Varsity Boys’ Basketball
The Varsity Boys’ Basketball team finished in second place for the 2014-2015 season with a winning record of 17-12. The team lost a hard-fought game to Gloucester County Christian School in the Tri-State Christian Athletic Conference championship game on February 21. Prior to this year, ACS had won the last eight TSCAC championships. Drew Carney served in his fourth year as head coach, with Dan Carney and Mike Heath serving as assistant coaches. The team’s schedule included matches against a number of competitive public school teams in the region. Three outstanding ACS players were named TSCAC All-Stars — Jon Hevalow, Robinson Normil, and Zach Johnson.
The Cougars were once again invited to play in the national Christian School Athletic Association Tournament in Erie, Pennsylvania in March. ACS placed third in Division 3 and Hevalow was chosen for the All Tournament Team, averaging 17 points a game.
Varsity Girls’ Basketball
The Varsity Girls’ Basketball team beat The Christian Academy 40-30 on February 21 to become the Tri-State Christian Athletic Conference champions. This marked the fourth TSCAC championship for the Lady Cougars in the last nine years. Sophomore point guard #10 Dakota Hitchner, who averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 steals per game, was named the conference MVP. Two other ACS players were named TSCAC All-Stars — senior forward #35 Ola Oguntuase and sophomore guard #21 Shannon Murphy. The Lady Cougars, under head coach Pam Hitchner, also finished in first place in the regular season with a 13-1 record, and had a 26-8 record overall, including a 7-2 record against schools in the Cape Atlantic League. Alumni Maryah Coleman (’11) and Kim Thomas (’09) served as assistant coaches.
The Lady Cougars also competed in post-season play at the National Christian School Athletic Association Tournament in Erie, Pennsylvania and placed second in Division 1 out of 28 teams. Three ACS players were named to the All Tournament Girls’ Team — Hitchner, Oguntuase, and junior shooting guard Candace Winkel.
Senior Ola Oguntuase, a captain and stand-out player for the Lady Cougars, made her mark in the ACS record books by scoring 1,133 points over her four years on the varsity team, and pulling down 1,104 rebounds. She was also named an NCSAA third team All-American in its large school division. Oguntuase will attend NCAA Division II Philadelphia University in the fall of 2015 on a partial athletic scholarship and will be a pre-med major. DJ Hitchner also achieved a milestone during the season, scoring her 1,000th career point in a non-league game against Egg Harbor Township High School. The Lady Cougars went on to beat EHT by a score of 60-34, with Hitchner scoring 25 points.
Head Coach Hitchner received special recognition in May 2015 for her outstanding skills as a coach, Christian role model, and mentor. She was named “National Coach of the Year” by the National Christian School Athletic Association. Since becoming head of the Varsity Girls’ Team in 2006, Hitchner has led the Lady Cougars to 220 wins and 64 losses, four TSCAC championships, and three first place and one second place finish in the NCSAA national tournaments. Over the past nine years, 13 out of her 25 graduating players have gone on to play college-level basketball, many others are involved in adult leagues, and five have chosen to pursue a career as a PE teacher.
The Lady Cougars have been ranked one of the top Christian high school teams in the nation for the past several years. At the end of the 2014-2015 season, ACS was ranked 5th in the northeast region and 8th in the nation among the 221 Christian schools who are members of the NCSAA.
Middle School Basketball
The Middle School Boys’ and Girls’ teams competed in the Atlantic Cape Junior High League. The Middle School Boys’ team made great strides this season, improving to a 4-8 record and placing 4th in the league’s Division 3, with a focus on fundamentals and player development. The team was led by Dan Noble, in his first year as head coach, with strong contributions from the five 8th grade boys — Spencer Breunig, Elijah Chapman, Solomon Griffith, Ryan Lomangino, and Tyler Smith.
The Middle School Girls’ Basketball team for the second consecutive year placed second in the Atlantic Cape Junior High League, with an overall record of 10-3 including non-league games. 8th graders Rebekah Darragh and Caroline Winkel served as co-captains. Darragh, Winkel, and 8th grader Lindsey Ash were the team’s top scorers, and Winkel and 8th grader Emily Loeb led the team in rebounds. 7th grader Lauren Harmon was strong and aggressive on defense. Alumnus Karissa Evans Costello (’07) served in her first year as head coach, moving up from assistant coach last season.