The boys of the Twin Oaks Christian School Eagles enjoyed a memorable send-off that will last a lifetime.
The boys got to play on the court at Enterprise Center at halftime of a Missouri Valley Conference tournament game last week.
Coach Brad Brasfield’s team played at the halftime of the Evansville- Illinois State game in which Illinois State won.
“The boys were so excited to at the Enterprise Center,” Brasfield said. “We usually play in front of 30 to 50 spectators and probably only one other tournament have we played in front of 100 fans. On that night, they played in front of thousands of people! They hit many college distance and two NBA distance 3-pointers.
“We put a priority on offense for the exhibition and the boys were all smiles and again showed a great attitude of teamwork and the heart of Christ making sure everyone had a chance to score.”
Brasfield said the entire group appreciated the chance to play downtown.
“I want to thank the St. Louis Sports Commission for allowing us the opportunity and giving the boys and their parents tickets to both of the games that night,” Brasfield said. “The boys were elated to be playing on a Division 1 floor and where so many great players have played before. It was a great ending to a great year.
“This was the last time they got to play together as a team and though it was an inter-squad game, they really played well all together helping one another out.”
The eighth grade team went undefeated at 10-0 in its division and ended up 11-2 overall on the year.
Brasfield has coached this team for six years along with assistant coach Gregg Renz. Jacob Renz also started coaching over the last two seasons.
“Most of the boys started together in third grade and some have played either with or against each other since first grade before CYC even started,” Brasfield said. “We set our team goal to win our division and thought we might have an outside chance at going undefeated. We won our division last year going 7-3, and many of the same teams were in our division this year but several teams were also new to us so we weren’t sure.
“We are a fast team but do not have anyone over 5-feet-11 so you never know how matchups will go. What we have though, is a determined and tough team that has a high basketball I.Q.”
To sweep through at 10-0 showed how well the Eagles can play as a team.
“Going undefeated is a great testament to the boys buying into the team mentality. When they were young, we really relied on one or two guys for most of our offense,” Brasfield said. “With injuries and illnesses, we played a couple of games without those same players and still scored 50 and 60 points in a game. They share the ball extremely well and we were balanced this year for the first time with our forwards doing a lot more scoring and not just relying on our guards.”
Brasfield enjoyed being with the boys for their final season before they go off to play in high school around the area.
“This has been a great group of kids to coach. They all work very hard and it shows in practice and the little things they do well,” Brasfield said. “We have learned five different offenses over the years and use them all as well as playing man on defense and several different zones and presses. This year, the guards would call the plays and defenses themselves. It was also nice to have two teams of five not only for practice but in games.
“The two groups would change half way through each quarter and it was like you had to play against two different teams. I think it made us hard to prepare for. We have had to deal with adversity, discipline issues along the way, and success. The boys are a very good basketball team, but they are even better people and we have enjoyed coaching this group on and off the court.”
There were numerous highlights this season Brasfield said.
“Everyone stepped up when we needed them to. My favorite game was when we were missing two players, and we scored 60 points and everyone on the team had between four to nine points.”
Several players had big games as well.
Braden Brasfield, a shooting guard heading to Westminster Christian Academy, had a game where he went 3 for 3 behind the arc, made both free throws he attempted and went 5 for 5 in shooting overall. He ended up with 15 points in only 14 minutes of play.
In the St. Clement’s Tournament, Evan Renz, a shooting guard heading to Parkway South, was in the 3 point contest and in the opening round missed his first 3 pointer but then made 18 in a row in 90 seconds.
“That was the highest total of anyone in the tournament, “Brasfield said. “He ended up in second place in the finale hitting 12.”
Kayden Stokes, who is a forward heading to Lafayette, scored 10 points and had even more rebounds for a double-double in the all star game.
William Warren, a point guard heading to Westminster, had several assists and numerous steals playing point guard in that same all -tar game.
The team is going to be spread throughout the St. Louis area for high school next year.
“We have 10 kids going to six different high schools next year,” Brasfield said.
The school will be Westminster Christian Academy, Providence Classical Christian Academy, Heritage Christian Academy, CBC, Parkway South, and Lafayette.
“I am eager to follow them in high school and hopefully catch a few of them playing against each other at the high school varsity level,” Brasfield said.
He enjoyed coaching the boys.
“I want to thank Twin Oaks Christian School and our players’ parents that have allowed Gregg and Jacob Renz and myself to coach these boys all of these years,” Brasfield said. “We have been allowed to share in so many highs and lows, from 4-6 our first year up to 10-0 this year.
“One of the mottos of our team all six years has been ‘”I’m Third.’ In our team devotions, we have talked a lot about how to put God first, others second, and yourself third in all we do and say. Every year, we give out awards at the end of the season, the most coveted award is the ‘I’m Third Award.’ This year, I could honestly give it to every single one of them.”