt Smith and Dylan Beaugard played for Ohio Unity in the national tournament while Marty Beaugard Sr. served as a coach on the team.
In addition, former Texas Christian University player Corey Santee also was a coach for Ohio Unity. Aside from See, Beaugard and Smith, other players who participated in the national championship tournament were Thomas Arrington (Springboro), Michael Nelson (Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy), Noah Pedelty (Mason), Terry Durham (Mount Healthy), Paris Simpson (Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy) and Noah Kelly (Springboro). Prior to the national tournament, Alex Deyle (Moeller) and Bobby Jefferson (St. Xavier) played with Ohio Unity. They missed the nationals because of commitments with football, according to a press release from Ohio Unity.
The Ohio Unity season started in late March with a runner-up finish in a regional tournament in Indianapolis and included tournaments in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, Columbus and Cincinnati.
In the title game, Lakota East junior Jackson See hit a buzzer-beating, three-point shot to lift Ohio Unity to a 53-50 win over Queen City Athletic Association (QCAA) Force of Charlotte, N.C.
“They were a great team, great coaches, too,” Ohio Unity coach Marty Beaugard said. “They (Force) have been together since the third grade and have won four (national titles).”
Ohio Unity went 3-0 in Pool I in games played Wednesday through Friday of last week. The first two games were close ones, a 59-56 win over a team from Virginia and a 58-56 win over the aforementioned QCAA Force squad.
Then, in the final pool matchup, Ohio Unity had little trouble in a 72-58 win over a team from Tennessee.
With the results of Pool I, Ohio Unity and the QCAA Force advanced into the championship bracket of the 16u age group.
In its first bracket game, Ohio Unity was faced with a state AAU title game rematch against the Shining Stars out of Cincinnati. In the state championship game, Shining Stars defeated Ohio Unity by five, Beaugard said.
“I always thought we had the better team,” Beaugard said, noting Ohio Unity defeated the Shining Stars in a tournament game early in the season.
Ohio Unity was on point against the Shining Stars and cruised to a 60-46 victory. Then Ohio Unity defeated the Boston Amateur Basket Ball Club 54-52 and a team from New York 67-47.
That win made Ohio Unity 6-0 and put them in the national championship game against the QCAA Force. Despite a win over the Force earlier in the tournament, Beaugard was not concerned with overconfidence.
“No, when we met North Carolina, we told the guys they feel the same way about us that we felt about Shining Stars; so we prepared for that,” Beaugard said.
The game, which aired on ESPN3, was a good one throughout but ended when See hit the winning shot.
“It was on ESPN3 (Wednesday) and I watched it again … it was just as good the second time,” Beaugard said. “The difference was our defense. We pressured teams. We got a lot of turnovers. It was a good team effort. Somebody always stepped up and did their thing.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports