At Nationals, the Immanuel Lutheran Lady Bobcats netted the National Consolation Championship and Tiana Henderson was named to the Girls’ National All-Tournament Team.
Thousands of players, coaches and spectators from coast to coast traveled to Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind., March 27-30, to compete in the 68th Annual National Lutheran Basketball Association of America Invitational Tournament. Among the 64 participating boys and girls teams from 12 states were the Lady Bobcats and Bobcats from Immanuel Lutheran School in Palatine. The Lady Bobcats went 5-1 at the tournament to claim the National Consolation Championship. Also, eighth-grader Tiana Henderson was named to the Girls’ National All-Tournament Team.
En route to their Consolation Championship finish, the Lady Bobcats defeated St. John, Plymouth, Wis., 22-18, before losing their only game of the tournament to eventual LBAA tournament Champion St. Michael, Ft. Myers, Fla., 36-25. They then added four more wins by defeating Christ Community, Kirkwood, Mo., 39-20, Holy Cross, Fort Wayne, Ind., 41-34, St. Peter, Jackson, Mo. 30-23, and St. Peter, Columbus, Ind. 45-34 to take the trophy. The Lady Bobcats finished their season with a record of 29-6 and are the three-time defending Illinois State Champions.
“This team struggled with consistency,” said Heather Glaser, head coach of the Immanuel girls’ team. “However, once they started to believe how strong they could be if they played as a team, they began to find more and more success. As coaches, we’re most proud of how the team handled their loss at Nationals, which also included a season-ending injury to a key player. The girls banded together, got tougher, and fought hard to finish strong. We’re going to miss this group of 8th graders because they battled through adversity, set a good example of Christian attitudes, and were generally fun to be around but we know by the character they displayed, especially late in the season, that there are far more successes for them in high school and beyond.”
The boys went 3-2 at the national tournament. In the opening round, the Bobcats defeated Zion, Mayer, Minn., by a score of 59-18, before losing in the second round to Faith, Las Vegas, Nev., 42-34. They regrouped in the consolation bracket by defeating Trinity-Lone Oak, Eagan, Minn., 49-31 and Salem, Tomball, Texas 41-27 before falling to Salem, Orange, Cal., 41-34. The boys’ finished their season with a record of 35-3 and were the 3rd place finisher at the Illinois State tournament.
"Even with our difficulties this season with absences and injury, we knew had a good chance of winning this year’s national tournament because our guys play so hard, but we just weren’t able to stop the basketball when we needed to,” said John Ulrich, head coach of the Immanuel boys’ team. “I’m proud of how much this team worked and how hard they played. They honorably represented their school, their team, and their God with their effort.”
The Bobcats will be beginning spring practices in April. All interested players should contact Immanuel Lutheran School.
Results, final brackets, National All-Tournament team selections, and other team individual awards can be viewed online at www.lbaa.org.
About Immanuel Lutheran School
Beginning as a simple, one-room schoolhouse in 1870, Immanuel Lutheran School has grown into an educational campus located at Plum Grove Road and Wood Street in the heart of downtown Palatine. Immanuel Lutheran School partners with parents to provide a disciplined, nurturing environment where children can flourish in their Christian learning and academic excellence. Immanuel is the only K-8 private school in Illinois to have twice been awarded the prestigious Excellence in Education Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education and is fully accredited.For more information, please contact Immanuel Lutheran School at 847-359-1936 or visit their website at www.ilcp.org.