MARION, S.C. – The Marion Intimidators AAU basketball program hosted their first tournament event last week. More than 16 teams were on display for the two-day Stop the Bullying Tournament at the Shannon Wilkerson Gym for players ages 10 through 16.

Coaches Antonio Vaught, Randy Dennison, Anthony Lester and Tim Lathon have helped to guide their team to win eight out of 10 tournament appearances so far. However, their event was less about trophy presentations and more about delivering a message.

“We need stop bullying in the streets, community and the schools,” Vaught said. “We need to come together as one and develop a team concept and that is why we organized this tournament.”

The coaches established the Intimidators five years ago and their 13-year old squad includes members of the recreation department’s 12-year old team that has on two consecutive state championships.

“We also use this as a mentoring stage for these kids and our goal for next year is to bring four more district teams under our umbrella,” he said.

Vaught said he was happy about the participation for the event and looking forward to the next one.

“Seeing them embrace working together as a family is what I love about this,” Vaught said. “These coaches that we have in this program are like father-figures for these kids.”

Lester said it was pleasure to have their first tournament at home and that it will continue to grow.

Dennison said the players will need continued support in the years to come.

Born in Atlantic City; raised in Mullins. Graduated from SC State University, home of the mighty Bulldogs. Editor of the Marion Star & Mullins Enterprise. Loves spending free time with his daughter. Huge sports fan.