No one saw it coming; that is unless you were a player, fan or coach of the Millennium Charter Academy varsity basketball teams.
The MCA Lions and Lady Lions entered the Carter G. Woodson (CGW) Christmas Classic as underdogs. After going through a gauntlet of teams such as host Carter G. Woodson and the formidable teams from Quality Education School, the Lion boys earned a hard-fought third-place finish. The Lady Lions did even better, dominating the field and claiming the tournament championship.
Both teams have endured a torturous non-conference slate of opponents, including reigning state champions from bordering states, in order to prepare MCA for the rigors of conference play.
In providing a rationale for the grueling non-conference opposition, MCA varsity Coach Lovill noted, “Our conference is comprised of established teams with great coaches and competitive athletes…we knew our best bet, having no senior class, was to make our student-athletes find their team identity early…to learn how to fight through adversity.”
The hard work clearly came to fruition during the CGW Christmas Classic.
The Lady Lions dismantled their opposition, despite a schedule that included having to play two games in the span of four hours.
Leading the way for the Lady Lions was Caroline Reid, compiling 25 points, 16 rebounds, six blocked shots and seven steals in tournament play.
“The ladies’ tournament win was a total team effort to be sure, and I couldn’t be more proud of their collective efforts. However, Caroline Reid took it to the next level both offensively and defensively,” per Coach Lovill.
MCA men also had to endure multiple games over a short timeframe. However they did it minus several key players due to prior familial holiday engagements, or else they might have brought home some hardware of their own. The Lions clawed and fought their way to a respectable third place finish. Leading the way was Kaine Lovill, collecting 10 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, six steals and 10 blocked shots in tournament play.
“The boys are full of heart,” said Lovill. “They are incredibly young, but have the no-quit attitude usually found in a senior-laden, experienced team. They are getting better and better with each game.”
Weather permitting, the Lions will be on the road today against the Blue Ridge Panthers from Woodlawn, Va.