I’ll always remember where Josh Mawhorr’s mind was during halftime of the national championship game.
If someone asked me if the week in Branson was about something more than basketball, the answer would be a resounding "YES!" Our mission was obvious. Every scout, walkthrough, pregame, practice, and game was focused on Christ in one way or the other. Our coaches and player leaders were constantly pushing us spiritually. They are some of the most faithful men I have encountered, and they made basketball more than just a game.
Basketball was a form of worship. Literally, we were worshipping the Lord during games. The Davenport game had been back and forth the whole game but essentially it came down to one possession: if we got a defensive stop then we would walk out of the gym with a W, but if we let them score then we were heading back to Indiana. Naturally, everyone on the bench was on their feet screaming, the coaches were yelling out orders and the fans were cheering loudly.
However, in the moment, in the midst of all the chaos, I could hear someone singing. I was standing between possibly the two loudest people on our team, Ben Carlson and Grant Zawadzki, and I heard someone belting out the lyrics of the song "Unstoppable God." It was then that I looked down the bench and saw Josh Mawhorr, our senior captain, in full praise mode. ‘Wait a second,’ I thought. ‘We need one stop to win the game, and our senior leader was singing a worship song at the top of his lungs?’ Yeah, you read that right.
Well, we got the stop and edged Davenport by one point to move on to the Championship, which leads us to one moment I will never forget. We had a lead at halftime, and as the team was sitting in the locker room, most of the players were discussing the first half of the game. Josh had something else on his mind. While everyone else was talking, Big Daddy pulled out his Bible and started reading from the Word. This was during halftime of the National Championship game: the biggest game of his life! I do not know which book of the Bible he was reading from or what exactly he got out of his meeting with the Lord, but I do know that he has set an example for me that I will never forget. For Josh, in the biggest moment, his focus was on the Lord and not himself or his circumstances. Then he came out like a man possessed in the second half, scoring all 10 of his points and getting some of the biggest rebounds of his career.
Winning the championship was special, but winning is not what I'll remember most about the week. Instead, the moments that I'll remember most are the spiritual ones, especially seeing what our seniors were focused on the whole week. I won’t forget seeing them on their knees praying before games. I won't forget seeing Josh reading his bible during halftime of the Championship game and I'll never forget the sound of "Unstoppable God."