Heritage Christian lineups sweep championships
by Doug Gorman
To call last weekend a success for the Heritage Christian School basketball teams would be an understatement after respective lineups each earned championship trophies after winning boys and girls tournaments in the Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama.
The Crusaders knocked off Covenant 56-52 in the boys ICSGA final, while the girls dominated a 54-17 victory over Alleluia.
The HCS boys experienced a turnaround after taking a losing record into Christmas while finishing the 2013-14 campaign with an 18-9 record.
The final against Covenent out of Loganville was nip and tuck with 6-foot-6 post/wing Drew Spiller Spiller posting a double-double with 23 points and 18 rebounds while earning Most Valuable Player honors.
Teammate Jared Slaughter averaged 10.6 points and 6 assists this season en route to the championship. Raven Nuega averaged 9 points and three assists this year.
It was a big night for us,' said Crusaders head coach Bob Spiller. 'I am proud of t he way we per formed .' Defensively, Wyatt Martinez, a transfer from Trinity Christian, came up with some big plays to stop scoring chances for Covenant.
The Crusaders schedule included a win over Trinity's boys during The Heritage School's Christmas Tournament and a loss to the host Hawks before righting themselves in January.
'It was great turnaround we had after Christmas,' Spiller said. 'We were just 18-9, but we kept playing hard. We never gave up.'
The Lady Crusaders won the third title in school history with its victory over Alleluia, but its first since 2009.
'We were really due,' said Heritage head coach Justin Stephens. 'We really worked hard in the offseason and that made a difference.'
The Lady Crusaders finished the season with a 13-5 record.
It was HCS's third meeting with Alleluia this season.
The Lady Crusaders lost the first meeting between the two teams, before winning the final two contest, including the title game in a runaway.
'To win like that says a lot,' Lady Crusaders head coach Justin Stephens said. 'When you think we lost them early in the season and then beat them like we did, that is big.'
The HCS girls were led by junior Chasity Scott, whose game-high 22 points earned Most Valuable Player honors for the girls tournament.
Teammate Cee Cee Carter, a freshman, added 12 points while Heather Wallace earned all-state honors after chipping in 10 points.
Wallace was joined on the all-tournament team by Susan Obi and Sarah Ruck.
Stephens said he realized there was something special with this team early in the season.
'It is a very athletic squad,' he said. 'That really helped throughout the year. We worked hard, and it paid off.'
Heritage Christian faced several GISA programs including The Heritage School and Arlington during the regular season, but playing a tough schedule helped the Lady Crusaders down the stretch.
'We lost some games to some bigger programs, but that only made us better,' Stephens said.