Cardinal Classic: Wins and losses

Each week every player on the Andrews Junior Cardinal teams work 8-12 hours in game and practice preparing for the The Cardinal (Newmyer) Classic. This is the 11th annual tournament, and the entire season is systematically built for this competition. Forty teams came from as far as California, Virginia & Canada to play the game they all love. Players are supposed to be at the peak of their performance; each team puts blood, sweat and tears on the court hoping to become the Classic Champions.

Saturday, February 5 the long awaited division 1 & 2 championship games took place. The night started out with the junior varsity boys playing against the varsity MCAC wildcats. The Cardinal boys had a nail-biting battle against this outside shooting team. Even though the JV came with a 4-0 record in the tournament, it was prospected that they were underdog because they were against a varsity homeschool team.

The game began rocky with several turnovers by the guards, losing a lead, but back to back three’s helped bring back the confidence of the boys. The JV boys won in the last minute with an ending score of 30-29 proving the crowd wrong. The boys executed exceptional defense, especially sophomore forward CJ Arthur. Offensive points were mainly scored by the Newmyer Classic MVP sophomore Guard Nate Greenhaw, who dropped 11 points.

The next game was the long-awaited division 1 girls championship game. The Cardinal girls teams have not been lucky in the past; this is the first time the girls have played for a championship. The girls faced the reigning champs, the MCAC Wildcats, who are one of the strongest offensive teams in the entire tournament, able to sink three’s from almost anywhere on the court with little space and time.

The Wildcats began the game with a bang, hitting a three pointer on the fly at the baseline, intimidating the girls. Senior captain Heidi Smoot was leading scorer for the night with 10 points. She hit the first few shots for the Cardinals to steady the game out. Defensive rebounds are what killed the game for the ladies and let the wildcats make second attempts at the very few shots they missed. It was a heartbreaking loss for the ladies who had a perfect record. 44-27 was the final score.

Senior captain and tournament MVP Taylor Ferris says, “Even though we lost and it’s heartbreaking, making it into the championship had not been done. We made history, and for that we are proud.”

The Varsity boys have participated in 10 of the 11 championship games and have taken home 1st place 9 of the 10 times. They are known for significant leads over their opponents, and they kept that legacy going this year.

The varsity men created a large lead from the start when tournament MVP’s Caleb Gomez and Mutungi Menani hit the first few shots. Considering their rough season up to this point, this was a glory moment for the boys, proving that they can pull together and produce. The boys placed 1st overall against rivals Collegedale Adventist Youth in Action (CAYA) Eagles with a 44-29 win.

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