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STATE CHAMPS: Cougars defeat Chambers

The year was not an easy one for Crenshaw Christian, but the hard work made Friday’s state championship win that much sweeter for head coach John Hii.

“I knew that we had some serious potential coming in,” he said. “We just had some bumps and bruises along the way. It all finally came together.”

The Cougars beat Chambers 43-33. The teams’ previous run-in ended with a loss. Crenshaw lost by three points in the third round of the playoffs, but there was no stopping them in the Montgomery Multiplex. The Cougars came out of the gate on fire and only seemed to pick up momentum as the game continued.

Support from a crowd of CCA fans made a big impact. Hii called them his “sixth player.”

The team also had support from volunteer assistant coaches Mike Jones and Russ Tranum.

“They were super helpful this year. They definitely brought some aspects of the game that I had not previously seen,” Hii said. “We didn’t always see eye-to-eye on everything, but they were great help. I couldn’t ask for more.”

The team had a lead all four quarters. By halftime, CCA led Chambers, 20-15. The Cougars doubled that lead by the end of the game.

Britt Kelley was named Most Valuable Player. Alex Divjakovic and Jamal Saunders were named All-tournament.

“It was an amazing experience,” Hii said. “I told my guys this is what we had worked for the whole, entire year.”

Crenshaw practiced every single day. Hii said the team learned that hard work pays off in Friday’s championship.

“Players finally just started to get it toward the end of the year,” Hii said. “They started to understand what it meant to work hard.”

Despite all of the hard work, Hii is not ready to see the season end.

“I’m going to miss everything about it. There’s nothing about it that I’m glad is over,” he said. “If it was up to me, we’d play 24-7, 365 days a year.”