The 2017-18 men's basketball season was an exciting one at Emmaus Bible College with a new coach and large class of freshmen to go along with some talented returning players. Each season is a journey with lots of twists and turns, but when you start off with a new coach and a new system, there are sure to be additional challenges along the way. Coach Steve Edmondson and assistant John Walker worked hard to learn how best to work with the players they inherited and find a system of play that best suited their talents.
From the opening exhibition game with the Alumni when the Eagles scored 110 points it was apparent that this was a team with the potential to have scoring outburst and put big numbers on the scoreboard. The team would put up over 90 points in 10 games and broke the 100 point mark in three regular season games, including games of 132 and 119 points. A turning point in the season was playing against Grinnell and deciding to play an up-tempo game rather than trying to slow things down against the fast paced opponents. Coach Edmondson said "We are just not built to play stall ball, our guys can score so we are going to play to our strength and let the chips fall where they may." The Eagles didn't beat Grinnell, but they did score 100 against their NCAA Division III opponent.
The Eagles were able to sweep non-conference rival Dayspring and beat old rival Moody Bible Institute 2 out of 3 times this season and nearly taking all three matchups with the Archers, losing only the first time the teams met in Chicago by 1 point after trailing at halftime by 20. In MCCC play the Eagles went 6-2 and claimed a share of the conference regular season championship. The highlight of the season was the home game against Central Christian College of the Bible on January 27, 2018 when the Eagles crushed a very good CCCB team by a score of 119-65. This game was the first game with a new starting lineup that saw freshman Brandon Redding start and senior Matt Tomlinson coming off the bench. Both players and the team responded well to the new roles with the Eagles putting up 76 points in the first half, led by Tomlinson's 7 three pointers off the bench that included the final shot of the half from 35 feet. In the second half junior Stevie Horan took over making 8 of 10 three point attempts and finishing with an Emmaus single game scoring record of 42 points. Based on that performance and a 31 point performance against Maranatha earlier in the week Horan was named the NCCAA Student-Athlete of the Week.
Some other individual honors for team members included the following:
- Steven Horan-1st team all MCCC, 1st team all-region, and NCCAA Scholar
Athlete, scored his 1500th total point-1000th at Emmaus
- Caleb Postma-2nd team all MCCC, 3rd team all-region, and NCCAA Scholar
- Matthew Tomlinson-NCCAA Scholar Athlete, scored his 1000th point
- Nathan Davidson-Honorable Mention all-region.
The rest of the members of the 2017-18 squad were:
- Josh Davidson
- Nacio Dillard
- Brandon Redding
- Skyler Snook
- Eric West
- Caleb Williams
- Cody Cunard (played in 6 games before season-ending ankle injury)
- Jermaine Riley (Redshirt)
- Nick Johnson (Manager)
All in all it was an exciting season of Eagles basketball and there is great hope for continued progress next season. Nathan Davidson and Matthew Tomlinson were the teams only seniors and their leadership will be missed. They were major contributors both on and off the floor and great teammates. They have helped lay the foundation for the men's basketball program at Emmaus to accomplish great things in the future.