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Video: CBC National News - "LCA Saints" raising the bar in high school Basketball.
May 31, 2013
Life Christian Academy suffers overtime loss in inaugural game
November 29, 2012

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Life Christian Academy's Geno Dames scores two of his seven points in overtime against the Gloucester Gators. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Life Christian Academy School lost it's inaugural game in the National Capital Secondary School Athletic Association on Wednesday, but it hardly mattered.

Just getting to play in the NCSSAA is an accomplishment in itself for the small Orléans private school which is located in the former Le Presault school on St. Pierre Street.

The team is a mix of local kids and a handful of international students from the Bahamas.

They were formed almost by fluke last year when the school's athletic director Ray Evans was searching for high school placements for some of his Bahamian players in the United States. He was looking for information on the Life Christian Academy in Hampstead, North Carolina when he mistakenly came across the website for Life Christian Academy here in Orléans.

Without realizing he was on the wrong site, he called the school and ended up talking to school principal Mike Karpishka. After describing his youth program to Karpishka and his efforts in placing his kids with schools in the United States and Canada, Evans apologized for dialing the wrong number and hung up.

It took Karpishka less than an hour to call him back and offer him a job as the school's athletic director and head coach,

Evans brought four students with him from his home base in Freeport. The team won a tournament at Ashbury College and made it to the semi-finals of the Bill Wren Tournament.

They tried to get in the NCSSAA last year, but missed the registration cutoff. With less than 50 students enrolled at the high school level, Life Christian Academy is the smallest school in the NCSSAA by far.

They are currently playing at the A/AA level with teams like Gloucester, Ashbury, Immaculata and Lester B. Pearson.

The team is being coached by fellow Bahamian Keith Dean, while Evans takes care of some business back in Freeport.

Evans will resume his coaching duties after the Christmas holidays. In the meantime, two or three recruits are expected to join the team, which already includes second year returnee Donald Gibson and fellow Bahamians Durien Been and Geno Dames, in December.

Gibson had a strong game for the Saints in a 52-48 overtime loss to the Gloucester Gators in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday.

They team showed a tremendous amount of grit in coming back from a seven point third quarter deficit to eventually take the lead.

They would go up by as many as five points in the fourth quarter before the Gators mounted a comeback of their own and tied the game with a three-point basket by Myraal Hared (34) with 2:49 left in regulation.

Both teams suffered from poor shooting down the stretch and the game had to be decided in extra time.

The Saints drew first blood in overtime on a basket from Dames. A three-poinr shot by Dames would temporarily give the Saints a two point lead, but Gloucester answered back with a pair of baskets from Hared, the second one after a missed free throw, for a five point swing.

Dames third basket in the extra session would tie the score at 48-48 with 54 seconds left on the clock.

Hared then made a pair of clutch free throws with 36.8 seconds left to put the Gators up 50-48.

After missing a shot with 12.1 seconds left, the Saints had to foul the Gators on the inbound pass and hope the free throw shooter missed at least one of his two shots. Instead, Hadder Alatiti (11) made both of his shots, icing the game for the Gators.

Gloucester head coach Jim Langis was pleased to get out of the game with the win, but there is still a long way to go before the playoffs. The high school basketball season is a marathon rather than a sprint with breaks for the Christmas holidays and January exams.

"We're taking game by game and if we're there in the playoffs we're going to try and win," said Langis.

With no gym to call their own, the Saints only had three weeks to prepare for the season using the facilities at the Orléans Y.

Dean is confident the team will round into shape as the season progresses and they benefit from the expected mid-season additions.

"I'm proud of how we played, all things considered," said Dean. "We suffered from some poor perimeter shooting down the stretch and some missed free throws, buy otherwise I thought we did extremely well."

The Saints will have their work cut out for them this season since every game they play will be in their opponent's gym.

"The kids know they're going to have to fight every game," says Dean.

CBC Radio: Miracle on the basketball court
March 16, 2012

Here is the link to the program called "The Link" on RCI (Radio Canada International which is CBC’s international service broadcast on shortwave abroad, and with world-wide affiliates). Glory be to God for all that he is doing in the lives of these young boys. Despite all odds, all senior students have received scholarships.

Miracle on the basketball court

Life Christian Academy's high school basketball team in Ottawa is burning up basketball courts in the varsity high school circuit. They've won 20 out of 25 games even though their school doesn’t have a gym and just last year, it didn't even have a team. It's all thanks to a group of Bahamian teens and their Bahamian coach who decided to take a leap of faith in Canada. The Link's Ottawa Correspondent Amanda Pfeffer brings us their miraculous story.