Florida’s Kenny Boynton hit a 3-pointer from a few feet beyond the arc to put Florida up by three with 9:19 remaining in the second half. Coming down the court, he and teammate Bradley Beal celebrated as the Gators on the bench rose to their feet in excitement.On Syracuse’s ensuing possession, Brandon Triche nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to even the score. But the SU guard remained emotionless after hitting the big shot in an intense back-and-forth game.His stoic reaction has been common throughout his career at SU.‘I’ll get there and be hyped so he can get there like that because he can go into the moment and doze off in games, but he sees me there and I’m clapping,’ point guard Scoop Jardine said. ‘… I’m slapping on the floor, that’s gonna get him going and also does get him going.’Triche has been among Syracuse’s (8-0) most consistent performers so far this season, but the guard is still gaining confidence in his third year as a starter. He is second on the team in scoring with 12.1 points per game, leading the Orange to victories with his efficient play on offense. Triche and SU will take on Marshall (5-1) in the Carrier Dome at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn an impressive 72-68 victory over No. 12 Florida on Friday, Triche paced the team with 20 points. He scored 13 in the second half and went 9-of-9 from the free-throw line to help the Orange hold off the Gators late.He scored on a variety of drives and mid-range jumpers to go with that huge 3 to tie the game.‘The thing with Brandon is that he’s done that in the past, he’s come in last year, get nothing and then get 15 in the second half,’ SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. ‘I still don’t think he realizes how good he is. I just don’t think he realizes. I don’t think anybody can guard him, and I think he’s a tremendous player.’Triche displayed his all-around ability throughout the game Friday.He gave Syracuse its first lead of the game. Triche received the ball on the right wing, put his head down and dribbled a few feet to his left before knocking down the shot over the defender to put the Orange up 18-16 in the first half.Later, Triche banked a shot in from the left block in traffic after being knocked to the ground by Florida forward Will Yeguete. The Orange guard finished a three-point play with the free throw to put SU up 25-21 with 4:41 left in the half.Triche said he tries to stay aggressive and confident on the floor every game.‘I’m trying to get there,’ Triche said. ‘I have to make sure I believe that as well, but it starts every day just make sure you go out there and being comfortable and making sure everybody else knows that as well.’His confidence shined through when he hit that big 3 to end a Florida run and help SU take control of the game. In a poor shooting half by the Orange, Triche made the first of just two shots from beyond the arc for Syracuse.That 3-pointer took back the momentum for the Orange and set the stage for Jardine to take over the game in the final eight minutes.For Kris Joseph, Triche’s offensive production was crucial for his team to get the win. Even though the rest of the Orange struggled to knock down shots, Triche remained confident and kept shooting.That confidence hasn’t always been there for Triche, but it is something Jardine has noticed he has developed in the last two years.‘Brandon, he worked hard and that’s how he gained his confidence,’ Jardine said. ‘But the most important thing is I tell him all the time he’s the best player on our team because I know he needs to hear that.’firstname.lastname@example.org Published on December 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: email@example.com Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
In Syracuse’s season-opener, the Orange defeated Jacksonville 21-8 Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. behind five goals and six points from freshman Kayla Treanor. She tied the SU record for most goals in a freshman debut, set last year by sophomore Kailah Kempney.Junior Alyssa Murray scored three goals and dished out two assists for a five-point performance. Kempney, senior Becca Block, junior Katie Webster and sophomore Devon Collins scored two goals each.The Dolphins struck first Sunday with a goal by Brit Orashen two minutes into the game. But Syracuse responded with eight unanswered goals in the next 10 minutes to take control. Jacksonville battled back to make it a 10-5 game, but Treanor scored with four seconds left in the first half to take back momentum for SU.After the Orange took a 13-6 lead, JU fought back to cut the deficit to five again 10 minutes into the second half. But Syracuse dominated the final 20 minutes of the game with another 8-0 run – including a three-goal, 17-second stretch – to put the game away.SU junior Alyssa Costantino made four saves in the first half and sophomore Kelsey Richardson recorded four stops in the second half. Syracuse executed in the draw circle, winning 21-of-30 draw controls.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRanked No. 1 in the preseason by Inside Lacrosse, the Orange won its sixth consecutive season-opener. SU returns to Florida on Jan. 26 to play the U.S. National Team at the Champion Challenge. The Orange’s first home game will be Feb. 17 when it hosts Maryland, a Final Four team a year ago.Ice HockeySyracuse missed out on a chance to seize control of the College Hockey America conference, dropping to a pair of losses at No. 7 Mercyhurst at the Mercyhurst Ice Center in Erie, Pa. Friday and Saturday.The Orange (10-10-1, 4-3-1 CHA) was shut out for the first time since January 2, 2012 in the first game Friday before falling 4-1 Saturday.On Friday afternoon SU was saddled by its failure to punish Mercyhurst on the power play. The Orange went 0-for-5 and crucially forgave MU at the 13:18 mark in the third period, down 1-0 with a power play opportunity.The Orange stayed even with the hosts through two periods until Christie Cicero put the Lakers ahead for good 3:08 into the third period. SU went on to outshoot Mercyhurst 9-5 in the final period but never got the equalizer, even skating six-on-five nearly all of the last minute of play.SU goalkeeper Kallie Billadeau equaled MU’s Amanda Makela with 24 saves.Saturday afternoon belonged to Mercyhurst. The Lakers outshot the Orange 12-6 in the opening frame with Emily Janiga giving the hosts the edge 12:17 into the game on a power play for a hooking call on SU captain Jacquie Greco at 11:57.Again, the Orange failed to punish its hosts enough on the power play. Mercyhurst committed 12 penalties to SU’s six. By the time the Orange finally capitalized on Greco’s five-on-three tally 17:19 into the second period, Janiga had already scored twice more.SU went into the third period trailing 3-1but was outshot 14-8 in the final frame and conceded a fourth goal just 2:29 in.Billadeau finished with 34 saves. The losses drop SU to fourth in the CHA while Mercyhurst’s four points from the weekend boosted the Lakers to 16 points in the conference – four ahead of Robert Morris and seven clear of the Orange.Syracuse visits No. 4 Cornell Tuesday at 7 p.m.Track and fieldLast Friday the Syracuse track and field team traveled to the Armory in New York City to compete in the Gotham Cup. The event that annually kicks of the spring season hosted 45 college teams located throughout the Northeast and East Coast regions.After the men finished 56th in last year’s NCAA Championship, Syracuse looked to use the Gotham Cup as a starting point for 2013. Upperclassmen runners led the way as five athletes finished in the top five of five different events.Senior Lauren Penney was at the forefront of the Orange’s success, edging out second-place finisher Nicole Traynor from the NY-NJ Track Club (4:47.57) with a time of 4:46.03 in the women’s mile.Freshman Shania Harrison and junior Jaquan Holland provided a pair of second-place finishes intheir respective 60-meter dashes. In the women’s race Harrison (7.42) finished behind formerSyracuse runner Flings Owusu-Agyapong (7.32). In the men’s race Holland (6.87) finished just .08 seconds behind Jeremy Bascom from the Central Park Track Club (6.75).In the men’s mile, senior Tito Medrano finished in second place with a time of 4:15.59.Saint Joseph’s runner Paul Szulewski (4:14.36) took home first place.Another bright spot for the Orange was senior Will Watson, who finished in fifth place in the men’s long jump. The best jump of the day for Watson came at 6.87 meters.Senior Amadou Gueye finished fifth in the men’s 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.01. Threespots behind Gueye was Syracuse sprinter Donald Pollitt (8.05).This Saturday, Syracuse will travel to Ithaca, N.Y. to compete in the Upstate Challenge. Last year, both the men’s and women’s teams finished third behind Cornell and Buffalo.TennisSyracuse (0-2, 0-1) came up short in its first spring match of 2013.The No. 72 Orange lost 6-1 to No. 43 South Florida Saturday in Tampa, Fla. at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.No. 2 singles junior Maddie Kobelt gave SU its only victory when she defeated No. 75 Loreto Alonso Martinez 6-1, 6-2. The win was Kobelt’s first against a ranked opponent in her SU career.Sophomore Jimena Wu came up short in her No. 4 singles match against Paula Montoya, 6-1, 5-7, 11-4.Looking to earn her first collegiate victory, freshman Sophia Dzulynsky narrowly lost to Alessandra Bonte, 6-7, 6-4, 15-13 in No. 6 singles.The Orange returns to action during the weekend when SU faces Georgia Tech on Jan. 17 and Georgia State on Jan. 19, both in Atlanta. Comments Published on January 14, 2013 at 12:29 am Related Stories Darkangelo’s hat trick helps send Syracuse to 6-0 win over Colgate Facebook Twitter Google+
Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm Contact Chris: firstname.lastname@example.org | @ChrisLibonati A pass came to the right circle on the ice in the first period, Stephanie Grossi held the puck on her stick and snapped a quick wrist shot, lifting the puck. The puck landed right in Clarkson goalie Shea Tiley’s midsection, ending Syracuse’s scoring chance.The rest of the game went much the same way as Clarkson (5-3-0) stifled SU’s offense. The Golden Knights beat SU (1-2-4) for the second straight day, 4-1. SU’s only goal came off the stick of Larissa Martyniuk, a defender. The Orange’s forwards struggled to threaten Tiley all game and SU’s defense produced the Orange’s quality opportunities.Near the net, Clarkson players battened down the hatches, making it tough for the Orange to get anything down low. Clarkson’s defense played tight to the net limiting puck movement and forcing difficult shots for SU. Grossi and other forwards were reduced to taking shots early in possessions, shortening SU’s scoring chances.