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Florence Wildcats semi-pro program continues to grow - Sep 16, 2017

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A year after the inaugural season of the Florence Wildcats' semi-professional basketball team, the organization is looking to bring something brand new to the Pee Dee community. Next spring, the Wildcats not only will have a men's basketball program, but they also will have a women's semi-professional team. 'There's just a huge demand for it,' said Isaac Wilson the Wildcats' director of business operations. 'There's never been one in the Pee Dee area. We wanted to do something different and bring our community women's basketball.' The women's basketball team will play in the East Coast Basketball League's sister league, the Women's Elite Development Basketball League. Tryouts will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16 and Sept. 17. The fee is $50. 'It's something we are really excited about,' Wilson said. 'We've narrowed down our candidates for our coaches, and we think this is just going to be a great opportunity for our community as a whole.' The Wildcats advanced to the second round of the ECBL playoffs in their first season, but one of the biggest achievements was seeing stars Quincy Washington (6'5''-G, college: Charleston), who averaged a league-best 41 points per game, and Leroy Williams (6'5''-F-88), who had a league-best 14 rebounds per game, get scholarship offers to play basketball at Allen University, an NAIA school in Columbia. 'It's been really challenging but a lot of fun,' Wilson said. 'Seeing Quincy and Leroy go on to the next step in their lives is what we were started for. We want to help assist these young guys and help them out and we were able to do that. It's just an awesome thing to see how it's all worked out, and we know the best is yet to come.' The slogan of the Florence Wildcats is 'Community first, then basketball.' While the Wildcats look to continue to excel on the court, Wilson believes adding the women's program can help the community off the court. 'This gives better opportunities for the young women out there as well,' Wilson said. 'What we want to see is the men and women work collaboratively together to reach everyone in the community. There's only so much that guys can do for young girls, but the women can be that role model for the young girls out there.' Everything is still on schedule for the Wildcats to play in the newly built city of Florence basketball complex in 2018 with the women playing first, followed by the men. 'We want to keep it affordable,' Wilson said. 'Our ultimate goal is to be that help in the community and to connect, and one way we do that is through basketball.'
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