Crusaders one win from TCAF state

The Cornerstone Crusaders are hoping their switch to a new league will bring about similar results.

Cornerstone’s boys basketball team will take an 18-3 record into the postseason next week as they begin the quest for a return to state.

Last season the Crusaders reached the semifinals of the Texas Christian Athletic League State Tournament, finishing 15-10.

This season, only their third playing basketball, they are once again among the best in the state – only this time it’s in the Texas Christian Athletic Fellowship.

The Crusaders received the No. 2 overall seed going into TCAF Division 2 playoffs. After receiving a bye, they will host the Region I final Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Crossland Ninth Grade Center.

Cornerstone will face the winner between Joshua Christian Academy and Lakewood Christian School.

If Cornerstone wins the region, the Crusaders will advance to the TCAF final four next weekend (Feb. 21-22) at Trinity Christian School in Willow Park.

The Crusaders are led by junior guard Shadd Cole, who is averaging 15.8 points and 6.7 rebounds. Junior forward Brendon Brawley is averaging 15.2 points and 7.9 rebounds.

Also, senior guard Forrest Copenhaver is scoring 8.1 points with 2.9 steals per game, and senior guard Tyler Ives is averaging 5.9 points and 2.6 steals.

“We have had a successful season so far because of the commitment level that my players have been willing to go,” said Cornerstone coach Tyler Johnson.

“While I believe we have the tools and basketball knowledge to score on just about anybody, it has been being successful at the hard things like defense and rebounding that has made us successful so far.”

Ives is hitting 40 percent of his 3-point attempts (19-for-49), while Cole is hitting 44 percent (22-for-50). Cole and Brawley are shooting 56 percent from the field overall, and Copenhaver is shooting 47 percent.

As a team, the Crusaders are hitting 47 percent of their shots and averaging 60 points. They also also pulling down 27.6 rebounds and posting 11.4 steals.

“I always tell my players that striving to do things that are hard and frustrating at times, like rebounding and playing defense, make scoring with the basketball and winning games so much more enjoyable,” said Johnson.

“Every day when we start practice, as a team we always try to remind ourselves that while we have had success this season so far, past successes are not enough. We want to build on what we have started.”

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