Bourbon Christian Academy completes year with a perfect record in league play in the Kentucky Christian School Athletic Association Conference, capping it off with a state title
STORY SUBMITTED/IVAN K. RICE I For The Citizen
ELIZABETHTOWN, KY – Coach Sean Rankin and his staff took their Bourbon Christian Academy Lions basketball team to Elizabethtown, Kentucky last weekend to participate in the 2023 Kentucky Christian School Athletic Association (KCSAA) State Basketball Tournament that was contested inside the beautiful Bluegrass Sportsplex.
The Lions entered the KCSAA state as the number one seed after rolling through league play undefeated. While there, the team didn’t disappoint and lived up to their lofty seed by winning the program’s first KCSAA basketball title, finishing off the year with a perfect 20-0 record in conference play. Their overall record for the year was 24-2, where they lost two out of conference games, but defeated two KHSAA opponents.
Below is a look at the three games that was won by BCA this past weekend.
BCA 65, Rolling Hills 30
Last Friday, the Lions opened the tournament by taking on the 8th seed Rolling Hills Christian Tornados. The Lions won the regular season matchup by 17.
The Tornados featured a top 10 player in the league and BCA’s sophomore Austin Beatty would get the assignment to slow him down.
BCA started with a few nerves and the Tornados would take an early four point lead. Senior Tanner Crawford finally put the Lions on the board just before senior Landon Martin would get a steal and score another quick bucket sparking a 14-3 run. Beatty paced BCA during the frame by scoring 10 points.
With the combination of Beatty’s tough defense and the Lions hot shooting, Rankin’s squad easily disposed of Rolling Hills from that point on, 65-30.
Beatty led all scorers with 27 points, while keeping Rolling’s top scorer in check. Senior Oliver Slattery added 17 points and 7 boards. Sophomore Eli West finished with 7 points, Martin scored 6 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Senior Kyle Claypool tossed in 4, Crawford struggled from the field with only 2 points but had 9 assists, with junior Anthony Bell contributing the final 2 points.
Tanner Crawford’s triple double highlights semifinal win
The semifinal game had the Lions, who won both regular season matchups, going up against the Clays Mill Cougars.
BCA came out of the Lions cage on a mission, as they pushed out to an early 23-7 lead following one quarter of play. Crawford’s hot shooting from the field (4-for-4) led the way.
The second quarter was no different as the Lions used an 11-1 run before the Cougars would finally start hitting shots. Right before the half, the Cougars best player rolled his ankle and exited the game as BCA led 40-18 at the break.
The Cougars, already down 22, and their best player done for the day, there wasn’t much they could do from there as they Lions coasted home with the easy 67-40 victory to advance to their first ever state championship game.
Crawford’s play was unbelievable as he finished with a triple double that saw him score 24 points, secured 10 rebounds, and handed out 12 assists. In addition, Tanner made 10 of his 12 field goal attempts and was 4 of 6 from behind the three-point line.
Other stats saw Beatty with 12 points, while Slattery and Bell contributed 9 points each. Sophomore Dakota Fuller, Claypool, and Martin (8 boards) all tallied 3 points each. Freshman Mason Griffith and West closed the scoring with their 2 points.
The Lions shot 55% from the field and a blistering 53% from the trey.
State Championship (BCA 61, Aldersgate 56)
The championship game against the Aldersgate Flames would be the third time this season the teams faced one another. The Lions won the first meeting on a last second bucket by Landon Martin and the second game was a 14 point win by BCA on the Lions’ senior night.
The team from Millersburg jumped out to a 7-3 lead before the Flames closed the gap to 11-9 after one quarter of play.
The teams traded baskets to start the second quarter before the Flames would go on a 9-0 run and take a five point lead. Crawford and the Lions answered with their own mini run that moved them back in front by two at the halftime break.
Crawford took over the game in the third frame by scoring nine of the Lions’ points as they won the quarter by four points to take a six point advantage into the final eight minutes.
The Flames stayed within six points throughout the final quarter before cutting it to three with eight seconds to go. Then, the Flames would foul Crawford and the clam as can be senior made both attempts to seal the win and the program’s first ever state title.
Crawford ended with another monster outing that saw him score 30 points and haul in 11 rebounds. Slattery added 12 points and 7 boards. Martin and Beatty added 8 points each. Rounding out the scoring saw West with 2 and Bell with 1.
BCA shot 50% from the field and 74% from the foul line.
2022-2023 team members and support staff: Head Coach Sean Rankin, Associate Head Coach David Puckett, Assistant Coach Barry Rankin, Assistant Coach Jacob Judy, Assistant Coach Ethan Crawford, seventh grader Easton Martin, sophomore Dakota Fuller, sophomore Jos Faw, senior Landon Martin, sophomore Eli West, sophomore Austin Beatty, sophomore Warren Slattery, senior Oliver Slattery, senior Tanner Crawford, freshman Mason Griffith, senior Kyle Claypool, sophomore Colton DeBruler, and junior Anthony Bell.
Look for more info and pictures in this and next week’s Bourbon County Citizen sports section on this very historic championship title from the small team located out of Millersburg.
ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY GLENDA MERS STANFIELD