Varsity basketball teams from Christian, private and homeschool organizations from across North Texas competed against each other over the weekend in the annual tournament at Hill High School of Fort Worth.
Trinity Christian Academy, Weatherford Christian School Lions and the Weatherford Express homeschool organization sent both their girls and boys varsity teams to the tournament.
Organized into a pool format, the Express and Lions boys teams played in the same pool with a third team, the Hill Hawks, while the Trinity Eagles played against schools such as Cornerstone Christian Academy and Dallas Academy.
The Weatherford Express girls competed alongside the Trinity Eagles while WCS played in the other pool.
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The Trinity Eagles boys first faced the Dallas Academy Bulldogs Thursday, but started off the weekend with a 57-48 loss.
Eagles Coach Kyle Fields said the weekend’s tournament was their first time to play with their full team as they waited for some players to finish their football season and others to recover from injuries.
"We’re doing all right," Fields said of the Eagles, who have won about half their games so far this season. "It will take some time to get together as a team."
Geren Rangel led the team in scoring with 15 points that first game.
The Express also lost their first game of the tournament to the Hawks 56-41 Thursday afternoon.
Express Coach Marie Perkins said she was still pleased with the teams’ effort even though it ended with a loss.
Express players senior Asher Frailey and junior Jonny Tyer both scored double digits while freshman Seth McCarty scored five and provided several assists.
The team also held one of the Hawks players, who scored 37 points against them in an earlier game this season, to only 14 points with improved defense.
Playing two games in one day, the Express faced the WCS Lions next, but this time came out on top with a narrow 65-64 win.
The close game was decided in the final one and a half minutes when the Express overcame a four-point deficit to win by scoring seven points in under half a minute.
Perkins said she took a different tactic in the third and fourth quarters, telling the Express players to play full-court pressure instead of waiting for the Lions to dribble down the court.
"They did very well putting pressure on the ball," Perkins said of the strategy, which led to forced turnovers.
Earlier that day, the Lady Express game did not end as well against the Eagles.
With only seven varsity players total, they were forced to play most of their first game against the Trinity Eagles with only four players since one could not make the tournament, one was injured and another got sick during the game.
For the fourth quarter, the Eagles decided to play with only four players as well. The Eagles got their first win of the tournament 62-28 over the Express.
After playing most of their first game with only four players, the Lady Express brought some of their middle school players to play in their second game. The Lady Express do not have a junior varsity team this season.
Those younger girls helped them get their first tournament win over the Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School Eagles 25-18.
Each of those wins and their 1-1 records at the tournament gave the Lady Lions and the Lady Express a chance to play each for third place the next day.
The Trinity Eagles boys also sought their first win of the tournament Friday.
But after scoring only 10 in the first half, the Eagles failed to catch up to the Cornerstone Warriors as they lost their second game 54-33, settling for a spot in the consolation round.
The Lions and Eagles faced each other Saturday morning with both teams still looking for their first win of the tournament
After a slow start – losing by eight at the half – the Eagles caught up to and then passed the Lions to win 48-40.
Rangel – who was named the Eagle’s all-tournament player – again led the team that game with 16 points and six steals. Senior Braxton Aldridge grabbed 16 rebounds to help the team gain the win.
The Express – who only had one win for the whole season entering the tournament – hoped to get another win behind them and win third place in the tournament by defeating the Dallas Academy Bulldogs.
But the Express quickly fell behind the Bulldogs, who had some taller players who grabbed more rebounds and defended the Express well, to end up losing 79-36.
Heather Blackburn, playing her first year in Express varsity after having not played in a few years, led with 25 points. She had 59 points in all three games.
The Trinity girls kept their weekend perfect and won the girls’ championship of the tournament for their second year in a row by soundly beating the CLPS Knights 54-16.
Head coach Patti Hale could not make the game, but Eagles assistant Jessica Sims said they were happy with the win, especially since they barely beat the CLPS in a much closer game earlier that same week.
"The girls played really tough," Sims said. "They showed up and played very aggressive."
That aggressiveness led to their scoring the first 23 points of the game before the Knights made their first basket.