DONNA – The Macedonian Christian Academy has become one of the Valley’s basketball success stories this season. The Lions have an overall record of 24-6 and their most important win came last week as they beat Spring Founders Christian to clinch the program’s first trip to the TAPPS 1A state tournament.
“It’s a dream we’ve been dreaming all our lives,” said senior guard Caleb Carithers. “Every time we think about a season, our goal is to get to the final four and win a state championship. So to be in this potion means the world to us.”
“It’s a big deal,” said senior guard Preston Curling. “I’ve been here all my life. My dad is the principal. All my life I’ve dreamed of making it to the final four and making it to state.”
In 20 years, the team has had only one head coach: Santiago Curling.
After two decades of work, seeing these athletes reach the final four has been rewarding for Curling. Not just as the coach, but also as the school’s principal.
"I think having seven seniors helps,” said Curling. “Some of these kids I’ve taught them since 4th grade. I’ve taught them how to dribble, how to hold the ball, and how to do footwork. I think the key for us this year is what we never fall apart.”
The Lions have not shied away from tougher competition. Early in the season, they took on teams from bigger schools at tournaments like the C.E. Vail Classic in La Feria.
The team will have to lean on that experience Thursday when they take on San Antonio Legacy Christian, a team that’s 35-2 overall.
“We’ll be the underdogs for sure,” said Curling. “If we beat them and also win the championship game, we would be the outsiders coming from the Valley. I don’t think people tend to think the Valley can compete at that level.”
The dream to get to state has become a reality. The Lions now hope their dream of becoming state champs can also come true.
Thursday’s game against Legacy Christian will be held at Waco’s Robinson High School. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 pm.