We just returned from 4 days in Lynchburg, VA where our Lighthouse Eagles Varsity Boys and Varsity Girls basketball teams competed in the HSPN East Coast Homeschool Basketball Championships, known around here as plain ole "Liberty", because it is held at Liberty University.
We really look forward to this tourney every year - "Homeschool March Madness"!!! This year there were 64 teams there, coming from GA, SC, NC, TN, VA, PA, NJ, MD, and IA. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Eagles Varsity Girls first played in a 4-team pool against the Cabarrus Stallions (NC), Frederick Warriors ( MD), and Albemarle Cougars ( VA) - and won all 3 games!!
This placed us in the top bracket of 4 out of all 16 girls' teams, with the Greater Gwinnet Barons ( GA), Surry Co. Runnin' Patriots ( NC), .......... and the New Life Storm!!!!! The Storm practices about 10 miles away from us, and is the other Varsity Girls team in our NCHE Eastern Conference! There had been a lot of trash talking between these team this season, creating tension between girls who normally would be good friends. How ironic that here we were, both in the top bracket at Liberty. The Storm and the Runnin' Patriots squared off at 8:30 pm on Thursday night at Liberty Christian Academy Gym. Surry has long been a virtually unbeatable powerhouse in the NC homeschool conference, and had beaten Storm twice during the season. But Storm came out ablazin'!!! and took the game into overtime, vanquishing the Surry giant to advance to the championship game! Immediately following that very intense and emotional game, our Eagles took the floor for the 10:00 pm game against the Barons from GA - a team that was intimidating in size and reputation. Our ladies took an early lead - and despite the lights going with just six minutes left to play, causing a 20 minute delay while we waited for the adjoining court ( which still had lights) to become available - our girls won!! INCREDIBLE! Out of 16 teams at Liberty, the 4A Championship would be Lighthouse Eagles vs. New Life Storm!! Our rivals!
Game time was 6:30 pm on Thursday in Vine Arena, with tip off actually happening at about 7:00 pm. After playing a grueling four games over 2 days , both teams had to dig deep to battle for the title. Lighthouse got behind by 10, but then fought hard to tie the game and put it into OVERTIME! Back and forth, back and forth, both teams kept answering the points put on the board by the other...until finally at the buzzer New Life was ahead by 2, to claim the trophy. A disappointing ending for our team, but a fantastic tournament experience after a hard, injury-filled season.
The Liberty Tourney isn't just about the basketball games - it is also about the bonding that happens between teammates and families, the fun, the stories, the smiles, and tears. Most of the team stayed in the same hotel, and went out to Starbucks and Panera and Chick-Fil-A and Golden Corral together.
The Lighthouse girls formed a tight bond this season, and there were tears that the season was over... but we have NO seniors, so all of them will return next year!
Our Varsity Boys also competed at Liberty, and we enjoyed watching them play as well. They ended up winning the 3A Bracket, finishing 17th out of 28 teams at the Tournament.
Jason competed in the 3-Point Contest again this year. He made 13 in 60 seconds to advance to the finals, where he competed against his friend, Chris, another boy from our town! wierd, huh? Anyway, he sunk 9 shots from the 3-point line to Chris's 10, so he got the runner-up medal AND a $50 certificate to Dick's Sporting Goods. Pretty good for an 11-yr-old!!!