If you have never read 1 Samuel 17 (David and Goliath), you may want to pull out your Bible. This account of what took place at the prestigious Phoenix invitational this week is a pretty spectacular parallel to what God's Word tells us about unshakable faith. Unlike the Bible story, there is no implication here about good or evil here. This is just a narrative about a faith based team having to face modern day giants, and leaning on their faith to see them through.
This weekend, Carolina Elite 15U girls (composed of six 13U, three 14U, and two 15U players) played through the gauntlet of games that led them to the Phoenix championship title game.
As the weekend developed, it became clear that each time the 15U Boo Williams EYBL prep team played their games that crowds would gather to see some of God's incredibly gifted athletes just dominate every team they played. The Boo Williams team has a deep bench of some of the biggest, strongest, talent in the game and it just amazing to watch them play.
Sunday afternoon the stage was set once Elite defeated Carolina Flames and Lady Phenoix that they were going have to face the giants. CE coach Adams recalls that several of his players came to the pre-game meeting and he could see it in their faces that they were not confident that they were equipped for the upcoming task. Coach explained to his team that he felt they had 1 chance to take down the giants and everybody had to do their job with precision.
The game plan would be to tighten everyone up on defense in the paint when Boo's team dribbled attacked and force them to shot outside. On offense, we would have to move the ball quickly into the middle to draw in their defense then kick to the perimeter for our shooters to take their best shots. It was clear from watching all the other teams try to attack this phenom Boo Williams team that if teams tried to attack in the middle, that the physical pain from the contact would take any team out of their rhythm. On top of that, offensive rebounding against Boo just is not going to happen with their size. So, the moments ticked by and it was time for the tip off. Early in the championship game, Elite got a few shots to fall and Boo would counter with a few unstoppable tempo drives to the hoop. Each possession for Elite was patient and methodical.
These young ladies patiently moved the ball around the perimeter waiting for the giants to step out enough to get the pass to the heart of their defense to draw them in, and then the kickoff to get the shooters assist from the interior. At half, Carolina Elite was down by 4 and coach Adams recalls that his team only being down by 4 at the half was enough for his players to see we can actually compete with the giants. He recalled the players' prayer before the game asking God to give us the sling that He gave David so we can glorify our God. He reminded his girls to "just keep doing your jobs and if our shots fall, we will win the game."
Minutes into the second half, the game plan started to catch fire as Kate Hollifield and Emma Finster began to realize that they in fact were God's sling on this day. Their 2nd half accurate peremiter shooting was no less impressive that the shot that David himself took in 1 Samuel 17 as he took down Goliath. For the game, Kate knocked down 31 and Emma drained 17 for one of of Elite's most impressive wins yet. Also deserving of recognition for her incredible faith and performance in this game was 6'2" Elite center Samantha Ackles as her story in this game was more like Daniel in the lions den (Daniel 6:20), as she was locked in the middle all game on defense outmatched on every side with height and size, and yet managed to get a double double with rebounds and deflections.
Final score in the Phenoix Championship game was 54-37, Carolina Elite.
As coach would say, "To God be the Glory."