The Grace Christian School varsity basketball team finished the 2011-2012 season with a Florida Christian Conference state championship and a 23-1 record.

The 2011-2012 season was a momentous one for the Grace Christian School varsity basketball team and first year head coach, Josiah Winter, as the Patriots ended with a 23-1 record and won the Florida Christian Conference state championship.

“As a coach, entering the season, I had three goals: honor God in word and deed, have fun, and win. Not only did we meet our goals, but we surpassed them,” said Winter, who is also the older brother to players Isaiah and Caleb Winter.
Hard work and commitment is what helped the Patriots reach the state championship in last month. The Patriots faced the Heritage Christian Eagles, who defeated them earlier in the season, for the championship game. This time, though, the Patriot’s pulled out a win with a score of 66-58. 

The team’s success is largely due to the skill levels that all of the five starters brought to the floor, with each player averaging 10 or more points per game. The nearly unstoppable starting five consisted of Jimmy Zannone (senior, captain), Noah Herrin (junior), Ben Pukas (junior), Isaiah Winter (senior, captain) and Caleb Winter (sophomore).
“Anyone could lead the team in scoring any given night. If our opponent tried to shut him down, we had four other guys that could score just as much,” said coach Winter.

Caleb had anoutstanding season, with an average of 11 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game and was 72 percent from the free throw line. He was chosen the Most Valuable Player of the state championship and the Most Valuable Player for the season by all of the coaches in the conference.

Next year the Patriots will have a total of five returning players, three starters as well as reserves Alex Correa and Chris Dyk, and there is no telling what success the future has in store for them.

Grace Christian School is located at 1425 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico. For more information, call 689-8815 or visit

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