“We talked about (getting better shots) on the bench. Just get your eyes up, take a look. People on the backside need to be talking,” said head coach Paul Flanagan.While some players took shots too early in possessions, others were caught in one-on-one situations, having a shot and trying to work the puck closer to the net. Flanagan was hesitant to talk to his players too much about keeping the puck, he said, fearing players wouldn’t take a shot when they had one.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith Clarkson’s defense packed in, SU was limited moving the puck. In set possessions, Clarkson’s defense prevented forwards from making passes to each other, forcing passes to the point.“(Clarkson) were pretty hard on us down low which means it was opening up the points and we were just calling for it,” Martyniuk said. Martyniuk made the best of her only opportunity. She slammed home an Alysha Burris pass from between the circles, the shot finding its way under Tiley’s pads. Other SU players weren’t so fortunate.Kailie Goodnough, a defender, supplied SU’s offensive chances from the point. In the first period, Goodnough fired a shot from the point, but forward Melissa Piacentini couldn’t tip the shot past Tiley.In a third period possession for the Orange, Goodnough took a shot from the point to begin the possession, but Tiley deflected the shot wide to the right corner. Grossi came away with the puck and fed Goodnough again, who moved between the circles and fired a slap shot. Again the tipped shot couldn’t find the net as Tiley stopped it.The shots from the point were the Orange’s best opportunities, but none found the back of the net. Tiley saved a few and others were just tipped wide. The Orange had another 12 shots blocked by Clarkson before they even reached the net.“We just have to find a way to bury it,” said Goodnough.Flanagan credited Clarkson’s defensive effort, but thought the Orange could have worked for better shots.“That’s a classic road game. Just bend a little bit and don’t break. We didn’t really get very many great, grade-A chances,” said Flanagan. “We had some shots, I don’t think enough threatening shots. They kept it to the perimeter.” Comments
Students attending the USC vs. UCLA basketball game Sunday afternoon at the Galen Center wearing all gold to support the team. To sit in the lower bowl of the student section, students were required to wear yellow shirts. USC Spirit Leaders and members of Trojan Pride led the student section in cheers, although Trojans lost to UCLA, 75-69.Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan
The 2016 season for the University of Wisconsin softball team started off with a bang, with the Badgers taking down opponents such as the No. 39 California and No. 19 South Florida in February.It was only the first month of the season, but the Badgers were already oozing with confidence.At that point, after a disappointing 21-31 campaign in 2015, it was clear the Badgers were taking names, big and small, across the country and showed no signs of stopping. They were in store for a bounce-back season.Even though most of their games consisted of tournament play for the first few weeks, the Badgers continued carrying the momentum they had begun to build when they started playing a more traditional schedule.Their biggest tests, however, wouldn’t come for a while — they would finally see how they matched up against the Big Ten Conference. The Badgers would play 26 games before they saw another Big Ten team in action.Their first Big Ten team was Michigan State University, who the Badgers defeated 2-1 in the series. Momentum continued for the team, and they started to find themselves in the position to take on highly-ranked teams within their own conference.This was all in head coach Yvette Healy’s mind when she started the season.“Every year we talk about ‘How can you have a good Big Ten season?’” Healy said. “You try to say ‘try to get a win against everybody’ and when you’re really good you try to sweep a couple of teams.”Healy got her wish — Wisconsin has acquired wins from every Big Ten team they have met this season.Perhaps one of their biggest wins came when Wisconsin stumped Minnesota at home. Minnesota, which is currently ranked No. 21 nationally, is a tough opponent to beat.With wins against Minnesota and University of Illinois, it is clear this underdog team is capable of taking on anyone. While their national ranking of No. 69 might not show their true potential, it is clear this is a team on the rise in the Big Ten.“It doesn’t matter what team we face, we can take on anybody,” sophomore infielder Sam Arnets said. “No matter their numbers, no matter how good of pitching they have, we can take them on.”Arnets believes inexperience was one of the major downfalls of last year’s struggling team, which was comprised mostly of underclassmen.Softball: Freshman standout continues to make strides in debut seasonThe University of Wisconsin softball team won 21 games last season and at the time, Melanie Cross was playing softball Read…“Coach Healy talks about experience and being there,” Arnets said. “I think that last year was really hard because we were a really young team and we didn’t have that [Big Ten] experience. We struggled early on.”Above all, perhaps the most impressive milestone the Badgers reached this season was a win against Northwestern in their final home series of the season, which gave UW 10 Big Ten wins on the season.Healy believes for a team like this, one of the more telling marks of achievement in a season is reaching double-digit wins in a conference like the Big Ten.