Men’s Varsity Basketball State Champions

Our Varsity Men’s basketball team entered the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association (VISAA) State tournament last week.  The team defeated Stuart Hall at home in the first round with Senior Cole Bowman showing the way with a career high of 28 points, and the rest of the team missing only 12 shots the entire game.

               That put the men at home on Friday to face St. Michael the Archangel Catholic, an extremely athletic team.  Warm-ups again lit the nerves of our home crowd, but the discipline, the mental toughness, the determination, and most of all, the off-season work paid off. The Gryphons never trailed and closed it out by four points.

Our young men not only played with heart, but arguably put in their best performances ever.  By beating both opponents in just three days, New Covenant was going to the VISAA State Championship game.   This time they would face a stronger team from our own conference.  Of the dozens of schools across the Commonwealth that could have made the finals, we drew the toughest card – Carlisle School from Martinsville.

Carlisle had a dominant season and is a team that recruits heavily.  This same team defeated the Gryphons earlier this year by 11 points; after leading by almost 30 points for parts of the game. Laying that aside, we traveled to Richmond to face them a final time.  Our guys laid it all on the court. Playing their best basketball with skyrocketing shooting percentages, the boys led by a stunning 20 points in the third quarter.  Matt Klein, who has coached us to more than one win against better talent was crucial in this game.  Carlisle was staggered, but not out of it.  They were talented and chipped into the lead on Gryphon turnovers through the fourth quarter, eventually moving ahead by one point with only ten seconds to go.  On the final inbound it was Cole Bowman who found an opening to the basket with a layup that hit high off the glass. It missed, but miraculously, Cole Murdock followed the shot for a tap-in that saw the ball go through the net as time expired to win the game. 

The unbelievable had happened (think of the movie “Hoosiers”).  New Covenant won its first VISAA state championship in any sport in the schools’ history.  The video of the last shot went viral on social media.  Congratulations to our athletes on a winning season!