By Parker Ferguson
Pictures by Alex Armstrong and Ellie Dunlop
Center Grove has multiple state worthy and highly competitive athletic programs. In 2015 alone the school won three athletic state championships: softball, boys soccer and football. However, among the students there is a non-school sport that is taken quite seriously. It is a church league basketball season at Mount Pleasant Community Church, better known as “CLC league,” but this is not the average church league.
The church league offers students an opportunity to participate in competitive, organized leagues without the stress of balancing a full school sports season.
“Since I am not really good enough to be on the school team or anything, I don’t want to dedicate myself that much,” senior Jake Lindsey said. “School sports can be a lot. It is just fun to play an organized basketball game and still have it be competitive.”
Being an athlete at the CLC not only gives Lindsey the chance to compete but also have a good time with his friends.
“My friends and I made a team for soccer and played. [We play] soccer in the spring and fall. I like basketball more out of the two. It is more competitive and a lot of my friends play it,” Lindsey said. “I had played basketball since I was little and in middle school I played on the middle school team. I wanted to keep playing but I didn’t really want to play for the school so I started playing CLC.”
For senior Chris Foote, the CLC allows him to play basketball outside of the two sports he plays for the school.
“My life outside of school revolves mainly around sports,” Foote said. “I play two sports for the school, football and baseball. I also enjoy playing in the highly competitive Mount Pleasant Christian Church Basketball League (at the CLC).”
Nick Motsay guards Tommy Chick as he drives into the key
Nick Motsay and Tommy Chick, both seniors, made it through the single-elimination tournament and competed last week in the championship, on different teams and with different outcomes.
“The odds were definitely stacked against us; the crowd definitely wasn’t in our favor, but you know you gotta play through that stuff,” Motsay, who was on the losing team, said.
Chick, who was on the winning team, had a different view of the game and atmosphere surrounding it.
“The atmosphere was exciting. Many of the parents and players of other teams stayed to watch and it helped me play my best,” Chick said.
Views of the crowd and festivities surrounding the game may differ, but the on-court performance left little to interpretation.
Chick guards Motsay as his teammate goes up for the shot
“It was a blowout,” Motsay said. “It was close until the last ten minutes, but what are you gonna do? Just move on and do other recreational things.”
Now the players must move on, but looking back Motsay is just happy his team got as far as they did.
“We just didn’t execute. Honestly, we didn’t have any business being there. It was a miracle we made it,” Motsay said.
While Motsay may not have thought his team had any business being there, Chick had his eye on the championship all year.
“I wasn’t too surprised to bring home the ‘ship. After two consecutive losses at the beginning of the season, our team really came together and figured out a good chemistry. We really picked it up in the postseason,” Chick said.
The victorious team poses after the game
Chick’s team peaked at the right time and the key to their victory all had to do with themselves.
“The key to victory was to continue to work as a team. We worked the ball around really well and were hard to contain,” Chick said.
Now that the season is over, Chick’s team was considering taking a celebratory trip to Disney World but opted to stay home and live as champions for a few weeks until the next CLC league, which is the winter league, starts up in a few weeks.
“The CLC league is always fun whether or not you get placed on a team with friends, although that makes it all the better. I haven’t decided whether or not to play (in) the winter league because my Sundays are unfortunately busy, but I would like to,” Chick said.
The CLC is not your average Church league basketball; it is very fun but also ultra competitive, something that the energy surrounding the championship clearly showed. The fall season has wrapped up and the winter season will be starting in a few weeks, with a mix of some new guys, all with the same hope in mind: a CLC championship.