The Beacon Bolt is a publication of the student body of Northwest Christian University. The Men’s Basketball team finished their 2015-2016 season with the greatest record in school history, 28-7. Seating at games was competitive because the Morse Event Center was constantly packed with fans, who loved watching the Beacons compete in every game they played. Intensity was an understatement, during some games, such as Southern Oregon, the score continuously flip-flopped keeping the crowd on the edge of its seat. Not only was their win-loss record impressive, but the men took the Cascade Collegiate Conference regular season and tournament championships as well. They advanced to the National Championships where they lost in the second round to Indiana Wesleyan, 84-79. Wesleyan went on to win the entire tournament, becoming the 2016 national champions again after the wildcat’s championship in 2014.
One day after claiming the CCC championship the team also gained several CCC awards, starting with CCC Coach of the Year to Luke Jackson. His players followed suit, with senior Javonte Byrd earned CCC Player of the Year, All-CCC First Team and Co-Defensive Player of the Year went to senior Omar Richards, and lastly All-CCC Honorable Mention went to senior Austin Kuemper. The awards didn’t end in the CCC though, Byrd was also given NAIA All-American Second Team honors. Although the team gained amazing accomplishments athletically, academics also shined, especially in the case of Junior Jack Hackman who earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors, holding a 3.99 GPA.
When asked about his team Hackman said, “My favorite thing was how we stuck together through adversity and grew closer as the year went on. By the time the national tournament came, we were really close as a group. We were also able to have fun and joke around most of the time, but we all knew to be serious when it was time to work.”
Austin Kuemper said he was most proud of his team for earning NCU’s first win at the NAIA National Tournament. He also wanted to thank and shout-out, “To everyone who was involved with me in some way throughout my collegiate career.”
Senior Nicholas Sullivan said, “I am most proud about winning league, and a conference championship for the first time in NCU history at the NAIA level. That is something that I am going to cherish for the rest of my life. It will be cool to be able to come back to NCU and see those banners hanging in the gym.” Sullivan’s favorite memory this season, “I think winning at Oregon Tech, which was the first league game, was a big deal. OIT is a very good program and we haven’t won there for 30 something years. So it was very cool to win that game not only for our team, but for all the Beacons that went before us and lost.”
Congratulations to our Men’s Basketball program for making NCU history, we are so proud and can’t wait for next season!
For more information visit: http://gobeacons.com/index.aspx?path=mbball