The Tallahassee-based Community Leadership Academy (CLA) Lions boys basketball team won the 1A Florida Independent Christian Athletic Association (FICAA) state championship on February 11. The Lions defeated the Beacon of Hope Christian School Eagles, out of St. Augustine, in the state title game in blowout fashion, 70-29.
In the championship game, the first quarter ended with CLA holding a 17-10 lead, but the Lions blew things wide open in the second and third quarters outscoring the Eagles 40-13.
While the Lions entered the playoffs with a losing record, the majority of their matchups, consisted of games against FHSAA public schools in the Big Bend region. However, despite being a smaller school, CLA was competitive during the regular season against larger schools. The Lions lost to the North Florida Christian School Eagles 67-57, and in two matchups against the Lawton Chiles High School Timberwolves, the Timberwolves won 61-51 and 65-52.
When the Lions competed against other private schools in the region, they dominated. In two matchups against Tallavana Christian, the Lions won 67-29 and 68-44. Against Aucilla Christian, the Lions won 55-22, and against Wakulla Christian School, CLA won 84-57.
By the end of their playoff run, CLA was 9-11 ending the year with a four-game winning streak.
Throughout the year, the Lions relied on the leadership of Ben Holloway who led the team with 11.7 points per game on a 55 percent field goal percentage and 8.8 rebounds per game. Holloway also had four double-doubles during the season. Holloway’s younger brother, Bowman Holloway, also contributed with 9.4 points per game, which was second on the team.
The Lions scorers also relied on the passing ability of Owen Brown, who led the team with 4.3 assists per game.
The FICAA features two Tallahassee-based schools: CLA and Holy Comforter Episcopal School.