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National Homeschool Basketball Tournament Begins in Ozarks

The National Christian Homeschool Basketball Championship started Monday in Springfield. The week-long tournament is expected to bring in nearly ten thousand people and over three million dollars to local businesses. KSMU’s Brandon Goodwin reports.

[Sound: A basketball team, dribbling and shooting]

A dozen or so teenagers in white and purple uniforms practice jump shots and lay-ups at the Baptist Bible College gymnasium.

They’re the Junior Varsity Warriors from Houston, Texas. They’re one almost 350 teams from 30 states competing in the week-long National Christian Homeschool Basketball Championship here in Springfield.

Joshua Decker, wears number thirty-two. He sports a pair of black Nikes. Bible verses are written with marker in the swooshes.

“I love this tournament, it’s my favorite part of the year,” he said.

He watches as his opponents from Tulsa, Oklahoma warm up on the other side of the court.

“It’s going to be a tough game, because they’re looking pretty good. So, we just need to come out and play our hardest,” he said.

Coach Byron Williamson calls the Warriors in for a huddle.

[Sound: Coach gives pre-game pep talk]

“This is it. This is March madness for us,” he said.

[Sound: Warriors huddle breaks. Whistle blows. The game begins.]

The Warriors win the jump and score the first two points. Tulsa answers quickly. It goes back and forth like this until Warriors’ number three, Wes Gallaugher, hits an effortless three-pointer.

[Sound: Crowd cheers]

The game is fiercely competitive. Rebecca Reynolds, watches from the opposing bleachers.

“What I can tell from the brackets, they might be coming in here seated number one. So this is going to be a battle for our team to beat this team. And you can tell they’re deadly from the three,” she said.

[Sound: Warriors’ coach screams from the sideline]

The Houston J.V. Warriors won the national championship last year. Coach Williamson is hoping for a repeat victory.

“Sure it’s fun and all that stuff, but we’re very competitive. And like anybody else in any sport, we love to come and compete,” he said.

The J.V. Warriors beat Tulsa NOAH, 52 to 44. They play again Wednesday morning at 11:50 in the BBC gymnasium. Admission is free and spectators are welcome.

For KSMU News, I’m Brandon Goodwin.