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One shining moment: Cougars NPSAA national champs

The National Private School Athletic Association has named the Crenshaw Christian Academy boys’ basketball team as the Division IV national champions after their stellar 27-1 season record and after winning the AISA Class AA state championship on Feb. 20.

This announcement was the icing on the cake for the Cougars and their fans during last week’s “Cougar Appreciation Day” ceremonies. Administrator Angela Carpenter said the school would soon receive the NPSAA national championship trophy.

“Edgewood won this award last year, and this year, it’s ours,” Carpenter said.

The championship team also received resolutions from Gov. Bob Riley, the City of Luverne, and the Crenshaw County Commission. Each player received a copy of the Governor’s resolution.

“You’ve got to have good athletes and good chemistry to have a championship team,” Luverne City Councilman Charlie Johnson said. “You definitely have proven that you have both.”

CCA defeated Southern Academy 54-52 in overtime to bring home the AISA Class AA state championship.

Seniors Jake Page and Eric Van Beek were chosen for the All-Tournament team during the state finals, while junior Jake Hataway was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Head coach Michael Malpass was selected to head up the AISA East All-Star Team, and Van Beek was tabbed to play on the East team.

“All of your names will hang in our school from now on along with these resolutions,” Carpenter told the team. “I’ve been preaching team spirit since I took the helm in 2004, and we finally got it during this basketball season.”

Assistant Coach Mike Jones praised Malpass for the work he had done with the team.

“He takes these kids to camps to always get better,” Jones said. “He takes so much extra time with our kids, and we should be thankful for him.”

An emotional Malpass first thanked his wife for their winning season.

“She lets me be a coach,” he said.

“We won this year with a team, not with any individual guys, but as a team,” Malpass said.

Malpass praised the Cougars for their good work ethics and for attaining this “one shining moment” in their lives. He then personally recognized and hugged seniors Jake Page, Davis Layton, Eric Van Beek, David Garrison, Lane Evans, and Nate Phillips.