The Manhattan (Mont.) Christian High School boys’ basketball team achieved their second consecutive Class “C” State Championship win March 11, winning in the final game against Big Sandy (Mont.) High School at First Interstate Arena in Billings, Mont. In the past five years the Eagles have taken home three state championships.
Kendal Walhof, an assistant coach for the team from 2018 to 2022, said it was a 26-win and 1-loss season for the Eagles who were led by all-state senior Seth Amunrud with 29 points, 11 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.
Coaches and players continually emphasize humility, respect, and God-honoring behavior on and off the basketball court, Walhof said. “One of the highlights of every game is the circle of prayer the team and coaches form at center court following the conclusion of the game,” he said. The Eagles invite team members from the public schools they play against to join in the circle, Walhof said. “It has become a meaningful and God-glorifying time. It is a great way to not only show love to those that may not know Christ but also to enfold fellow believers from the competition.”
The 2022-2023 Boys’ Varsity Basketball team was coached by Layne Glaus, the school’s athletic director, and assistant coaches Ryan Ruffato and Tyler DeVries. Walhof said most of the players and coaches on the team attend Manhattan (Mont.) Christian Reformed Church, Bethel CRC, or attend the combined youth group of the two churches.
Glaus is grateful for the boys’ success but more thankful for the growth in faith he witnessed in the players over the year where their focus was a “culture of J.O.Y.—putting Jesus first, others second, and yourself last.” Glaus said they borrowed the emphasis from Baylor University and he was glad for “great senior leaders who worked hard to keep the focus there.” At the beginning of the season Glaus assigned the team’s five seniors to each lead a small group where they were responsible to lead a devotion each week. That translated to closely bonded teammates who were less worried about personal stats and playing time than “serving the teammates around you,” Glaus said.
Located 20 miles (32 km) from Bozeman, Mont., Manhattan Christian School is a private school founded more than 105 years ago by Dutch immigrants who settled in Montana’s Gallatin Valley.