Terra Ceia takes TIC Tournament Championship

Published 4:19 pm Sunday, February 16, 2014




Terra Ceia certainly took the road less traveled to get to the top. A team expected to win every time its players took to the court, the Knights entered the new year with an 8-5 record and a demeanor that didn’t reflect that of a championship squad. They sat in the shadows of powerhouse Pungo Christian, who was 12-1 heading into 2014, and Hobgood Academy, a veteran team with three players averaging double figures.

But on Saturday, the Knights would find themselves in the conference tournament championship game, and would not be denied. Terra Ceia defeated Hobgood, 70-61, and took the title.

“Like anything, there were disagreements, but we just had a common core that we said needed to stay together,” said Head Coach Roger Klaassen. “We needed to become a team and understand any one of them could do what we needed to get done. In this last month, they really started to grasp that and understand…and we finished.”

Since upsetting Pungo on Feb. 7 in the final regular season game, senior captain Kyle Hendrix, sophomore paint presence Chase Furlough and the rest of the Knights have been locked in, battling for all four quarters against Lawrence, routing rival Pungo in the semi-finals and eventually tipping the scales in their favor during the final quarter against Hobgood.

“It’s something we’ve been working hard at all season and to finally get here, mission complete,” said Hendrix. “It’s probably the best day of my life.”

The first half was a back-and-forth affair with Terra Ceia fighting to match the hot shooting of the Hobgood guards. Down 33-32 at the half, Klaassen would lean on his captain over the final 16 minutes to take the reins and make sound decisions at the point guard position. Hendrix capitalized on open three-pointers and worked the ball down low to Furlough and freshman Austin Roscoe for points in the paint.

Hobgood senior Eric Josey was forced to throw up half of a dozen desperation three-pointers with just minutes remaining. Hendrix could not be stopped. The Knights floor leader finished with a team-high 22 points, while Tyler Hendrix ended with 15 and Furlough with 12.

“They just understood at half time how to get it done and they executed,” said Klaassen. “They took advantage of opportunities and had some stops on defense, and that what we told them it was all about. With their execution and ability to finish over these last few games, they can’t be denied.”