Eagles continue transformation to tougher basketball competition

Conway Christian School’s Bryant Barnhill looks to put up a shot during the Eagles’ battle against the visiting King’s Academy Lions this past Friday night.

The future appears very bright for the varsity boys’ basketball program at Conway Christian School.

The Eagles advanced to the S.C. Independent Schools Association (SCISA) State Tournament for the first time this season after giving up their affiliation with the S.C. Association of Christian Schools (SCACS) prior to the 2016-17 school year.

Coach G.T. Wagers’ Eagles earned a state tournament berth by finishing second in region competition with a 9-2 record.

Even though Conway dropped a 67-64 decision to South Aiken Christian’s Crusaders in the opening round of the state tournament recently in Sumter, the Eagles served notice that they will be a formidable foe to be reckoned with in the future.

According to CCS athletic director Steve Hucks, the Eagles were a very young team with Brock Josephs being the lone senior.

Although Josephs was a key contributor who will be sorely miss next year, the remainder of the team will be a year older and much more experienced in 2018-19.

Key returnees include freshman Cainan Norris, who averaged about 15 points and eight rebounds per game this past season.

“Brock and Cainan played unbelievable,” Hucks said. “Brock is a big loss because of senior leadership.”

Also returning will be freshman Andrew Polatty, sophomores Lucian Mincey and Cory Crosby and eighth grader Mikias Thompson.

“Mikias guarded Caleb Leverette from South Aiken, who was averaging about 30 points a game and held him to 21,” Hucks said. “Mikias held him in check. He dogged him all game long.”

The Eagles played a tough schedule that helped prepare them for region competition. The opponents included several public schools including Wilson, Socastee, Lewisville, Lee Central and York Comprehensive.

“We played some good teams,” Hucks said. “Making it to the state tournament was a huge deal for us. That was our first trip to the state playoffs in SCISA.”

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