From Conduit to Can Do It
A Letter from Tyler Guidry to Lion Fans
Tapping into a higher power with amazing results
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- A week ago the Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball team completed a sensational season with a stirring run to the NAIA national championship game.
A best-ever 33-5 won-lost record was topped by an effort in the 32-team national tournament that saw the Lions play five games in seven days. They performed remarkably in winning four straight over ranked teams before their season ended one step shy of coronation.
One of the team’s key contributors this season, especially in Kansas City (where the tourney was held), was sophomore guard Tyler Guidry (GID-ree). Awakened by the spirit, as he described it, he penned the following season review from a player’s viewpoint.
“Many people have played the game of basketball in some form; whether for recreation, a pick-up ball game, or just shooting around with some friends on the driveway.
Well, the way my teammates and I got to experience the game this year was life-lasting and nothing short of amazing.
With a bright outlook on the season we went to work in preparation to make a run that would take us to our first goal; qualifying for the NAIA national tournament. Little did we know, God had bigger plans for us.
Traveling to Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and various cities across Texas, throughout the year we picked up quality road wins against very formidable opponents.
No one expected us to win at the rate we were going. To be honest, I almost didn't believe it myself.
How was it possible that a group of guys could rally together with no one over 6-foot-5 and out-rebound, out-work, and out-play multiple teams on a nightly basis. Was it determination? Was it our will to win? Or was it we were just that much better players, from top to bottom, over these guys?
I'm sure each of those answers can be discussed in their own right, but the one true common denominator was God. We were playing for a higher power and understood exactly how to tap into his strength whenever we felt weak.
At the Christmas break we were 3-2 in conference play with an 11-3 overall record. That's when the magic began to happen.
A twelve hour bus trip to Hobbs, New Mexico to capture a win was followed by 16 more wins, all in succession. No one could understand, but we knew!
In that 17-game streak we had all types of wins imaginable.
Leading by 22 at halftime, and then allowing a team to come all the way back and miss a buzzer-beating, game-tying layup. A tough and gritty win down in San Antonio against the defending league champions.
There was a rallying comeback from down 11 with less than 5 minutes to go, or a game-winning three-ball at that top of the key that sent our crowd into a frenzy.
Regardless of what happened in the game and how we won, my teammates and I were hoping for one thing; that the people watching the game and competing against could see God's light shining through us.
Eventually, the streak came to an end in our last regular season game. Fortunately for us, we had clinched the regular season RRAC title and cut down the nets two days earlier.
We breezed through the conference tournament before losing in the finals to a very good (University of) St. Thomas team.
But the stage was set. We were battle-tested and ready to play for a national championship in Kansas City, Missouri. We played in the illustrious and famous Municipal Arena.
First up for us was USAO (University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma), a tough and aggressive team that was ready to play at nine in the morning. Somehow, we fought and clawed down the stretch to earn a (62-58) victory.
Next we played a Martin Methodist (College) team that outweighed us at every position by about 20-50 lbs. That didn't deter us. Like little David fearlessly slaying the giant, we pulled out a close win (72-68) over them as well.
Next we played a Western Montana team that was hot. They had just defeated the overall number 3 seed in Lee University (Tenn). Our tenacious D and aggressive play helped us cool off their shooters, cruising to a (84-79) victory.
At that point we had already passed a milestone in wins; 30. We were at 31 and playing in the Fab Four on Monday.
No. 2 ranked Lindsey Wilson College was an impressive and admirable opponent. By game time it was all about will and strength from above. We most definitely had tapped in beat them handily.
Through that game, which happened to be broadcast on ESPN 3, we were able to shine our light to a national audience. We were hoping that everyone could see the same light our fans and family members saw throughout the season.
Finally, we came up against a physical juggernaut in Georgetown College. They would not be denied their place as champions.
Though we played a game statistically that was good enough many teams to win, we ultimately did not get (defensive) stops and rebounds and couldn't make shots when we needed them.
Though we lost, everyone on the floor gave everything they had. That was the only way we could give God his glory. Like warriors we would not be defeated until the buzzer sounded.
Some might say this season was a loss for us because we couldn't finish or we didn't get the job done at the end. But really, it was a total win.
I saw each game we won as a step up the mountain. Not the mountain of success, but the mountain of faith.
As we continued to win, more and more we saw the faith of our team continue to increase. We made it to the top of the mountain where our fire burned bright. We were trying to do something special for God.
After the loss some might figure we would slide right down the mountain, losing the faith as though God had forsaken us.
In reality, he had built us an even greater platform to praise his name in the testimony of (a healed) David Bush.
Though we weren't declared champions of the NAIA, I know we all became champions of the kingdom. For anyone who fights for His kingdom as we did gets a reward from the Lord. I know we did."
Note: Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian) averaged just over four points per game and averaged two assists per contest during the regular season. At the NAIA Nationals he poured in 37 points in five games, a 7.4 ppg average, and made seven three-point baskets. His high was 13 points against #2 ranked Lindsey Wilson.