Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Other March Madness: Eagles in Missouri

Game Recap - Augusta Eagles vs. Southern Missouri Rush from Defining Moment on Vimeo.

This week in Springfield, Missouri, 64 teams are competing for a national championship.  The eventual champion will need to win 6 consecutive games against teams from all over the United States.  Sound familiar?  Well, the National Christian Homeschool Basketball Championships (NCHBC) may not be the first basketball tournament that comes to mind when fans think of the term "March Madness," but it is certainly an exciting experience for the roughly 8,000 high school players and fans who flood Springfield every year to see the best homeschool basketball teams compete.
Springfield, MO, is Host City
for National Tournament

And the greater Augusta, Georgia, area's premiere independent school team, the August Eagles, which currently consists of home schooled students exclusively, hopes to make its first experience in the national championships a positive one.  "We have known about this tournament since we formed the team three years ago, and we have always looked forward to competing here.  There are some great teams here, and the tournament is very well run," Eagles coach Chad Cook explains.

The tournament is divided into eight brackets, each consisting of eight teams.  Augusta secured a #1 seed in its bracket.  But Coach Cook and his players know that seeds mean nothing once play begins.  "The teams in our bracket are outstanding.  We could have easily been a lower seed.  Advancing deep into this tournament will require a very good performance," Coach Cook shared before the team's first game.  The team won its initial game, 78-38 against the Southern Missouri Rush, Monday evening.  The Eagles play the Fort Smith Patriots (from Fort Smith, Arkansas) Tuesday evening at 7:30 P.M. (Central Time) for the right to enter the tournament's "Sweet Sixteen" round.

Crown and Miller at All American
Award Cermony
In addition to the nifty format and the strong field, the NCHBC provides players and fans with other meaningful experiences during the week.  Monday night, the "All American" teams were announced.  21 players from the 170 home school basketball teams were chosen to play in Wednesday's All American game at the Missouri State University gym.  Augusta's Austin Crown and Matt Miller were chosen to compete.  Being included in this game is a great honor for the two Eagle guards, who, along with their teammates, are competing in the national tournament for the first time.  Crown and Miller's honors also reflect the phenomenal job the entire team has done in becoming a very respectable team in a short time period.

The Augusta Basketball Report will provide news, highlights, and analysis live from the NCHBC National Championship Tournament throughout the week.  Enjoy the highlight video above, featuring the Augusta Eagles in the tournament's opening round.

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