This week got infinitely better for the Christian Academy Purple Warriors.
With an uncertain future of a coach or team just before the season began, the team went on an 0-8 skid throughout the season.
Assistant head coach Mike Smith watched his church burn on Sunday, as him and his son took over the coaching duties on Monday.
However, everything got better as the Purple Warriors defeated Elk Valley 34-26 in the first round of the county tournament.
“I just can’t tell you the feeling,” assistant coach Mike Smith said. “With everything I’ve been in, personally, in the past two days, this win here, it really puts a lot of pep in my step today.”
For his son, Adam Smith who also attends Fincastle Church of God, the feeling was mutual.
“It’s just amazing,” the interim head coach said. From all that to happen up there at the church to come down here with these boys to get the win, the way they played, it just feels amazing.”
Throughout the season, Vic King has coached the Christian Academy team. However, as he was out of town for the beginning of the tournament, Adam Smith took over the duties.
A 15 point third quarter would take the wind out of the sails for Elk Valley, as the Purple Warriors took their lead to eight points going into the fourth.
“We played hard, and we hadn’t won a game all year, you know,” William Paul said. “It’s really exciting.”
The feeling was much the same for Joseph Howard.
“Awesome,” he said of his feeling after the game. “I can’t believe it. We played the best game. We played hard. It was pretty cool.”
The win was a big one, as it put Christian Academy into the second round of the county tournament.
The Purple Warriors will look to take on Jellico in their second game of the tournament.
“No doubt, it was big,” Christian Academy head coach Vic King said. “It’s a learning process for this age group, especially these. This age group is so young, and we literally started from scratch. The elementary division is up through the sixth grade. Most of our players are third and fourth graders, to be honest, with only a couple of fifth graders. So, it was difficult, but they’re learning and improving each day.”
While stumbling through the season, losing Paul to a broken arm, and all that surrounds the Purple Warriors, they were able to fight it off on Monday.
After coming from a 13-13 tie at the break, they managed 21 points in the second half.
“It feels awesome,” Parker Troutman said. “It’s a pretty big game.”
Paul finished the game with 16 points, as Howard added eight. Troutman had six. Justin Poland added two, as John Allen Arnold and Zachary Mysliwiec deposited one each.
“That’s the one good thing about basketball,” Adam Smith said. “It’s a tournament sport. You can go through the season and not win a game, but when you come to this tournament, everybody is 0-0. Now, we’re 1-0.
“It’s a huge win for these boys. They came out and really gave it their all today. They came out, and we knew that we were going to have some trouble out of the big kid. Parker did an outstanding job guarding him all night.”
For Reverend Mike Smith, the win was sweet in more ways that one.
“So proud of them,” he said with a smile on his face. “The kids played so hard. They’ve been patient, and whether we win or lose, they’re still the same. This is a sweet win for them.”