“Trying to get to 10 Big Ten wins is a big benchmark, so any season that you can put up double digit wins in the Big Ten you’re a quality program,” Healy said. “In the scope of the 20 years of the program, it doesn’t happen that often, so I think that it’s a special day.”Softball: Badgers take one of three against Northwestern in final outing at GoodmanThe University of Wisconsin women’s softball team had a fairly momentous weekend, taking on the Northwestern Wildcats in their last Read…The Badgers aren’t looking to settle at 10 wins, with one final series before the Big Ten Tournament against Nebraska where they can build on an already-successful season.
FSB selects Glenn Elliott as new COO August 12, 2020 Share Related Articles Submit Share Alex Gersh returns to betting as Sportradar CFO July 13, 2020 GVC hires ‘comms pro’ Tessa Curtis to re-energise media profile August 25, 2020 Kelly Kehn, Co-Founder of All-in Diversity ProjectWith the aim of benchmarking diversity, equality and inclusion for the global betting and gaming sector, the All-in Diversity Project has been established as an industry-driven not-for-profit organisation. In the opening year of the initiative, one of its key priorities is to establish the All-Index, which utilises solid business principles and provides a global standard index for measuring diversity within the industry. Outlining why the initiative is so crucial to the progression of the industry, its Co-founder, Kelly Kehn emphasised the importance of “creating a level of transparency and measurability around the makeup of our workforce, as well as creating an inclusive culture, with corresponding policies for the industry as a whole.”She continued: “We should be using data for all initiatives and this is no different. If companies want to invest in diversity initiatives, there should be proper benchmarks in place – this is exactly the reason All-in Diversity Project exists. “We sit as the industry’s first and only organisation who is working to help the industry as a collective in terms of D&I. Historically betting and gambling has been viewed as very ‘male and pale’. We are also famous for passing the same CVs around for every job because there is this notion that we need to have “gambling experience” but this just perpetuates the problem. Having a diverse workforce from different backgrounds means we can start to improve a lot of our issues we have an industry whole.” Off the back of a year that saw females in the industry flourish, the timing could hardly be better for an initiative of this kind: “Timing is everything, last year was such a positive year for women in our industry and I think we were just in the right place at the right time.“2017 was the first ICE expo that hosted a Diversity seminar. Odgers Berndtson (C level recruiter for Sports and Gaming) launched their Diversity Manifesto. Paddy Power Betfair launched their #Fairgame initiative. Things will likely be stirred up again in a few months in the UK when Gender Pay Gap reports will be published for our industry’s biggest players. I think things globally have been amplified by Hollywood, but overall I think the industry realises we just need to do better. It’s the right time to build a corporate culture that attracts the next generation of talent, that can build the best products and then market them to the widest audience.”Kehn reflected on previous attempts to increase diversity in the workplace: “Initiatives like the All-in Diversity Project are not new, there have been a few attempts to start a discussion about the gender imbalance in gaming for some years but with the exception of the women in gaming awards most sit on the periphery, many conference organisers seeing the subject as too marginal to give it any real headline billing. Just about every industry globally has research and data sets that create a level of transparency and measurability around diversity, inclusion and workplace equality.”In spite of this however, the All-in Diversity project is the first to provide a solid benchmarking tool for the industry before appealing to any one business to invest. It’s something that has clearly resonated with the industry as Paddy Power Betfair has already committed to partnering with the initiative. It’s a partnership that Kehn hopes will lead to other big names from the industry joining the following suit: “We’ve got some big players on board already and you can expect to hear some big announcements in the coming weeks from us. All-in Diversity Project is meant to be an industry-led initiative. We are building the global industry’s tool for benchmarking diversity and inclusion and a data set to improve our businesses. The industry should support that financially and with participation in the survey.”