A new local 11U AAU basketball team is looking to compete and stand out in tournaments around the region.

The Erie Raptors, a new 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, is aiming to enter at least seven tournaments within the tri-state area, and these local athletes are hard at work in the Holy Rosary Church gym.

"We just got them all together and started doing drills and got them into a gym," Head Coach Corey Ratliff Sr. said. "Now we are the Erie Raptors."

A group of kids who just love the game.

"It's fun, you get to learn new things and learn how to dribble and learn new moves," said player Corey Ratliff Jr., the head coach's son.

"Paying attention and being disciplined," said player Brayden Eanes.

Ratliff and assistant coach, Paris Pennamon, want their players to make buckets, but the mission of the Erie Raptors goes way beyond that.

"Just to create better men out here," Pennamon said. "If we can take this eight and turn it into 80 good, positive, responsible, reliable, accountable men, then I think we did our job."

Being former athletes, Ratliff and Pennamon say their experiences with sports growing up taught them extremely valuable life lessons. Now that they are coaches, those lessons can crossover and be passed forward to the next generation in line.

Even if that means teaching a bit of tough love.

"Basketball could take you a whole lot of places if you use it the right way," Ratliff said. "So that's our goal."

Ultimately, the Erie Raptors are all about one thing: accountability.

"It doesn't matter who starts the game, it's a matter of who finishes the game," Ratliff said.

How to Donate:

Phone number: 814-790-7027

The team is also selling 50/50 tickets with the drawing being done on Sept. 29 in order to raise money for travel expenses and jerseys.