Smiles, high fives, hugging and cheering were seen and heard all around the gym Friday night at Clayton-Bradley Academy. In the program's third year, they finally got into the win column, beating Paideia Academy 49-16. A team they lost to twice in the same 2017-2018 inaugural season. The Blazers also set a new high for points in a game, for the third time in this young season, going from 32 to 42 to 49. Seven Blazers scored on this night, as Cayleb Kimsey led the way. He had a great effort, with 15 points, 9 steals and 5 rebounds. Steals continue to be a strong point of Kimsey's game this year, as he leads the team in that category, with his quick reads and reactions to passes.
Kimsey, the Freshman Co-Captain and Point Guard, was filled with emotion on getting the first win, "It was unexplainable, especially being a home game." The Blazers almost won their first game of the season, on the road against Temple Baptist JV, losing by only 5. Kimsey went on to say, "Splashing a three and the crowd goes insane. Being able to be a part of that type of environment was amazing. The energy that the crowd brings to every home game is overwhelming." What did Kimsey learn from this milestone? "We went into the game Friday night knowing we would win, but being careful not to underestimate our opponents. We know the feeling of being someone else's 'easy win.' So we come out fighting every single game that we play. We won't be the ones who lose when it matters most to a team that we simply underestimate." Sophomore Blake Mills added that, "Getting the first win felt really good, because I have been working with this team for 2 years now. It was a great lesson learned tonight, showing that hard work really pays off in the long run. We have worked really hard for this."
First year Head Coach Sean Mubarak, or "Coach Mu" as everyone calls him has made quite the impression on the program. Athletic Director Grant Redmond declared, "From the first time that I talked with him I knew that he would change this program and impact our young men. He has great basketball knowledge, but cares for the students as young men more than anything else. This win and the way they are playing is a direct result of who he is as a person and coach. I cannot wait to see how the rest of this season unfolds and what this program turns into."
Kimsey echoed Redmond's beliefs, "Coach Mu is the best coach that has ever touched the CBA gym floor in my opinion. The energy that he puts into his players is new to us. We went through the worst season possible last year. We lost every game by margins of 40 points. We were getting embarassed by everyone that we played. For the 5 returning players, of the team's 9, it is very refreshing to have a coach who saw our 0-11 season and believed in us when we did not believe in ourselves. Seeing the energy and time that he puts into us shows us that he really does care and that is what we need most at the moment." Mills added, "I really like him as our coach. He cares for us like we are his kids. He checks up on us to make sure that we are doing ok and also takes us places for team bonding nights so that we can get closer."
Coach Mu summed the night up, "Securing the first win in program history is obviously a huge milsetone. But to me it is what I knew this team was capable of all along. Based off of what went on in our gym almost everyday in the month of October at 6am practices. More than anything I am excited for our guys getting the monkey off of their backs with this win. It shows then that when it comes down to it, this is about confidence, outworking your competition and effort. The old cliche that Rome was not built in a day is true. On the same note we now have to put this win behind us. This was not our Super Bowl. We still have 3/4 of our season in front of us and more goals to accomplish."
The Blazers finish the 2019 portion of the schedule at Lenoir City against their Freshmen November 25th, their next conference game at Tennessee Christian Prep December 5th, at home against Concord Christian JV December 10th and at home looking for revenge against Temple Baptist JV December 12th. Be sure to come see how well the boys are playing and cheer them on. Go Blazers!