“Paddy Power Betfair has always been a leader in social responsibility we are grateful they have been one of the first to lead out on this with us. That being said, we are taking a pretty realistic approach to growth. Looking at other indexes of this nature, they are almost always started by the top 20% of businesses and grow organically. Creating a level of transparency and measurability has a way of building healthy competition amongst an industry and we hope that the All-Index is no different.”Having been formed last April, 2018 will be the initiative’s first full year in business, a prospect that excites Kehn as she looks forward: “We’ve almost completed our first round of fundraising and hope to focus on data gathering in 2018. We opened registration for the ALL-Index in November last year so we’ll spend the first few months gathering survey data from registered participants. We plan to present interim high level interim data at ICE this year. “Overall, we are working hard to bring the conversation of Diversity & Inclusion to the forefront. This includes doing the usual conference circuit, contributing at some new events and hosting our own events throughout the year. We have brought on a number of strategic partners that will help us amplify the conversation. Expect to see an exciting campaign from All-in Diversity Project around creating a more inclusive industry.” StumbleUpon
NBA legend, Kobe Bryant, was known as a premier scorer in his prime.However, Kobe was one of the most versatile players in NBA history and his game included more than just putting the ball through the hoop.His highlight reel is filled with the former LA Lakers star dropping dimes to his mates over the years, including Lamar Odoom, Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol, for emphatic dunks.A few of the best saw Kobe pass the ball off the backboard to himself.Bryant, in fact, is the NBA’s all-time leader in assists for Shooting Guards with 6,306.ESPN’s Sports Center Twitter posted a video of some of his best dunks and it’s a real treat.Check it out below: The helicopter crash scene18-time All-Star Kobe spent 20 years at the LA Lakers winning five championships.Until his death Kobe was the third-highest scorer in NBA history, a position he relinquished to Lebron James.Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020His final tweet was a congratulatory one to James, urging him to keep moving the game forwardKobe, known fondly as the Black Mamba, retired in 2016.He is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and three children, the last of whom was born in June.In 2018, Kobe won an Oscar for his short film, “Dear Basketball,”; it won the prize for best animated short. Some of Kobe Bryant’s best passes 👀 pic.twitter.com/kpki3fKJHy— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 17, 2020The world is still recovering from the loss of 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers star who died when his private chopper dropped from the sky.His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna was also in the helicopter.According to The Los Angeles Times. the crash occurred around 10:00am local time “amid foggy conditions in the hills overlooking Calabasas, with the chopper sparking a bush fire on impact that hampered initial rescue efforts.”Bryant was one of nine people in the helicopter at the time.No survivors were discovered.
Russell Westbrook … Oscar Robertson … Michael Jordan … Elfrid Payton.Elfrid Payton? “Honestly, personally, it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Payton, 25, said when asked about joining the elite list. “I’m just trying to hoop, play at a high level. I’m just glad we got the win.”Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was more effusive. That’s right, the Pelicans guard on Monday joined a who’s who of NBA all-timers when he recorded a triple-double in his fifth consecutive game, putting his name alongside Westbrook, Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain and Jordan.19 PTS | 10 REB | 11 AST@elfrid joins Russell Westbrook (4x), Oscar Robertson (3x), Wilt Chamberlain (2x) & Michael Jordan as the only players in @NBAHistory to record 5 straight triple-doubles! #DoItBig pic.twitter.com/…— NBA (@NBA) March 19, 2019The 6-foot-3 Payton had 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds Monday in New Orleans’ 129-125 overtime win at Dallas. Despite Payton’s recent productivity, the victory ended a six-game Pelicans losing streak. Related News Dirk Nowitzki moves to 6th on NBA all-time scoring list, passes Wilt Chamberlain “He’s been playing that way for us. … The rebounding part to me has been the thing that’s been the biggest surprise. To be a point guard and be able to come up with double-digit rebounds night after night after night, that is really tough to do,” Gentry said. “Any time they mention you in the same breath as Westbrook, you have to feel really good about it. If they mention you in the same breath as Oscar Robertson, that’s a whole ‘nother area.”That 5th straight triple-double mood. 👀 pic.twitter.com/SO5aW9k5sO— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 19, 2019Payton is averaging 15.6 points, 12.8 assists and 12.0 rebounds during his streak, compared to 10.5 points, 7.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds for the season.Monday was a night for milestones in Dallas, as Dirk Nowitzki, 40, passed the legendary Chamberlain to move into sixth on the NBA career scoring list. Nowitzki accomplished the feat when he netted his 31,420th career point.
