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Livingstone proves itself

“In sports, you simply aren’t considered a real champion until you have defended your title successfully. Winning it once can be a fluke; winning it twice proves you are the best.”

— Althea Gibson

legendary tennis player and professional golfer

The Livingstone College men’s CIAA Basketball Championship is no fluke. For the second year in a row, the Blue Bears have persevered through challenging season to come out on top of their conference. Judging by their record and Althea Gibson’s standard, they are the CIAA’s best.

Last year’s championship, the first in the school’s history, raised the team’s sights to a new level. This year’s crown confirms their excellence.

“It’s a great day for Livingstone basketball,” Blue Bears coach James Stinson said. “I think the guys actually came out with purpose. I loved their focus from the beginning of the game all the way through.”

Winning two years in a row is quite an accomplishment, especially when the team lost two key players at the end of last year. It’s a testament to the team and Stinson to bring in two new players and develop the chemistry that would lead them to a championship.

The players and the school celebrated with a pep rally Sunday and may still have been floating on Cloud Nine on Monday. There’s nothing like a big athletic victory to energize a campus. But Stinson quickly turned the team’s attention to the next step, the Atlantic Regional; they’ll find out Sunday where they’ll be playing and against whom.

Whatever happens, they’re on the right course, thanks to the Livingstone athletic program. Stinson says it’s not just about winning. “More importantly, we’re trying to cultivate these young men into being good citizens, because at the end of the day, one day, they’ll stop playing basketball.”

Best wishes to the team and coach as they press on. Stinson said this year’s players were eager to “etch their own history.” They have certainly done that. In the process, they have made Livingstone College, the city of Salisbury and Rowan County very proud.

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