Atlanta, February 17, 2007. The Pinecrest Middle School Boys Basketball
Team recently ended what their coaches described as a “magical
season” by winning the North Atlanta Metro League basketball championship.
In the final game, the Pinecrest team faced a tough
rival in Mount Vernon. The league’s top seed, Mount Vernon
had twice defeated the Pinecrest team during the regular season
and, as hosts of the tournament, enjoyed home court advantage.
Nevertheless, the Pinecrest team enjoyed the support of their entire
school community as Pinecrest students, teachers and families showed up
to cheer on their team. As the team looked up
into the crowd, the sight of their spirited supporters filling
the stands did much to rally their spirits throughout an
exhilarating final game that came down to the last possession.
coaches cite the support of their school as one of
the two major factors that contributed to the team’s success.
The other factor? Prayer. The coaching staff, composed of Joe
Neiner, Billy Haynes, and Rick Swygman, began the very first
practice in the chapel before ever touching a ball or
stepping on the court. True to the spirit of their
school, the team focused its efforts on “giving glory to
God”. The coaches note that, “to maintain this focus we
prayed before, during, and after every practice and game, with
each prayer led by a different team member”. This was
a key theme as the season progressed, and as their
season moved into the playoffs, the team stepped up their
prayer as well as their game. “Every afternoon before our
three playoff games, the team met in the chapel asking
God to grant us His grace… in return for our
giving Him our best in effort and in attitude.”
the team’s key supporters (and intercessors) during the championship game
was St. Joseph. Before the last game, the team read
aloud and meditated on a prayer to St. Joseph. Their
coaches urged them to “carry this prayer into the game,
and to use their play as a continuing form of
prayer”. The result? “Every member of the team – including
those on the bench – performed selflessly, with total intensity,
great character, and respect for the other team.”
The entire Pinecrest
community is proud of their champions, who have grown into
a team of prayerful and focused young men, and a
force to be reckoned within North Atlanta Middle School Basketball.