Fireworks and cookouts are not the only events on the menu during the upcoming Independence Day weekend. July 1-3 the Mobile Convention Center will serve as the host site for the AAU-sanctioned Competitive Youth Basketball League’s Southern Showcase Series Championships.

The facility along the Mobile River has hosted indoor events before, including a national bowling tournament. This time around, the Mobile Sports Authority will have nine portable surfaces from Travel Courts set up for teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Danny Corte, executive director of the Mobile Sports Authority, said, “We are very excited to be bringing a major youth basketball tournament to Mobile. With our new partnership with Travel Courts and the CYBL, as well as with our local partner at Visit Mobile, we believe this tournament has the potential to grow over the years to an even bigger event for our community. We want to thank Travel Courts and the CYBL for showing the confidence in us to add Mobile to their schedule.”

There will be divisions for boys and girls ranging from grades 4-11. Play starts Friday at 4:15 p.m. and will wrap up Sunday night. Admission is $10 per day for adults and $5 per day for children.

“It’s a great pleasure, and, even more so, an honor, for the CYBL to have the opportunity to host our inaugural championship in one of the greatest and most historic cities in the country, as well as the possibility of making this an annual event in the Port City of Mobile in coming years,” said Steve Hughes, CYBL’s director of operations for basketball. “With the support from the AAU National Office, this event is one of three events in the country that will award each division winner a paid entry into either AAU National Championship, AAU Super Showcase or International Championship, which will be held in Orlando, Florida, in July.”

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Helping wounded warriors
The Spanish Fort Town Center is hosting the “Smoke on the Coast” event on Saturday, July 2. The event starts at 5 p.m. with food trucks, a kids’ zone, arts and craft vendors, live music by Willie Sugarcapps and a fireworks display at 9 p.m.

(Photo | Team River Runner South Alabama) The objective of Team River Runner is to create an environment of healthy adventure for healing active-duty and veteran service members through paddle sports.

(Photo | Team River Runner South Alabama) The objective of Team River Runner is to create an environment of healthy adventure for healing active-duty and veteran service members through paddle sports.

While the event is free to the public, the Town Center will donate proceeds to the “Team River Runner” organization. The objective of the national organization, which has a branch in Daphne, is “to create an environment of healthy adventure for healing active duty and veteran service members through paddle sports.” To learn more about the group, visit or Facebook at Team River Runner South Alabama.

Tonya Butler-Collins, a Gulf War veteran, works with Team River Runners. While currently completing her doctoral degree in sports sciences at the U.S. Sports Academy, she will speak on empowering people to take control of their lives and health through education.

Also taking part in the Spanish Fort Town Center event is Fairways Indoor Golf Club, which has four bays that can simulate almost 90 different courses. BMW of Mobile is sponsoring one of their bays, offering visitors a free trial. There will also be a DJ providing music while the bar will offer drink specials.

Aiming for the show
Several area college stars have been selected in Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft. The highest selection was outfielder Cole Billingsley, who just completed his junior season at the University of South Alabama.

Taken in the 19th round with the 571st pick by Baltimore, he led the Sun Belt in stolen bases for the second straight year and the league in sacrifice flies. “It is what you work for — to hear your named called,” said Billingsley, a first-team all-SBC pick and a member of the Rawlings Gold Glove Team for the second time.

Kevin Hill, a right-handed pitcher for USA, was picked in the 25th round with the 757th pick by Houston. The only player in SBC history to earn the league’s pitcher of the year award twice, Hill led the conference in strikeouts and innings pitched. He was a first-team All-American choice by Collegiate Baseball.

Colorado selected John Shelley of the University of Mobile in the 29th round with the 860th pick. The senior went 7-3 last season with a 2.98 earned run average. He was second-team all-conference.

USA golf news
Although school is out, there have been several big events for the men’s golf team at South Alabama. Jason Mendel, a rising junior, finished as the runner-up at the 99th annual Yamaha Atlanta Open. After posting a 7-under-par 137 over 36 holes, Mendel lost on the third hole of a playoff.

Marc-Etienne Bussieres, who finished his USA career in 2010, posted four victories over three days to win the PGA Championship of Canada. He had earned the top seed in the match-play segment after firing a 3-under-par 137 to win medalist honors. With the win, Bussieres moves into the top 10 of the PGA of Canada player rankings.

Alex Hamilton, an assistant at South Carolina, has been named the new men’s golf coach at USA. The former Gamecock All-America Scholar-Athlete is taking over for Ben Hannan who, after leading the Jaguars for 13 seasons, is moving into an administrative position in the athletic department.

SHC baseball camp
The Spring Hill College baseball team will host its youth camp July 18-21 at Stan Galle Field, the home of Badger baseball since 1889. The camp is open for ages 4-12, and the cost is $150.

According to the school, campers will learn the fundamentals to become better players and be introduced to new skills that will help take their game to the next level. Campers will be instructed in all areas of the game including hitting, bunting, fielding, pitching, defense and base running.

Helping to lead the game will be Frank Sims, the Badgers’ head coach; David Weems, president of CAB Solutions and former SHC All-Conference shortstop; and Andy McCall, the Badgers’ assistant coach.

Campers should bring their own bat, glove, shoes, hat and any other equipment they may need. Players may wear either pants or shorts and can register online at For more information call 251-288-7670.