Photos courtesy of Jere Neer

March 16, 2024

By Fred Liggett

The 2023-24 season will be remembered for many things at Summit Christian Academy with the last memory for the Eagles boys basketball team coming from the Class 3 state championship game. The Eagles made their first ever appearance in a state title game where on Saturday, Mar. 9 they came up short against New Madrid County Central 86-65.

Fans and players celebrate a semifinal victory over Montgomery County

The final four is called the Show-Me Showdown and the Eagles were ready for a showdown the moment they arrived in Columbia, MO. The experience began for the Eagles with a Class 3 semifinal round game on Friday, Mar. 8 against the Montgomery County Wildcats. The Eagles displayed there well-known lock down defense and won the game 46-36. Just like in the Eagles district title game win over Lafayette County, it was another victory after limiting an opponent to below 40 points.

Junior Max Rieger hits one of his five three pointers on the night

On the very next night the Eagles would play the defending Class 3 state champion. The Eagles gave up more than 40 points but kept the title game close trailing 10 or 12 points at end of each quarter until the fourth. Guard Max Rieger led the way in scoring with 25 points. Also in double figures was Fischer Ethridge and Carter Jeffries with 11 each. The Eagles finished this memorable season at 25-8.

The memory for Eagles fan Rob Elkins, “It was really exciting, a big stage for them.” Elkins adds “happy for these kids and for Coach Truesdale to coach with his dad.” Elkins believes this final four appearance “is a building block to something special.”

Freshman Michael Thomas scores to open the second half

Eagles head coach Tellus Truesdale says of the experience, “It was great, our crowd was loud if not louder than anyone else.” Truesdale appreciates SCA staff “put together a pep bus, was fun.” Truesdale enjoyed how after the games were played other fans came to him to “comment on the character of the players.” To reach this point was a goal set by the Eagles at the start of the season. Truesdale admits “the team set a goal, our goal was a final four.” Truesdale states the team wasn’t ranked all year but, “We believed we were better than people think, proud of the results.”

Junior Brayden Porter (#3) and junior Bajj Walker (0) pressure defense

Having won 25 games and playing for the school’s first state championship Eagles fans everywhere are proud of the results from this season.