by Tony McCray
The S.L. Jones Christian Academy faculty, students, athletic coaches, and players endured continued challenges this year only to rise to the level of an athletic championship of the National Association of Christian Athletes in Dayton, Tennessee. The historic victory, under the academy’s leadership of Pastor and Mrs. Willie Demps, was snatched from the jaws of defeat with a 63 to 61 win over another standout Pensacola basketball team from Lighthouse Christian Academy. After trailing most of the game to the extent of nine points, S.L. Jones wrapped up the comeback with a shot from its standout point guard, Quaterrius Knight, at the buzzer. However, according to their coach, Tre Bonner, the culture of this winning team is that all the players share in the victory that led to the championship including the faculty and staff.
Founded in 1980, the National Association of Christian Athletes (NACA) is home to one of the premier invitational sports tournaments for Christian high schools across the country. As one of America’s finest high school sports events, the NACA will provide you a platform to compete on provides a platform to compete on a national level against many of the best teams in the country. The NACA holds evening youth rallies in their gym during the championship tournament’s week that are often life-changing, as both students and coaches make decisions to spiritually challenge the next generation of champions. Each year approximately 3,000 athletes and coaches attend from across the country making the NACA an annual event for many college coaches and scouts.
The members of the championship team are Eluijah Boutwell, Tyriq Braxton Eliziah Brueck, Kevin Fountain, Quarterris Knight, Jerderon Middleton, Johnathon Komagum, Stefon Palmer, and Lasean Washington. Rev. Demps the CEO of the S.L. Jones Christian Academy articulated in his comments, “Each athlete must maintain a 2.5 grade point average overall to participate in our sports program. Additionally, I would like to underscore to the readers of the Gulf Coast Voice, that at S.L. Jones we constantly emphasize placing Christ first. For example, Knight maintains a 3.2 grade point average and Johnathon Komagum has a 3,0 average and all of these athletes pray before the game, during the game, and after the game whether we win or lose. Both academic and athletic achievement are highlighted on a regular basis.”