“Start unknown. Finish unforgettable.” That was the challenge laid before the boys varsity basketball team, and that is exactly what they did. The 2016-17 Eagles varsity basketball squad turned adversity into opportunity, finishing with a 21-19 record and the TAPPS 5A State Championship Runner-Up.
In November and December, the Eagles post-season hopes looked grim. Facing arguably the most difficult pre-district schedule in program history and plagued by early injuries, the Eagles managed only four wins and sustained 13 losses (10 of which came from schools in larger classifications). Yet it was these experiences that helped the Eagles galvanize and grow.
Entering district play with a four-game win streak, the Eagles were eager to compete with a healthy roster. They would go on to finish third in district play with a record of 5-3 and qualify for playoffs, with nine players earning All-District honors.
Once in the playoffs, the Eagles would never trail on the scoreboard until championship game. Their closest contest came against Bishop Gorman in the opening round but resulted in a 42-39 Eagles victory. The Eagles would score 60+ points with a 14-point average margin of victory in their next three contests. The State Championship matchup pitted Legacy against the 21-time State Champion Houston-Westbury. The Eagles, who would not be intimidated, scraped their way to an early lead midway through the first quarter and only trailed by six at half. Perhaps best illustrated by Jacob Langford's charges, all six of them, the Eagles refused to quit until the final buzzer. The final score: Legacy 50 – Westbury 80.
As is often the case, the scoreboard fails to convey the entire story. Six charter buses and countless vehicles caravanned to Abilene Christian's Moody Coliseum to support their Eagles in the Final Four.
Coach Johnson, speaking to the Final Four experience, reflected, “The guys on the team desired for every person that came in contact with Eagle basketball to feel a sense of ownership. Every person had an impact on our success, whether parent, fan, custodial worker, or player…these guys understood that Legacy basketball is so much bigger than themselves.” And one didn't have to look far for evidence.
Senior Mason Pelham penned a letter capturing what every player on the team felt. In what can only be described has honest and heartfelt, he wrote, “I leave the game with no regrets. And it's not about the scoreboard. It's about the success WE found, coming together as a team and building relationships that will last a lifetime, as well as seeing a school come together as one body.”
The leadership and impact of the four graduating seniors will be difficult to replace. Looking to the future, Johnson shared, “Our returning players are aware that there is no more starting unknown, and they have accepted the challenge of continuous improvement, to be better and better.”
For photos from the State game, click here (courtesy of McKenna Watson).
Legacy Christian Academy is Frisco's only Pre-K through 12 Christian school committed to educating students in a college preparatory environment balanced in academics, athletics, and fine arts–all within the context of a biblical worldview. For the latest information on Legacy athletics, subscribe today. For more information on Legacy, visit our admissions page.