The scoreboard said the final score was 13-7.
But the outcome of Tuesday’s basketball game between two teams from Stewart Home School hardly mattered.
The game and the clinic that preceded it were a win-win situation for the student-athletes from Stewart Home and the student-athletes from three colleges competing in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship.
“It’s been a blessing being able to serve and do what God created us to do,” said Vanguard University sophomore Taylor Belmont.
“It’s a blessing to be down here for the tournament, and in turn we can be a blessing to others. That’s what it’s all about.”
Vanguard and Westmont, both in California, and Georgetown College all participated in the basketball clinic Tuesday afternoon at the Frankfort Convention Center with the Stewart Home students.
The NAIA has a Champions of Character program, and each of the 32 teams at the national tournament performs a community-related task during the event.
“It’s great to help people with a sport I love and see them love it too,” Westmont freshman Aubrey Lincoln said.
“There was a girl at first who was afraid to touch the ball, and she finally touched it. That’s the joyous part of it, seeing someone overcome something.”
This week the teams are visiting the Franklin County and Frankfort Independent elementary schools, the YMCA after-school program, the Senior Activity Center, Stewart Home School, Ashwood Place and Morning Pointe.
“We’ve had great participation from the Frankfort community,” said Susan Johnson, a member of the tournament organizing committee in charge of the Champions of Character events.
The tournament started this morning at 8:30 a.m. There will be eight games today, Thursday and Friday, with the quarterfinals set for Saturday and the semifinals Monday.
The championship game will be played Tuesday at 6 p.m.
“This is an outlet,” Westmont junior Lauren McGee said about the clinic, “when you’re away and not thinking about the game. It’s a little break in the action.”
Westmont is making its second straight appearance in the national tournament, and this is McGee’s second year working a basketball clinic.
“I love it,” she said. “I did it last year for the first time, and I’ve been looking forward to this. It’s one of my favorite parts of the tournament.
“You take a little bit of time to help someone and make them feel special. I think we’re doing what God wants us to do.”
McGee was an animated coach during the 10-minute game, urging her team to rebound and play defense, encouraging them after a missed shot, and running the sidelines begging the official (one of her teammates) for a foul call.
“They didn’t do that last year,” she said about having players serve as coaches. “That was cool to do, and it was probably the most fun.”
The clinic was set up with stations teaching different aspects of the game. After a set amount of time the Stewart Home players would move to another station, and the event culminated in the 10-minute game.
College players served as coaches for both teams and as the three officlals.
“I liked playing basketball with the teams, working with the girls and talking to them,” Stewart Home’s Jon Buxman said. “It was kind of confusing going from station to station, but they helped out.”
Andrea Howard, a Franklin County graduate, is a sophomore at Georgetown and is making her first appearance in the national tournament.
“Before Stewart Home got here we got to talk with the other teams,” she said. “It was a chance to mix with them and give back at the same time.
“It’s an awesome feeling to see the smiles on their faces,” Howard added about the Stewart Home student-athletes, “and know they get to enjoy every minute of it.”
Georgetown has a Champions of Character class that every student-athlete at the school must attend.
“It’s a big part of everything we do,” Howard said. “It shows we’re not just student-athletes but leaders off the court.”
Vanguard also has a Champions of Character class every student-athlete must attend, and it meets once a week.
“It’s a huge deal,” Belmont said about the Champions of Character program, and Tuesday’s clinic was a highlight for her.
“I love it,” she said. “I look forward to it every year.”