Motivation can come in a variety of forms.
Over the past few years, social media has made its way up the ladder as one of its chief catalysts.
Mention of the mere presence of Zion Williamson fills gyms, with the Spartanburg Day top prospect’s ability to dunk with power and style becoming the stuff of legend. Among those impressed were members of the Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team, who have seen his exploits on an almost nightly basis — whether it be via social media or the top spot on SportsCenter Top 10.
While certainly holding quite the level of respect for Williamson and his athletic prowess, by no means are the Saints intending to back down.
“Fuel to the fire,” said Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach sophomore guard Michael Green, after seeing tweets claiming his team didn’t have a chance to beat the Griffins.
On Saturday, the Saints will get their opportunity as they take on Spartanburg Day School for the SCISA Class 2A state title at the Sumter Civic Center at 12:30 p.m.
Seeking to repeat as state champions, the Griffins have won 14 consecutive games and have yet to lose to SCISA competition this season. While Williamson certainly provides quite the obstacle, what makes them equally dangerous is their scoring capability aside from him.
“They have several players outside that can shoot the ball well,” said Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball coach Colin Stevens. “That allows them to utilize Zion so well. We’ll certainly have our hands full.”
Spartanburg Day averages just shy of 75 points per game. Williamson is responsible for 36 of those, with the team’s next leading scorer, Chandler Lindsey, scoring 14 points per contest.
We battled to where we needed to, and have given ourselves a chance. There are no more practices, no more games after (Saturday). Our boys saw them and realized this team isn’t unbeatable. We’re good too.
Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball coach Colin Stevens
By no means are the Saints slouches, however. The team’s “Big 3” consisting of seniors Justin Busby and Bryce Schneider, along with Green combine for 67 percent of the squad’s scoring.
Schneider leads the squad in rebounds per game, while Green is tops in assists.
“It’s just special being able to have guys like that, and [they] can do so much,” Stevens said of the three, including Busby and Schneider, who transferred to the school from public institutions. “The thing about them is they are so unselfish. They came from teams where they were studs and used to being ‘the guy.’ But to see them rely on each other is a luxury, and I’m blessed to experience it with them.”
Following a slow start, Christian Academy has won six in a row. In fact, it has lost only two games since the calendar turned to 2017.
“It took us a little time to get adjusted as a team, and to each each other,” the Saints basketball coach said. “It came about midseason and us as a team realizing some adversity. We came out on the good side of it, all the ups and downs, it really told us about this team and its character.”
Each member of the Christian Academy basketball team took in Spartanburg Day’s close win over region foe Trinity-Byrnes — a team the Saints defeated twice this season. According to Stevens, the best thing to come out of that game for his squad was renewed optimism it could play with the Griffins, despite the opinion of some.
“We battled to where we needed to and have given ourselves a chance,” he said. “There are no more practices, no more games after (Saturday). Our boys saw them and realized this team isn’t unbeatable.
“We’re good too.”
SCISA Class 2A boys final
Christian Academy vs. Spartanburg Day
Records: Christian Academy is 20-11; Spartanburg Day is 28-6
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Where: Sumter Civic Center
Coaches: Colin Stevens, Christian Academy; Lee Sartor, Spartanburg Day
Key players: CAMB: Justin Busby (Sr.), Bryce Schneider (Sr.), Michael Green (So.); SDS: Zion Williamson (Jr.), Chandler Lindsey (Jr.), Kyle Tracy (Jr.)
Quotable: “They have several players outside that can shoot the ball well. That allows them to utilize Zion so well. We’ll certainly have our hands full.” — Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball coach Colin Stevens