CHURCHILL — Three days before they take the court in the 11C district tournament, Manhattan Christian may be in the best position possible. The Eagles have already topped every possible opponent they will face this weekend.
“The past seasons have helped us get where we are this season. I’ve told other people this, that this year just feels a little different than every other year,” senior Caleb Bellach said.
“It can be motivation,” teammate and senior Sam Leep said about the undefeated record, “because it makes you want to play harder and play focused.”
Not only is the team undefeated, head coach Jeff Bellach says that the Eagles have won 34 consecutive district games, all by double digits. With an offensive output like that, they’re definitely a squad teams want to beat.
So who is their biggest competition in District 11C?
“Probably Gardiner, because of how they play,” Leep said. “They’re quite a bit deeper than the rest of the teams and they usually play us pretty tough.”
“To be honest, they’re happy for us and our success every year and we’re happy for them, so you don’t see that a lot for teams you play,” Jeff followed.
The Eagles have earned three different district titles in the past four years, and while all the hardware definitely defines success for the team, Leep said it is more about having fun.
“I think we’re just more pushing each other really hard and we just (have) really good chemistry, so it feels like we’re going to have a really good year,” Leep said.
But beyond the district tournament, the Eagles have a little chip on their shoulder. Every time they walk in the gym, a banner hangs over the basket that reads ‘State Runner-Up’ two years in a row. A great feat but it’s clear the team is hungry for more.
“(It’s) a little haunting, I mean were 1-7, so its not a very good percentage,” Caleb said.
“It’s nice to know we’ve been able to get to that game but also wanting to win it really bad, so hopefully this year we can get it done,” Leep finished.
So where are the Eagles heads right now?
“We’re taking it one game at a time, as we should, but we all know what the end goal is, and that’s to win another state championship,” Bellach concluded.