The main hallway of New Manna Christian School was lined with teal and enthusiasm as the Varsity Girls’ and Boys’ basketball teams were sent off last Thursday. Cheers from the Preschoolers all the way to the Seniors echoed through the hall with the hope of a State Championship Title on everyone’s mind. The teams loaded up and headed to Durham, N.C., the home of the NCCSA 1A State Tournament.
The Varsity Boys, who had finished the regular season in first place, played Thursday night against the Community Christian Warriors. The Boys were in control the entire game and won with a decisive 92-50 victory. However, this victory would not last long as the boys fell short in the semi-finals and the consolation game. Despite the losses, the boys finished fourth in the state with an incredible season behind them. The boys also had a very impressive Tournament Championship win in the Eagle Classic hosted by Pensacola Christian College.
The Varsity Girls, who also finished the regular season in first place, had a bye Thursday night and played their first game on Friday. The Lady Wind was no stranger to their opponents – The Tabernacle Hickory Conquerors. The two teams had met three times in the regular season, with the game’s final score getting closer each time. All three games the Lady Wind had managed to defeat their rival, but this was the state tournament, and anything can and will happen. The girls trailed Hickory at the half, but the Lady Wind, whose motto throughout the year had been “Impose Your Will”, won the game with a 51-46 victory.
The Championship game was at noon Saturday and the Lady Wind had to face their toughest opponent yet- The Southview Christian Conquerors. Southview and New Manna had met once the previous season in a tough game in which the Conquerors came out on top, but this was a new day and a new team. The Lady Wind started the Championship game like most games-imposing their will. However, their first quarter lead would diminish as the they fell behind at the half. The Girls would continue to trail, and defeat seemed imminent. The New Manna fans, although still cheering vehemently for their Lady Wind, began doubting and even questioning, “What if Allie Jarrett had not gotten hurt in the previous game?” Allie had been instrumental in getting the Wind to the Championship but with an ankle injury occurring in the semifinals, all she could do was support her team from the bench. With the Wind trailing 40-47 and only a minute of play left, even Allie’s dreams of being a state champion began to fade.
Head Coach Curtis Styles and Assistant Coach Josh Jarrett had earnestly taught these girls to “Impose your will”, but in the last minute of that championship game those girls taught everyone in the gymnasium about their “WILL”-the will to not quit and keep fighting! Maci Clark, a senior for the Lady Wind, hit a three pointer to cut the deficit to 43-47. There was hope but only 45 seconds left. New Manna was forced to foul, sending Southview to the free throw line. After Southview came up empty from the line, New Manna raced down the court with only 30 seconds left on the clock. Breigh Stewart, a sophomore for the Lady Wind, made a spectacular reverse lay-up. The Score was 45-47 with 15 seconds left.
After a defensive stand by the Wind on an inbounds play, the Southview Conquerors turned the ball over with only eight seconds left. New Manna inbounded the ball to Breigh Stewart who was fouled immediately.
Breigh had the chance to tie the game with two made free throws. The entire gym was on their feet when the first free throw went straight through the net. The Score was 46-47 with seven seconds left. The weight of the world was on Breigh Stewart’s shoulders as she lined up for the second free throw. The eyes of everyone were fastened on Breigh as the ball left her hands. SWOOSH!!! Tie Game. They had come back from what seemed an insurmountable lead, but there was little time left. Southview inbounded the ball and Sunshyne Webb, a 7th grader for New Manna, dove for the ball knocking it lose from Southview’s point guard. The ball rolled right to New Manna’s point guard Alexis Duncan. Alexis passed the ball to Daylee Styles, an 8th grader for the Lady Wind, who was standing under the basket. Daylee shot the ball off the glass. The ball sat on the rim for what felt like a lifetime and fell into the hoop. The buzzer went off and the scoreboard read 49-47 in favor of the New Manna Wind! The Lady Wind had done it, they had won the championship!! The crowd stormed the floor. It had happened, the first basketball championship in the 23-year history of New Manna Christian School. The motto had been “Impose Your Will” but now I guess the Lady Wind could say “Will Imposed”!
The weekend ended with an award ceremony where the girls received their first-place trophy. New Manna Girls and Boys received a sportsmanship award, as well as a few all-state and all-region awards. Maci Clark and Holden Sailors received all-state and Simon Gardin and Alexis Duncan received all-region. The future is looking bright for the athletic program at New Manna Christian School.
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New Manna Christian School