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Malpass’s Cougars make the dream come true

In Roland Arena in the Delchamps Center on the Huntingdon College Campus in Montgomery last Friday, the Crenshaw Christian Academy varsity boys’ basketball team finished the season the way they hoped it would end. The team compiled a record of 27 wins and 1 loss, and on Friday night, February 20th, the CCA Cougars were crowned the Class AA State champs.

Crenshaw avenged their only loss in the regional championship game against East Memorial Christian out of Prattville with a 54-33 win played at Faulkner University in Montgomery. Crenshaw’s road to the championship went through Pickens Academy in the Elite 8, and Evangel Christian out of Montgomery in the Final Four on Friday, February 13th. The championship game was against the Southern Academy Cougars out of Greensboro. CCA defeated Pickens 59-39, and Evangel 53-45.

In one of the most exciting championship games ever, after the game went into overtime, the CCA Cougars came out on top with a final score of 54-52. The All Tournament selections from Crenshaw included seniors Jake Page and Eric Van Beek. Junior Jake Hataway was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, finishing the title game with 24 points including the final 10 points of the game. Every player had huge moments that potentially won the game for Crenshaw. Senior Davis Layton had six points in the first half that were huge, and big man 6’ 9” Jelle Vermeyen had 7 blocks in the game. Senior Jake Page finished the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds and senior Eric Van Beek finished with 9 points and 6 assists.

“This team was unselfish and really bought into playing great defense,” said CCA head basketball coach Michael Malpass. “We held Southern to 23 points the entire second half and overtime. Defense made the difference and we attacked the rim in offense.”

“We will certainly miss our seniors, but we are looking forward to the 09-10 season next year,” he said.

This year’s team was led in scoring (averages per games) by Jake Hataway – 18 points, Eric Van Beek – 14 points, Jake Page – 11 points, and Davis Layton – 9 points. The Cougars were led in rebounds (averages per game) by Jake Page – 12, Jake Hataway – 10, and Jelle Vermeyen – 9. The leading assist guy was Eric Van Beek averaging 8 assists per game, and leading shot blocker was Jelle Vermeyen averaging 7 blocks per game.

“We want to congratulate our Crenshaw Christian Academy Varsity Boys’ Basketball team on winning the Class AA State Championship,” said CCA Administrator Angela Carpenter. “Also, congratulations go to Head Coach Michael Malpass and his assistants Mike Jones, Josh Phillips, and Will Tate. This is Coach Malpass’s fourth year at CCA.”

Coach Malpass gave a special thanks to those off the court.

“A very special thank you goes to all the fans, supporters and parents for their consistent and unending support throughout this season,” Malpass said.

But the excitement isn’t over yet as Malpass has been named as the head coach for the AISA East All-Star Team, while senior Eric Van Beek was also chosen to play on the East team.

The All-Star game is Friday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Huntington College in Montgomery.