Today’s post is a recap of the fantastic 3-day experience at the National Association of Christian Academies (NACA) National Championship our Red Team had last week. While the season is not over, this tournament represented a main season-long goal. Please read on to see Coach Burns’ report:
Every high school basketball team begins the season with certain goals that the team would like to accomplish. This may be improving on last years’ record, obtaining an above five-hundred record, or winning a district/regional title. For the Oak Hill Academy Red Team the goal from the start was to defend their 2016 NACA Division 2 National Title.
On Tuesday February 21st, 2017, the Oak Hill Red Team departed campus in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, and traveled, along with an 18-1 regular season record, to Dayton, Tennessee, for the 2017 NACA National Championships. The official start to the tournament was Wednesday morning at the Fort Bluff Camp, home of the National Association of Christian Athletes.
The Oak Hill Red Team would play two games on Wednesday with the first being at 11:30 am against Riverdale Baptist “B” from Maryland. Oak Hill struggled early in the game but was provided a spark when senior Camden Hughes checked into the game. Camden’s timely shooting and energy allowed the other players to gain confidence, finishing the game with a score of 62-51. Scoring from the game: Oliver Lynch-Daniels 22; Camden Hughes 15; Graeme Majors 12; Donovan Saine 6; Akrum Ahemed 4; Aidan Stenner 3.
The second game on Wednesday featured Oak Hill Red vs. West Oaks “B” from Orlando, Florida. During this game the Red Team began to reclaim their defensive identity that made them exciting to watch during the season. Team defense allowed Oak Hill to win 55-31, and finish the first day of games with a 2-0 record. Scoring from the game: Oliver Lynch-Daniels 13; Josh Hall 12; Graeme Majors 11; Aidan Stenner 6; Alex Stenner 4; Akrum Ahemed 2.
Wednesday night all the teams in the tournament gather at Fort Bluff Camp for a Christian speaker, and the message is very important for all who attend. This year’s speaker was the World Famous Crevier Family, known for spinning basketballs and other amazing tricks. The family became known to national TV audiences when they were finalists on “America’s Got Talent,” but their true goal is spreading the Gospel and character development through the audiences they attract. Our athletes were challenged to continually be champions of their attitude and to not be ashamed of their personal faith.
Thursday morning came early for the Red Team with a 10:00 a.m. match-up against Combine Academy from North Carolina. Typically, morning games are offensive struggles and strong team defense is even more important. The Red Team answered the call and quickly put to rest any question if they would play for another National Championship. Final score, Oak Hill 78, Combine 49. This win guaranteed the Red Team a spot in the National Championship game and the ability to defend their title. Scoring from the game: Oliver Lynch-Daniels 17; Akrum Ahemed 11; Josh Hall 11; Donovan Saine 10; Damani McEntire 10; Camden Hughes 6; Aidan Stenner 4; Umberto Brusadin 4; Graeme Majors 3; Shamar Henry 2.
Once again on Thursday night all of the teams at the tournament gathered to listened to a different speaker, Tony Eubanks. Eubanks shared with the athletes, coaches and others in attendance life stories that inspired, challenged and ultimately made everyone serious about their faith. While the games are what everyone focuses on, the speakers are an added bonus to a competitive tournament.
Friday was Championship day and the idea that they could do something special was not lost on the Red Team players. Being back-to-back National Champions was, after all, the goal at the beginning of the season. But just as the first championship, this one would have to be earned. The title game featured Oak Hill Red vs. Covenant Christian Ministries from Georgia. From the start of the game this felt like a heavyweight battle, with both teams trading blows. Oak Hill found its rhythm because of tremendous s defense and rebounding provided by Donovan Saine and Aidan Stenner. The lead changed throughout the second half and both teams held a lead in the fourth quarter, looking to clinch a National Championship. With clutch shooting from deep by Oliver Lynch-Daniels and consistent free throw shooting from Graeme Majors, the Red Team sealed the game 65-58, and therefore accomplished a team goal of Back-to-Back National Championships. Scoring from the game: Oliver Lynch-Daniels 20; Donovan Saine 15; Graeme Majors 11; Aidan Stenner 9; Michael Odiana 4; Akrum Ahemed 4; Damani McEntire 3.
After the championship game, the NACA Tournament announced All-Tournament Teams and Most Outstanding Players. For Oak Hill Academy Camden Hughes, Aidan Stenner and Oliver Lynch-Daniels were named All-Tournament with Oliver Lynch-Daniels being named Most Outstanding Offensive Player for the second year in a row.