Carl StilesCarl Leon Stiles, 80 of Corbin died Sunday, April 17, 2016 at his residence.Graveside services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m., Friday, April 22, 2016 at the Corzine Cemetery in Corbin.Carl was born October 9, 1935 in Rural Chautauqua County, Kansas to Elmer Stiles and Viola M. (Gore) Stiles. He graduated from Caldwell High School in 1953. Carl served in United States Army for 21 months. On September 1, 1956 he married Delece Smith. She preceded him in death in 1999. Carl worked for the grain elevator in Corbin for 27 years and owned and operated Stiles Liquor for 21 years retiring in 2008.He is survived by his children, Ron Stiles and wife, Irmina of Virginia Beach, VA, Debbie Haas and husband, Bill of Valley Center, Janice Cink and husband, Kevin of Roby, TX, Carla Ford and husband, Earl , Sandy Brownlee and husband, Kim all of Wellington; companion, Alice Anderson-Stiles of Corbin; grandchildren, Craig Stiles, Neil Stiles, Ryan Stiles, Aimee Wood, Steven Clark, Mike Clark, Amanda Cink, Dale Cink, Eric Ford and Elizabeth Brownlee.Carl was preceded in death by his parents; wife; brothers, Robert Dean Stiles and Lee Wonser; sister, Viola Grace Knight.A memorial has been established with the Bryce Day Memorial Foundation. Contributions may be made through the funeral home.Cornejo Day Funeral Home of Wellington is in charge of the arrangements. On line condolences may be made at www.cornejodayfuneralhome.com
THE IMANI CHRISTIAN ACADEMY SAINTS WITH SPECIAL GUEST BASKETBALL LEGEND AND FORMER DUQUESNE UNIVERSITYALL-AMERICAN B.B. FLENORY. I think it was Biggie Smalls who said, “If you don’t know … you don’t know” and somebody else famous added, “If you don’t know, you better ask somebody.” (Don’t laugh; you’re lucky I knew who Biggie was.) Anyway, I am here to help you have a better understanding about both. If I ask you who has the best basketball team in Pittsburgh, you would probably say Pitt, ranked #4 in the nation. Or you might say Duquesne, who had their best season in 30 years. Maybe you’re thinking Gateway, Allderdice, Schenley, Peabody, Char-Valley…who? You would be wrong on all counts. Thus, “You don’t know what you don’t know!” The best team in town is “The Saints” of Imani Christian Academy. (Okay, they may not be better than Pitt or Duquesne but I bet you this, when it’s game time, they will show up and play and play well!)So to further your lack of knowledge, Imani means “Faith” in Swahili and represents a faith inspired break in the cycle of poverty, broken homes, drug addiction and violence for the children of Pittsburgh’s urban core.Under the spiritual covenant of Petra Ministries and leadership of Bishop Donald Clay and the superior vision of Elder Milton Raiford, Connie and Jim Balthrop, the school has become a national role model for its process and success.Since 1993, ICA has accepted the most neglected and rejected in society and showed them a different vision, a vision that we all should be awakened to. How about this for starters…Did you know that in Pittsburgh less than 50 percent of African-American males finish high school and less than 19 percent go onto post-secondary education. ICA has a 90 percent plus graduation rate and over 60 percent go on to college. Again, what you don’t know…you don’t know.It has been said that “Faith is a gift” and the ultimate level of faith was delivered in the form of a gift that would prove to be just heavenly. Several years ago as a part of Petra’s ever-growing concept to enhance and improve the quality and condition of the area and community surrounding the church, the possibility of purchasing and redeveloping the vacant East Hills Elementary School became a reality.Now in their second year of operation, with student enrollment of 205 plus for K-12 and a faculty of 25 and growing, ICA is steamrolling into the Pittsburgh educational future with an operating budget of $1.8 million and growing and the true blessing of it all is that 97 percent of the students are African-American, 98 percent receive scholarship support and nearly 60 percent go onto college. Furthermore, nearly 90 percent come from single parent families.To no one’s surprise, the development and success of the school is due in part to the leadership and guidance of Dr. Marilyn Barnett, a highly successful, well respected educator of the highest degree and, of course, her talented and caring faculty and staff (which as a matter of fact has a student/teacher ratio of 9 to 1) working side by side with her.Heading up the athletic department is Elder Enos Scott, school administrator and