A week ago, students from Blackhawk Christian’s high school and middle school filled their gym to help send off the Braves to battle for a Class 1A state title in boys basketball. One week later, trophy in hand, the Braves were back in the same gym in front of every student from Blackhawk Christian schools.
It was a cap on several days of celebration and congratulations for the coaches and players at Blackhawk Christian after their title win on Saturday.
“To me, one of the neatest things about coaching is the ongoing relationship with players,” Blackhawk Christian coach Marc Davidson told Outside the Huddle after the celebration. “To get texts from a lot of the players I used to coach years ago is pretty special”
Students from kindergarten through high school seniors filled the gym on Wednesday, as did guests, teachers and administrators as athletic director Joel Cotton led a celebration of the boys basketball team’s accomplishment. They are the first boys basketball team in school history to win a state title after 2004’s runner up group.
“We have never gotten together for a kindergarten through high school assembly like this before,” said Linda Pearson, the Head of Schools for Blackhawk Christian. “We have more to celebrate than just the win. I have said so many times during this season that I’m proud of this team because I would take any one of you home to be my son.”
Cotton took to the stage to introduce a par of video tributes to the final game, drawing oohs and aahs from the crowd and a wry smile from sophomore Caleb Furst and he coolly slouched in his chair when highlights aired of his first quarter shot blocking spree against Barr-Reeve’s Keegan O’Neill last Saturday morning.
Furst also got to come to the forefront of the stage as Cotton talked about the growth from being a freshman at the school to being a high school basketball player. Two kindergartners shyly took the stage with Furst as Cotton pointed out they would have to stack the pair of them to reach Furst’s height.
The afternoon was a nice look back at a day that meant a lot to the Blackhawk Christian community. Cotton also talked about what it meant to those who had been waiting a long time and those who looked up to them. Seniors Austin McIntosh and Cooper Wild, who have been attending Blackhawk Christian for 13 years each, both spoke to the crowd about the moment and what it meant to them to be looked up to by the younger kids in the schools.
“When I was their age in elementary and middle school, I looked up to players like Russell Byrd, Seth Kisler, Joey Morlan, Wes Davidson and now I get to play with Frankie and Caleb and just to get to play with some of the top players that have ever played in this school be on my same team is pretty cool,” McIntosh said from the stage. “When I was their [younger students] age, I thought they were the coolest people in the world.”
“I would say probably the best part is the community,” Wild added at the event. “The Blackhawk community has been a huge part of all of our lives. Growing up, the teachers, our parents, the coaches have all invested so much time into us. It has just led to great chemistry in our team.”
Throughout the celebration, Cotton also read a letter to the school from Fort Wayne mayor Tom Henry and spoke of the city turning the colors of downtown’s Martin Luther King Jr. bridge blue and gold over the weekend.
“Really proud of our kids and our school and proud to represent our city. I thought it was really cool what they did with the bridge and getting a letter from the mayor. That stuff is really neat and tells you a little bit about the people of Fort Wayne. It is just a great lot of people and we were proud to represent them. I think Fort Wayne is a great basketball city and always has been,” Davidson said.
Davidson’s oldest son, senior Frankie, even sparked a few of his rare smiles during the event. He is the third son of Davidson to finish his high school career under their dad’s tutelage at the school. And while the celebration ran the weekend, coach Davidson says that one of the biggest moments was time with Frankie after the game.
“This is the third one now that has finished a career playing for me. Those locker rooms…it ain’t easy. It just kind of hits you like a ton of bricks, this whole stage of our lives is now over and we are moving on to something else,” he said. “I think I had that moment in the locker room with Frankie just like I did with Wesley and William before him. You are obviously proud. It was just a special moment between Frankie and I in the locker room.”