CHURCHILL — Just about six weeks after their big win, the Manhattan Christian boys basketball team finally got to celebrate with its community.
Not one but two pieces of hardware were present to symbolize the Eagles' back to back Class C state championships.
Winning one championship is difficult, but to then run it back and do it again? It's dominant.
“You don’t know for sure, but we knew we had the group to do that," Manhattan Christian senior Tebarek Hill said. "We knew it would take a lot of work, but we knew if we wanted to get back to that situation that we’d have to just grind every single day.”
Most people see the wins; they see the repeat championships. But what they don’t see is the daily grind, and the adversity the best team in the state faced as the season progressed — and how it overcame it.
“We don’t welcome adversity, but we see it as a great opportunity to grow," coach Layne Glaus said. "And when we go through adversity, if we look at it the right way, then that’s where we come together as a group for one, but that’s where we grow the most as well.”
Dec. 17 — the day the team faced something they hadn’t in the past two years: a loss. The Eagles were handed that defeat on the road at West Yellowstone.
Suddenly the reigning champions had to reassess and get back on track.
“This is where we face adversity," Hill explained. "It’s up to us how we handle it, and that next practice was a really good practice. So we knew right there, what it takes. We did it last year, and we can do it again this year. We just got to put our head down and grind.”
The same sentiment was noted by Hill's teammate and fellow senior, Seth Amunrud.
They worked together as leaders in those following days to prove that this team does not settle, and their eyes were quickly back on the prize.
“Winning a state championship is super difficult and challenging, and we had to go to work each and every day, and just work through adversity as a team together to be able to do it," Amunrud said.
They never lost another game going forward.
“You know I’m proud of them, but at the same time, I’m more proud of the way they carried themselves throughout the year," Glaus said. "They kept their focus on the right thing and kept the main thing the main thing. And, you know, that’s stuff they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. We believe into eternity as well.”
One thing that never waivered, their humility in the midst of their dominance. The team became a family, something the seniors will miss more than anything else.
“The four years, it flies by really quick," Amunrud explained. "And so, just to enjoy every second that you get to spend with your team and your coaches and just to be able to spend that time together is something that you’ll never forget.”