The Winter Athletic Season brought home a State Championship and multiple Conference and Tournament Trophies while showcasing six Basketball teams, two cheer squads, five shooting teams, and a Crusader Crazy Fan Section that really redefined Home Court Advantage all season long. The hype around these teams was matched by their performance on the court with the Varsity Boys team finishing 3rd in the State and the Girls Varsity team winning a State Title led by Sophmore All-American Sarah Strong. Off the court the teams led by impacting the community for Christ by providing Christmas for some youth in our area that would have otherwise not had a Christmas and by volunteering at local food shelters. The GCS Athletic Department was thrilled at the embodiment of all teams embracing the new athletic slogan of, “Work, Witness, Win.”
The 2021-2022 Crusaders Varsity Boys basketball team started off strong with the first half of the season going 14-1 through the first 15 games. They took their second loss in the Bull City Classic against Mount Zion Christian School which was a tough hard fight all game long. Going into Conference play the Crusaders boys were dominant through the whole season going 8-0 with 3 forfeit wins.To go with the dominant play can winning the Regular Season Conference Championship. Winning Player of the Year was Ma’kyi Butler averaging 22pts, 8rebs, 3stls, and 2blks per game. Along with Ma’kyi Butler, Jesse Mitchell, Sayvion Ellis, Landon Wester and with Honorable Mention Kaleb Smith and Derius Hodges. Each one of these gentlemen contributed on both ends of the floor that helped us be victorious this season. Winning the Regular Season Conference in the MCC gave us home court advantage for the Conference Tournament and with wins against Cresset and Crossroads we won the Conference tournament. We had 4 players to make the All-Tournament team: Jesse Mitchell, Sawyer Elkins, Kaleb Smith and our Tournament MVP was Ma’kyi Butler. It’s a great feeling winning the Regular Season and Conference Tournament but doing it 2 years in a row is AMAZING!! Going into the State Championship we had seed number 3. We played at home against Cape Fear Academy and came away with the victory which landed us in the semi-finals versus United Faith. At the start of the game uor boys fought hard but just ran out of gas as we tried and tried to pull the game closer. United Faith went on to win the game and the State Championship. It was a wonderful season with great players. My players had good work ethics and brought it with them each and every day to practice and games.
With an all new coaching staff and many new players, the Lady Crusaders varsity basketball team faced many unknowns and a lot of excitement “new look” ‘Saders team! Led by MCC All Conference, NCISSAA All State & Max-Preps All American Sarah Strong, the Crusaders finished with a 29 – 1 record, MCC regular season conference champions, MCC conference tournament champions and as the NCISAA 1A State Champions. The Lady Crusaders had nine MCC All-Conference selections (Lara Lieckfeld, Danauje Brooks, Miyah Campbell, Halisi Whitley, Toni Hughes, Cidney Revelle, Janina Herisch & Ameya Brown) and six NCISAA All-State selections (Lieckfeld, Brooks, Campbell, Whitley & Hughes). With all but one starter coming back and the addition of more incredible talent, along with a great crop of JV players, the Crusaders look to continue their on-court success into the future as they move up to 2A and join a great new conference.
The JV Boys finished with a record of 9-8 and second in the MCC Conference regular season and tournament standings. The Boys progression over the course of the season culminated in a tight hard fought loss in the Tournament Championship to Crossroads Christian School. The future is bright for these boys as most of our boys are in 8th and 9th grade this season. Well done Crusaders.
The MS Boys finished with a record of 14-2 with both losses coming at the hands of well polished JV Teams. Our boys were dominant on both sides of the court this year. Leading the way for the Crusaders offensively was Caleb Ellis who finished the season with 171 points. And on the defensive side of the ball the tandem of Carter Cummings and Hunter Wilson who combined for 93 rebounds and 8 blocks! Well Done Crusaders!
The inaugural season for the JV Girls team was a huge success for the Crusaders and first year head coach, Heather Fuller. They finished with an 8-2 record and averaged a point differential margin of almost 40 points per game. The ladies played stalwart defense and made their opposition work hard for every single point. We are looking forward to the future that is in store for these young ladies!
The MS girls went 3-7 on the season. Despite the losing record the young Crusaders learned more each and every day and improved tremendously over the course of the season.
Splitting into 2 squads in the 2021-2022 season, the GCS cheer program exceeded all expectations and surpassed all goals of varsity head coach, Megan James. Her goal for the Crusader cheer program was to create an atmosphere of athleticism and respect of the sport, all while leading the girls deeper into their relationship with Christ. Both middle school and varsity cheer teams worked tirelessly all season, led by senior captain Karli Bullard. Their efforts were showcased in the homecoming halftime routine, as both teams joined forces and performed an unforgettable collaborative routine! Both teams grew tremendously this past season, and the future of the GCS cheer program is exciting!
This winter season, Grace Christian introduced their first Crusaders shooting team with a bang. Guided by coaches Hunter and Aaron Ayers, Grace dominated Youth Hunter Safety Tournament District 5 with three middle school teams, one junior varsity and one varsity team, making it one of the largest sports at Grace by far. The varsity crusaders were led into the District 5 shoot-offs by Dawson Yow (10th) & Jake Johnson (11th), making it into the final rounds of the tournament. Jake Johnson called Grace to the top at the Lee county shoot by placing 2nd in Archery in the Senior Division. Our middle school crusaders were advanced by Dustin Foushee (7th) at the Lee county shoot as he claimed the title of 1st place in shotgun with the only 20/20 score through the entire junior division.