Hillsboro Christian Academy wins 4th consecutive Emmanuel Baptist Classic Tournament
The Hillsboro Christian Academy Crusaders entered the Emmanuel Baptist Classic tournament with high hopes as they have won the tournament three years running. The tournament began on Feb. 21 and continued on Feb. 24-25. The Crusaders won their fourth straight tournament on Saturday, Feb. 25 against Cozzadale Baptist Academy.
The Crusaders took on the Cozzadale Baptist Academy Chargers in the first round of the tournament. The Crusaders won 59-38, earning head coach Tyler Rhodes his 100th career varsity victory.
After the game, Rhodes said, “The 100 wins comes from many years of hard work and dedication that many young men and different teams shared a part in. A lot of memories in that number.”
Leading scorers for the Crusaders in that game were Kellin Storer and Braydon Bosier with 15 each and Bryson Willey with ten. Joseph Barr and Cody Chandler led the Chargers in scoring with 19 and 11, respectively.
The Crusaders moved on to round two of the tournament to play the Liberty Bible Academy Patriots. The Crusaders won the game by a final of 46-32 and earned a chance for another tournament championship.
Leading scorers for the Crusaders were Kellin Storer and Rook Labig with nine and eight points respectively. The Patriots were led in scoring by Will Just with eight points and Jack Swartzentruber with six points.
The Crusaders faced a rematch with their first round opponent the CBA Chargers for the championship game. The Crusaders won the game in come-from-behind fashion with a final score of 54-43.
The Crusaders were led in scoring by Kellin Storer with 18 points and Bryson Willey with 17 points. The Chargers were led in scoring by Chandler with 22 points and Jared Jackson with eight points.
The Crusaders fell behind in the first half to the Chargers 26-07. The Crusaders scored six points in the first quarter off a pair of 3-point baskets by Willey and only managed a single point in the second off a free-throw by senior CJ Storer.
The Crusaders offense came alive in the second half to bring the game back from the brink. Facing a deficit of 20 points early in the third quarter, the Crusaders began their comeback. The Crusaders scored 21 points in the third quarter with five different players scoring for the team. Bosier and Kellin Storer each scored six points in the quarter with Willey scoring five, CJ Storer with three and Joshua Baggs with one point.
The Crusaders defense held the Chargers to five points in the final quarter while scoring 26 of their own. Kellin Storer scored twelve points in the final quarter, nine coming off of three-point baskets. Baggs scored four points including a two-point basket that gave the Crusaders their first lead since 3-2 in the first. Edward Rhonemus, CJ Storer and Willey each scored in the final quarter for the Crusaders to put the team over the edge and hold onto a lead.
The Crusaders took home their fourth consecutive Emmanuel Baptist Classic tournament championship victory with the comeback win over the Chargers.
Coach Rhodes said of the tournament and the season for his team, “This season was a roller-coaster at times. We beat some tough teams and came up short against high level competition, but all the lows and highs helped produce a mentally tough team. This championship is a little sweeter than the first since we graduated nine players from last season and only brought two varsity players back for this season.”
When asked about losing his two seniors, Rhodes replied, “Losing CJ (Storer) and Braydon (Bosier) will definitely hurt. They are natural leaders and help set the tone for us all season as season-long starter.” The Crusaders will have 13 varsity players eligible to return next season.
Congratulations to the HCA Crusaders on their fourth championship in as many years.
By Colin Ryan
The Highland County Press