The Press Newspaper
How would you like to be in eighth grade and be the top scorer in the area on a high school basketball team?
Genoa Community Christian Academy basketball player Matthew Bradfield has that opportunity — averaging 24 points with a season high of 41. He’s an eighth grader playing high school basketball.
The forward also leads the team in steals, averaging 5.1 takeaways per game, is the team’s second leading rebounder at 11 per game, and has a season and career high 19 rebounds in one game. He stands 5-foot-10.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association prohibits junior high students attending member schools from playing on high school teams. Because GCCA is not a member of the OHSAA, Bradfield is eligible to play.
GCCA is a small private school and to fill a roster it must bring up some junior high players, as do some of their opponents. The GCCA roster includes two seniors, one junior, and three freshmen along with three other middle school players.
In that context, Bradfield could be compared to O.J. Mayo, who played high school basketball while a seventh and eighth grader for a Christian school in Kentucky, winning two state championships before his prep career continued at Cincinnati North College Hill, a public school. Mayo went on to an NCAA career at the University of Southern California and now plays for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA. We’ll see if Bradfield makes it that far.
The younger Matt Bradfield is not the only middle school player leading the GCCA team in stats. Seventh grader and younger brother Josiah Bradfield, a guard, is averaging 8.8 points with a season high of 18. Freshman forward John Flood and junior center Matt Glenn each average 4.5 points. Matt Glenn is the team’s leading rebounder at 11.3 with a season high of 16.
Other starters include freshman forward Patrick Glenn, senior guard Tyler Pierce and guard Josiah Bradfield is the team’s sixth man. Filling out the roster is guards Jacob Bradfield and Jeremiah Gander, forward Ben Doty, and center Joe Glenn.
GCCA, founded in 1990, started its basketball program in 2006-07. Past coaches include Ben Church, Arnie Sutter, and Bob Younker.
This year’s team, the school’s seventh, is 3-10 heading into the annual Harvest Temple Christian Academy post-season tournament in Clyde last weekend.
“It started off kind of rough, but we’ve won our last two,” Coach Bradfield said. “The biggest challenge is the different age groups. Most of the kids have made improvements during the season, so that’s always a plus.”
Three losses came to Monclova Christian Academy, which schedules larger OHSAA schools. Other teams on the schedule include Bowling Green Christian, Apostolic Christian (Sylvania), Northwest Ohio Christian (Napoleon), and two Adrian schools — Tri-County Christian and Berean Baptist.
The Cougars won at home against Tri-County, 75-68, for their third win and on the road against NW Ohio Christian, 35-31, for their second win. The first win was 80-76 in overtime at home over Apostolic Christian.
Bradfield says it helps when visiting teams come in and play on the small floor, which once hosted Genoa High School and Genoa Middle School games.
“It gives us an advantage at times playing on it,” Coach Bradfield said.
The coach is interested in seeing the school grow and the sports program stabilize. GCCA has competed with local high schools in track quadrangulars under the auspices of former coach and athletic director Monica Church.
“I would like to see it develop and the pastor (Tim Davies) who is here now wants to see it develop, too,” Coach Bradfield said. “We want to establish a program and we think that will be helpful. I think I’m the fourth coach in as many years and that makes it real rough on all the kids who have been in the program since then. So, it all depends on how their enrollment goes.
“You know, they allow the home-schooled kids to play and that’s how we are involved with it,” Bradfield said. “I told Pastor Tim I’d like to stick around as long as I can and as long as he wants me to and just continue to try and build some consistency and see if they can grow and help their enrollment at the school.”
Bradfield believes the advantage of school children attending GCCA is in its educational system, which caters to each student by tutoring on an individual basis.
“I definitely believe there are benefits to what they are doing,” the coach said. “I have six kids of my own and each kid tends to learn a little different, and so I think it provides a unique way for them to teach the kids. I think it’s a pretty good system.”
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