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Party for the Blue Bears
Salisbury honors CIAA men's champs
 
Published Wednesday, March 5, 2014 6:16 am
by Laurie D. Willis

SALISBURY – Livingstone’s men’s basketball team was recognized Tuesday by Salisbury City Council members for its historic CIAA tournament win – the first in school history. 

PHOTO/CURTIS WILSON
Livingstone (in white) wrestled the CIAA men's basketball championship from Winston-Salem State at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Blue Bears captured the CIAA Championship Saturday night after defeating Winston-Salem State 83-68 in Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. 

Mayor Paul B. Woodson issued a proclamation during the City Council meeting. Livingstone’s men’s basketball team, coaches and college officials will attend.

“We’re grateful the mayor has chosen to recognize Livingstone College for their historic win,” said Livingstone President Jimmy R. Jenkins. “Our players and coaches have worked hard this year to accomplish so much – both on and off the court. They went to Charlotte and put together three strong victories to bring Livingstone College its first ever CIAA Championship and  also studied and worked hard enough to have the highest grade point average among the 12 men’s CIAA teams. It can be easy for student-athletes to get caught up in athletics and forget why they’re in college, but I’m so proud our coaches and players never lost sight of that. And I’m truly proud to finally be able to say that Livingstone College is the CIAA champion.”

To commemorate the historic win, which came exactly one week after senior point guard Mark Thomas was named CIAA Player of the Year – another first in school history – Livingstone is having a parade beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Soldiers Memorial AME Zion Church, 306 N. Church St. The parade route will go through downtown Salisbury and end at the Livingstone campus, where Jenkins will host a celebration and barbecue for the team inside Trent Gymnasium.

“Last year our men’s team made it to the finals of the CIAA tournament but came up short to Bowie State University,” Jenkins said. “And two years before that we lost a close one in the finals to Shaw University. The losses hurt, but all year long I and others affiliated with Livingstone College have had a hunch that this was our year, our time. Last weekend in Charlotte our players proved us right, so on Wednesday we’re going to show them our appreciation.”

The Blue Bears entered the tournament as serious contenders after having won the CIAA South for the second consecutive season – another first in school history. The Blue Bears beat St. Augustine’s and Fayetteville State before beating Winston-Salem State for the title.

Thomas, who in addition to being named CIAA Player of the Year was also named tournament MVP, scored 23 points for the Blue Bears in the championship game. Senior shooting guard Jody Hill of Detroit scored 21 and junior forward Eric Mayo of Shelby grabbed 17 rebounds. Thomas, Hill and Emarri Bailey were named to the All-CIAA team.

 

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