Monday, March 2, 2015

Varsity Men's Basketball Season Wrap-up

Quate Mckinzie rises above the rim in the Crusaders'
season opener against Carolina Friends School.
The Harrells Christian Academy Varsity Men's basketball lived up to all of the preseason hype in the 2014-15 season. The Varsity Men dominated throughout the majority of the year and closed out the season with a 20-5 record.

The Crusaders started out the season on a rampage by defeating their first three opponents by an average of just under 27 points. The Crusaders' momentum was quickly halted when they lost to a sharpshooting Cary Christian team who defeated the Crusaders 57-55 in a close back and forth battle.

The Crusaders did not let the close loss phase them, however as they came back and cruised to victory in their next game by defeating, conference opponent, Arendell Parrott Academy 60-54.

Following the team's win over Parrott Academy the Varsity Men faced one of their biggest tests of the regular season. The Crusaders faced off against Freedom Christian at home. The star studded Patriots featured many talented athletes that eventually outmatched the Crusaders in the end handing them their second loss of the season, 70-64.

The Crusaders went on to win another game before yet another tough regular season test. The Crusaders took on, at the time, undefeated West Brunswick High School in the Cape Fear Academy Holiday Invitational. The Crusaders dropped a 63-61 heartbreaker to the Trojans. The Crusaders used the close loss as momentum heading into the rest of the season.

After the loss to the Trojans the Crusaders went on a 15 game winning streak that thrived during conference play, the conference tournament, and into the opening rounds of the NCISAA Division II State Playoffs. During the Crusaders' streak they claimed the Coastal Rivers Conference Regular Season Title with an undefeated regular season conference record of 10-0. The Crusaders also cruised through the conference tournament that was capped off with a 77-38 victory over Fayetteville Christian in the championship game of the Coastal Rivers Conference Tournament. 

The Crusaders headed into the NCISAA Division II State Playoffs as a #12 seed where they faced off against the #5 seeded Freedom Christian. HCA pulled away from the Patriots in the closing stages of a grudge match to clinch the 62-51 victory. 
The Varsity Men's basketball team celebrates with fans after
their 11 point victory over Freedom Christian.

The Crusaders then traveled to Asheville to take on, rival, Davidson Day in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. The Crusaders trailed for the majority of the game but edged their way back in the closing minutes of regulation to force not one but two overtimes. The Crusaders went on to defeat the Patriots 65-60 in double overtime to advance to the Final Four of the NCISAA Division II State Playoffs.

In the Final Four, the Crusaders faced off against the #1 seeded Northside Christian Academy. The Knights took control from the outset of the game by pressuring the Crusaders which led to easy layups on the offensive end. The Knights' main weapon, however was their three point shooting abilities. They were on fire from behind the arc which led to an easy 83-56 win over the Crusaders.

Despite their loss to Northside, the varsity men's basketball team made school history by appearing in back to back Final Fours of the NCISAA State Playoffs in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

Sophomore point guard Tyshii Scarborough served as the glue
to the Crusader offensive attack all year.
The Crusaders created a balanced scoring attack all year that resulted in three players who averaged scoring in double figures. The Crusaders were led by Quate Mckinzie who averaged just under 17 points per game. Among other high scoring Crusaders were, sharpshooter, CJ Kirchoff who averaged 12 points per game along with Marcus Scarborough who averaged 11 points per game. The Crusader offense was held together all year by sophomore point guard, Tyshii Scarborough. Scarborough ranked sixth in the state of North Carolina in assists per game with 7. 

Many Crusader players received honors throughout the season. Spencer Cooke, CJ Kirchoff, Quate Mckinzie, Marcus Scarborough, and Tyshii Scarborough were all named to the Coastal Rivers Conference All-Conference Team. CJ Kirchoff, Quate Mckinzie, Marcus Scarborough, and Tyshii Scarborough were also named to the Coastal Rivers Conference All-Tournament Team. Quate Mckinzie was named the Coastal Rivers Conference Player of the year as well as being named to the NCISAA Division II All-State Team. Seventh year head coach, Clayton Hall, was named the Coastal Rivers Conference Coach of the Year.

Looking forward to the 2015-16 season, the Varsity Men will look to vie for a State Championship as the Crusaders only lose four seniors in Spencer Cooke, Tristan Crumpler, Evan Hardison, and Justin Smith. Next year, the Crusaders will be under the leadership of their three leading scorers in the 2014-15 season- Quate Mckinzie (16), CJ Kirchoff (12), and Marcus Scarborough (11). HCA will look to put all of these intangibles together to contend for a State Championship in the 2015-16 season.

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