superintendent of athletics. Deacon Harvey Smith, athletic director, who brings “Big Time” athletic, competitive coaching and leadership skills; Minister Kevin Miller, assistant headmaster; and big brother Coach Jimmy Brunett make up a powerful family team that is hard to beat on any level. ICA also has an outstanding and exciting girls basketball program that is coached by Rema Hard and is also upward bound in a competitive program.Okay, okay, I know you’re waiting for me to get back to the basketball part of this story, but to be honest with you, if I didn’t get this in the story, Elder Raiford, aka “Milt” would get Elder Tim Walker, Officer Kevin Head and Roland Slade and take me behind the church and wear me out! (And yes, he would need them!)Why would I suggest to you that “The Spirit” are the best team in town? You may not want to take my word on it. Just talk to Oak Hill Academy who had their hands full. More importantly, talk to anyone of the teams in the SWCAC (South Western Christian Athletic Conference) that they beat on average by 25 or more points … and I mean a beat down of biblical proportions. (Sorry, I don’t know if I can say that or not. I gotta be careful here. My arms are too short to box with God.)Athletic achievement always begins with leadership, guidance, and quality coaching and this team is no different under the firm, but free style method of coaching of Head Coach Khayree Wilson and assistants LaRoi Johnson aka “Franchise,” a former standout City League football and basketball player, as well as Connie Hawkins Summer Basketball League All-Star (now playing professional arena football in Utah); Robert Hart; and Marcus Robinson, a former great high school and college player and one of “the elite high flyers” from the Hawkins League.To a man, the players will all tell you pretty much the same thing. They play for Coach Khayree because he cares about them and puts their individual success ahead of their basketball objectives. To the players, ICA is about family, people who care about their personal well-being and educational success and give them the individual attention sometimes lacking in other schools.Coach Khayree, a strong man of mind, body and spirit, (small in size… mighty otherwise!) as well as a dedicated family man, made it very clear to every player coming in, “This is about family. It’s about graduating and it’s about going to the next level, no matter what it takes.”The evidence speaks to that. Past grads include Danny Wright, a Div. I star player at South Carolina and Andrew Smith who played at Div. II Mercyhurst University and played pro ball in Europe.This year’s class presents the same opportunities. Tom “T.J.” Jackson, point guard and team captain who averaged 20 pts., 10 rebounds and 8 assists a game, has several Div. I offers and is in my opinion the best guard in Western Pa. His co-captain “Big Zo” Alonzo Murphy stands 6″8″ and weighs in at around 250 lbs. of solid basketball force and dunks. Trust me when I tell you very soon you will hear “big” things from him as he moves onto a Div. I school as well.“T.J.” and “Zo,” as well as the other players, talk about how much they love being at ICA, that they would not want to be anywhere else. Some have left city and WPIAL schools and have not regretted their decision to relocate. They speak well of their past schools and maintain their social ties but, for most of them, ICA offered a new and different start, a new beginning both on and off the court and most especially, in the classroom.With a 22-8 overall record, 11-0 league record and some of the area’s best players, Imani wrapped-up the season in the top level of local basketball and more importantly, are now primed after a stellar fifteen year history to move into the WPIAL for the 2012 season.For all that you now know that you didn’t know at the start of this story, know this! Imani “Spirit” basketball, Imami Christian Academy coaches, staff, administration, Petra ministries, the entire operation is about God, the enhancement of our most precious gift…our children, family and community. Their ideal is that our society must address the problems of the inner city and the disadvantages that exist within and they are poised to make the difference now and into the future.“To know Imani, is to have your heart changed.” Fred Fetteroff, board chairman.Now you know what you don”t know!!(To join Imani’s circle of faith giving program which offers additional ways to fund and support their programs and tax credits for business and corporate gift matching, please call (412) 731-7982 for more information.)