HCA Wins 2nd Straight EBCS Classic Tournament
By Colin Ryan
The Highland County Press
LEBANON – The Hillsboro Christian Academy Lady Crusaders are back-to-back Emmanuel Baptist Church School Classic Tournament champions after winning three straight games on Saturday, Oct. 15 in Lebanon.
The Lady Crusaders participated in a five-team tournament hosted by the Emmanuel Baptist Church School Lady Crusaders. The HCA Lady Crusaders defeated the EBCS Lady Crusaders and the Liberty Bible Academy Lady Patriots twice to win the EBCSC Tournament. Also participating in the tournament were the Cozzadale Baptist Academy Lady Chargers and the Germantown Christian School Lady Conquerors.
Finishing in fifth place in the tournament were the CBA Lady Chargers. Fourth place went to the hosting EBCS Lady Crusaders. The GCS Lady Conquerors who were runners-up in the 2021 EBCSC Tournament, finished in third place. The LBA Lady Patriots finished in second place.
The HCA Lady Crusaders began the tournament with a first-round bye before taking on the EBCS Lady Crusaders for their first game. The HCA Lady Crusaders took down the hosts in quick fashion winning both sets by scores of 25-08 and 26-24.
Senior Lillian Hainline led the HCA Lady Crusaders in assists and playable passes with nine and 36, respectively. Senior McKenna Hatfield led the team in aces with nine, most of which came during a run of 16 straight points for the Lady Crusaders. Freshman Annie Henderson led in kills with five for the first game.
In the third round of the tournament, the Lady Crusaders faced the LBA Lady Patriots. The Lady Crusaders defeated the Lady Patriots in two sets as well by scores of 25-17 and 25-19. Hainline led once again in assists with eight and playable passes with 25. Senior Cheyenne Curtin led the team in aces with seven, all of which came in the first set. Hatfield led the Lady Crusaders in kills with five for the second game of the tournament.
After defeating the GCS Lady Conquerors for a chance at the title, the LBA Lady Patriots got a rematch with the HCA Lady Crusaders. The Lady Crusaders were ready for them and defeated the Lady Patriots once again in two sets. The first set ended 25-22 and the second ended 25-16. Hainline led in assists and playable passes again with 13 and 25 respectively. Eighth grader Alanna Stoltzfus led the team in aces with three which helped push the Lady Crusaders into the lead in the first set. Hatfield led in kills with eleven.
The Lady Crusaders have won their second straight EBCSC Tournament and are graduating five players including Hatfield, Hainline, Curtin, Jordyn Zimmerman and Kiersten Williamson. The Lady Crusaders finish the season with 16 victories including the tournament.
“We knew going into this season that we had the ability to have a special season, returning all six starters and our libero,” HCA head coach Tyler Rhodes said. “We also added some key subs.
“We started out right on track. We beat a public school for the first time ever, in three straight sets. We hit a rough stretch and probably lost some games that we would love to have back, but in those struggles we learned a lot about ourselves, made the necessary adjustments and were able to finish on an eight-game winning streak.
“This group of seniors is so special to me,” Rhodes continued. “They have played together for a long time and were so talented and so fun to coach. They helped keep our program on top. They will be missed but have left their impact on the underclassmen, who will hopefully continue to keep this new standard.”
Congratulations to the HCA Lady Crusaders and all teams and players who participated in the EBCSC Tournament. And a thank-you to the hosting Emmanuel Baptist Church School for hosting another excellent tournament.