Excel surprises Fannin, claims tournament title
by Staff Report
Dec 22, 2013 | 419 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Christmas came a little early for Excel Christian Academy on Saturday.

The Eagles are bringing home some hardware from the Fannin County Christmas Tournament in the form of a first-place trophy the won by defeating Fannin County, 69-43.

Chad Parker, head basketball coach for just his second game, said the victory makes a statement about the team’s players.

“It’s great to coach a bunch of kids who have tremendous character and are capable of rising above when things happen that are out of their control. They only focused on what they could control, playing basketball the way they’ve been taught.”

David Boyd had resigned his head coaching position at the school on Wednesday and the Eagles ignored the adversity and started play Friday in the Christmas tournament.

The Eagles won their first game on Friday, defeating Hiwassee Dam 77-60, and advanced to the tournament finals on Saturday. Along the way they doubled their win total for the season, going from 2-7 to 4-7 through their tournament success.

Parker said Saturday night’s victory drew big contributions from the entire team.

“We started out strong and focused on solid zone defense,” he said. “Our offense focused on getting the ball inside to our big man, Jack Bowers.”

The Eagles also played aggressively and got Fannin’s big man in foul trouble, while using a zone defense to frustrate Fannin’s offensive plans. The result was a 15-2 lead after a full quarter of play.

Parker said the Eagles kept working their game plan and forced Fannin into bad shots throughout the evening.

The Eagles also spread the scoring around as four players turned in double-digit scoring efforts.

Bowers led the Eagles with 21 points, Darius Thrower dropped in 14, Korey Tucker contributed 11 and Caleb West accounted for 10 points.

The aggressive approach paid off at the charity line, where the Eagles were 15 of 17.

Parker praised his team for its focus.

“This goes beyond stats,” he said. “They lost their head coach on Wednesday. They let that motivate them and showed they have special character.”

Bowers, Thrower and West were named to the all-tournament team.