By Wil Crews

Although unable to compile the numbers for varsity teams, the Southern Christian Patriots’ junior varsity basketball team and middle school team are off to a good start in the program’s second year.

“We were not able to put together a varsity team or girls team for basketball this year, but we are hoping that more of the home-educated families in this area will hear about us and get plugged into this program,” said Southern Christian Athletic Director Chasity Scott.

A large home crowd gathered at the Covington Rec Center in Opelika last week for the Patriots’ first game. Facing the Evangel Christian Lions of Montgomery, the Patriots won the middle school game 41-24 behind Jagger Scott’s 12 points and five rebounds. Harris Adams added seven points and five rebounds; Parks Myers had three steals, leading the way on defense.

For the junior varsity squad, however, the Lions proved much more difficult to manage. The Patriots struggled to penetrate a stingy Evangel defense, resulting in a number of forced shots from beyond the three-point line. In total, the Patriots finished 3-for-24 from three-point range and narrowly fell, 24-23. Jedd Scott and Jack Egan led the Patriots with eight points apiece; Jedd added seven steals. Jagger and Cole Johnson controlled the paint with eight rebounds each.

The next game for the Patriots was against the Wiregrass Kings in Dothan, Alabama. The middle school matchup came first and the two teams were difficult to separate throughout the contest. Although the Patriots led at the half, the Kings came out of the break and went on a 12-to-three scoring run to put some distance between the two teams. Ultimately, the deficit proved too much to overcome as the Patriots lost 45-42. Johnson led the way for Southern Christian with 18 points and eight rebounds.

For the Patriots junior varsity squad, things were once again a struggle. A high-powered Wiregrass offense and man-to-man defensive pressure proved too much for Southern Christian to handle as the Patriots fell 65-21. The Patriots lost sophomore Brandon Williams due to fouling out midway through the second quarter and the lack of depth impeded their ability to stay in the game. Jayden McKee led Southern Christian with four rebounds and no Patriot player scored more than six points.

“We weren’t able to get our offense up and running and that made it difficult to keep up with the Kings early in the game. Once they got a lead, they never slowed down,” Jason Scott. “They have been playing together a long time and we just haven’t yet. This is year number two for us, but we will get there. More home school kids come into our sports program every month. Wiregrass is tough, best in our conference last year, so I knew we were in for a tough game even before watching the Kings varsity squad barely lose to Lee-Scott earlier this month.

The Patriots were back in action on Dec. 2, facing a back-to-back against ACSC conference opponent, the Tuscaloosa Warriors. The junior varsity squad lost the first game, a low scoring affair, 37-21. Egan and Anderson England both had five points. The second finished in similar fashion with the Patriots on the wrong end, however both offenses began to click and the Warriors narrowly escaped the high-scoring game with a 50-42 win. Myers gave his best effort to bring home the win for Southern Christian with a double-double, 12 point, 11 rebound stat line.

“The teamwork was great,” Scott said of the game. “The boys played well and although we weren’t able to secure a win, it was still very exciting.”

On Monday night, the Patriots’ middle school team was able to secure its second win with a 43-12 victory over the Warriors of Wynnbrook Christian School in Columbus, Georgia. Wyatt Myers had a team-high 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds. England and Adams kept the Warriors’ offense honest with a combined seven steals. The win moves the Southern Christian middle schoolers to 2-1, with the junior varsity is still 0-2.

The Patriots will travel to Samford University Friday to play the East Central Patriots.