The New Hope Christian Academy Lady Statesmen defeated the Temple Christian Crusaders 31-29 on Feb. 27 to become the Ohio Christian School Athletic Association State Champions for varsity girls basketball.
This was their second consecutive trip the State Final Four, so the Lady Statesmen had some idea of what to expect throughout the weekend. The weekend started with New Hope defeating Mansfield Christian School on Friday by a score of 45-36. The Lady Statesmen finished the first quarter with a 9 to 3 lead, and never looked back from there in spite of a late run by the Mansfield Christian Flames. #13 Grace Brown led all scorers with 16 points, followed by #2 Bethany Conrad with 12 points. #11 Hannah Williams and #5 Abigail Brown each had 6 points. This semi-final win allowed them to advance to the State Championship the following day.
At 3 p.m. Saturday, the New Hope Lady Statesmen tipped off against Temple and had a nail-biting finish despite leading at one point in the game by 10 points. The Temple Crusaders made a late run and had a chance to win the game with 3.6 seconds left, only to come up short, giving the Lady Statesmen their first state title in school history. #2 Bethany Conrad led all scorers with 10 points, followed by #5 Abigail Brown with 9 points and #10 Sarah Taylor with 6 points.
“The stats never tell the whole story, as both wins were the result of a great team and great team effort,” said Wendell Brown, head coach. “This was quite an accomplishment for us given that New Hope High School has only been in existence for three years. We feel that this brings a degree of legitimacy to our program and the educational excellence that we are trying to accomplish at New Hope Christian Academy.”
The key to success are the young ladies on this team, Brown said.
“They chose to stay at a school that was expanding to high school, and they could have gone to other places to play basketball, but they wanted to create something special,” Brown said. “And after two Final Four appearances and a state title, I believe that they have created a winning atmosphere that will shape our basketball program at New Hope for years to come.”
Brown said the best part about this year’s State Championship is New Hope will not lose one player from this year’s roster.
The team plays by seven principles, each specifically geared to make them successful in life and on the court. Those principles are:
1. Play every minute like it’s your last
2. Be tenacious
6. Be extraordinary
7. Love the team
Brown said the staff and team members thank the school, the Head of School Dr. Martin, their athletic director Teri Roese, the NHCA Athletic Boosters and all the fans that came out and packed into the Maxwell Center at Ohio Christian University.
The Lady Statesmen are coached by Wendell Brown, head coach, and assistant coaches Curtis Christopher, Matt Conrad, Debbie Williams and Dennis Shaw.
The Lady Statesmen are: (in alphabetical order by grade)
#13 Grace Brown (3-year starter)
#5 Abigail Brown (3-year starter)
#2 Bethany Conrad (3-year starter)
#4 Cassie Hampton
#10 Sarah Taylor (3-year starter)
#11 Hannah Williams (3-year starter)
#33 Sarah Helsel
#24 Grace Hirschler (SO)
#3 Kayla Wolfe (SO)
#21 Joanna Williams
#23 Kassi Wolfe
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal