Evangel girls finishes perfect 23-0, wins ACSC title
From Staff Reports
It was a strong season for the Evangel Lightning girls’ basketball squad, which was most recently capped off by the team finishing the season undefeated with an undefeated record of 23-0, as well as winning the Alabama Christian School Conference tournament that was played at Samford University Feb. 13-18.
In the finals of the ACSC tournament, which was played on Saturday, Feb. 18, top seeded Evangel beat 2nd place Ezekiel Academy out of Montgomery 40-36 to bring home the championship.
Evangel, who averaged 51 points a game during the regular season, was held to a season-low eight points in the first half by a scrappy Ezekiel team, which was led by Bethany Haigler and Nizhoni Thompson.
Midway through the third quarter, with Evangel down by 10 points, sophomore Annie Haga hit four straight 3-pointers within a two-minute stretch to put the Lightning ahead for the first time in the game. Evangel held on with some clutch free throw shooting down the stretch led by Diani Bailey and Chloe Hendon.
Haga was named the tournament’s most valuable player after her sharpshooting effort led the Lightning to a come-from-behind win. Diani Bailery and Madi Gurley were also selected to the All-Tournament team along with Ezekiel’s Haigler and Sadie Graham.
For the season, Evangel used a full court man to man pressure defense in its 12 wins over conference teams and also in its 11 wins versus AISA teams from Kingwood, Cornerstone Christian, Restoration Academy and other non-conference teams. Evangel was led by Gurley, a senior guard, throughout the season who averaged 12 points per game and 4 steals per game. Ninth grade point guard Karis Varner, who averaged 10 points per game and 3 steals per game, was another big time contributor for the Lightning this year.
It was another successful year for head coach Todd Parker, who now has a record at Evangel of 86-3 over the past four years of coaching both the girls and boys.