On December 11th, the Casady Cyclones Men’s Basketball team walked away from the Jim Elliot Crusader Tournament with a 5th-place finish. Zac Dunn averaged 25.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in the tournament hosted by the CHA Crusaders.
Antsy, nervous, and excited, the Casady Cyclones boarded the bus heading towards their first game of the Jim Elliot Crusader tournament in Del City on Thursday, December 9th. Their opponent: the tournament’s host, the Christian Heritage Academy Crusaders. With nearly an hour until a 2:30 tip-off, the Cyclones arrived in their locker room. After a pre-game talk from Head Coach Art Bogan, the Cyclones took the floor.
It was a hard-fought game from the start with multiple lead changes in the first quarter. After two-quarters, the Cyclones headed back into the locker room only down six. The Cyclones wouldn’t quit fighting. Steph Okenge (‘22) and Zac Dunn (‘23) logged 21 and 24 points, respectively. However, the Crusaders managed to pull away and finished the game 64-50. The tournament’s opening game still had some bright spots. Salem Kalidy (‘24) said his first start at Casady, “felt good and really boosted my confidence.” In his 17 minutes, he felt he had “good defense, but I could’ve shot a lot better.” The Cyclones still had two games left to go in the weekend and were committed to taking the game, “as a learning experience,” according to Kalidy.
The Cyclones next matchup happened to be a rematch against the team’s season opener: the OKC Knights. Due to the loss the previous day, the Cyclones entered their rematch with the Knights, “with a hungry mindset” according to Zac Dunn. And ready they were. The Cyclones took an early lead and never looked back. Dunn scored the team’s first 13 points and 21 total points in the first quarter. He then finished with 33 points in only three quarters. “I prepared and felt the same before this game like I normally do, but obviously I caught fire in that first quarter. It all comes from preparation. I get up tons of shots throughout the week, and it was fun to see hard work pay off in a game like that”, said Dunn. While the whole team performed well according to Zac, no one was having more fun out on the court than Zac was. “I was smiling because as a player you have to enjoy games like those. It was fun to be in a rhythm.”
With their win against the Knights, the Cyclones found themselves in a Saturday matchup with Harding Fine Arts in the consolation championship. The Cyclones quickly found themselves down early in the first quarter. The Cyclones have proven all season that they will never quit fighting. A late first quarter push that lasted well into the second quarter gave Casady a nine-point lead going into halftime. This lead lasted the rest of the game and was capped off by a Davis Currie (‘25) three-pointer to give the Cyclones a 15-point lead. “I just stepped into it with confidence and it went in since it was a great shot,” said Currie. After this shot, everyone in the gym knew thegame was over. Davis, who finished the game with 7 points and 3 rebounds, chalked up the win to “solid defense and forcing turnovers to push the ball up the floor to get easy layups.”