Knights Finish Season At East Coast Homeschool Championships
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
For the third year in a row, the Crown Knights High School teams competed in the East Coast Homeschool Basketball Championships, which were held on the Liberty University campus in Lynchburg, VA. 86 teams from 10 states participated in this year’s event, which made it the largest in the seven year history of the tournament.
The Varsity Boys’ came into the tournament with a 26-4 record and a legitimate shot to make it to Class 8A. During pool play, the Knights won all three of their games - defeating Lighthouse Christian (NC), St. John’s (VA) and the Upstate Eagles (SC) by substantial margins. These wins earned the Knights a spot in Class 8A - which is reserved for the top 4 teams after pool play. In the semi-finals, the Knights were beaten by eventual tournament champion Flower Mound (TX), which is considered one of the best homeschool teams in the country. The third place game against last year’s champion Central Virginia was a competitive and close contest. With less than three minutes to play the Knights were only down by two - 57 to 55; however, Central Virginia hit a big 3 point shot and a contested 2 point shot to put the game away. Even with the two losses, the Knights finished the tournament in 4th place out of 30 teams. Corey Turner (10.4 ppg), Brett Camp (9.8 ppg), and Nathan Hirsh (9.0 ppg) were the team’s leading scorers during the tournament.
The Knights ended the season with 29 wins and only 6 losses. Six seniors will graduate from this year’s squad. They have been an integral part of a special team which recorded 63 wins over the last two years.
Entering this year’s tournament the girls’ knew they had a good chance of reaching the top varsity girls’ bracket - Class 6A. During pool play, the team played well as they defeated St. John’s (VA), Surry County (NC), and Bristol (TN). Their performance earned them a spot in Class 6A and a semi-final round match-up with Durham (NC). Durham is one of the top girls’ teams in North Carolina and they proved their mettle with a 64-46 win over the Lady Knights. In the third-place game the Lady Knights took on Fairfax County (VA) and fell behind by double-digits in the first half. The girls’ fought back and eventually got the lead down to 2 halfway through the fourth quarter. However, Fairfax hit some clutch shots down the stretch and put the Lady Knights away.
The girls’ 4th place finish (out of 24 teams) capped a fantastic year. Their 26-3 record is the highest winning percentage by a Varsity Girls’ team in Crown’s history. Three seniors are graduating but there is a solid core of players returning who will be working hard to improve on this year’s performance.
The JV Boys’ finished 2nd in each of the last two East Coast Championships and this year’s team was looking to finally bring home the championship trophy. The boys’ started pool play strong as they defeated Albemarle (VA) and Lighthouse Christian (NC). In the last pool play game they ran into a strong Front Royal (VA) team and lost 46-33. With a 2-1 pool play record, the JV Knights were placed in Class 3A - the second highest bracket of the JV Boys’ division. In the semi-finals the Knights defeated Bristol (TN) 49-40. The win put them in the 3A finals against Kingsport Area (TN). During the finals, the Knights fell behind early and stayed behind for most of the game. However, with time running out, Elijah Hirsh hit a lay-up off of a great pass to secure a hard fought 30-29 victory. With the win the JV Boys’ finished in 5th place.
The JV Knights ended the year with an impressive 26-5 record which is the fourth 20+ win season in a row under Coach Brad Cundiff. Even though they are losing four starters to the varsity squad, the JV Boys’ should be very tough next year with seven returning players and a number of guys moving up from this year’s Middle School team which won the NAML championship.
This is the first year the JV Girls have competed in Virginia so no one really knew what to expect. The girls’ started pool play against an undefeated Easley (SC) squad and lost 42-20. In the second game they lost to another good team - Front Royal (VA). The girls’ handily defeated Albemarle (VA) in the last pool play game to finish with a 1-2 record in pool play. The Lady Knights’ were placed in the Class 1A bracket, giving the team a chance to play for a solid, 5th place finish. In the semi-finals they defeated Lighthouse Christian (NC) 40-28, which earned them a birth to the Class 1A finals. Playing a talented Central Virginia team, the girls’ played well and with the clock winding down, they led by one point. However, a last second 3 point shot by Central Virginia swished through the nets and the JV Girls’ had to settle for 6th place in their first East Coast Tournament appearance. The team really came together after the first two games and played well down the stretch.
The JV Girls’ finished the season with a 14-11 record - a great accomplishment for such a young team.