Preston's Dream Class Has Alumni Considering Re-enrollment

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Preston's Dream Class Has Alumni Considering Re-enrollment

Students have poured into Mr. Preston's classrooms for over twenty years. Each student has common appreciative word for Hillcrest's history teacher and Varsity Basketball coach. The word reflects appreciation in how Mr. Preston teaches students to care about their world. Mr. Preston's new Global Studies class is likely to make many who have sat in Mr. Preston's room look to re-enroll. The class prepares students to engage the world by deciphering current events. 

The Islamic State in Syria (ISIS), gay marriage, and El Chapo are issues that frequent the topic list on Mr. Preston's whiteboard. Students lean over their classroom tables, reading beyond headlines in some of today's top sources for news. The class trains students to surf through the media and news to find what is happening in the world around them. Newspapers and TV broadcasts are the class' text. Their training is in searching for truth in the muck of today's biased journalism. Mr. Preston hopes students will leave his class feeling ready to think through the problems facing the world.

Christians can be actively involved in having an understanding of what is happening around them

"(Global Studies is a) fun combination of major political and economic events, but also social and cultural issues around the world," notes Mr. Preston. Students dive deep into causes and responses to hot global issues plaguing the world. Understanding ISIS terror in the Middle East and Russian Imperialism in the Ukraine become complex lessons in history. Mr. Preston involves the class in deep sociological discussions and encourages reading current news reports.

The Wall Street Journal is placed in the hand of each student, replacing the traditional textbook. Conservative and progressive journalists for FOX and CNN news outlets are referenced and analyzed daily as students deconstruct sources for meaningful information.

The classroom setting encourages classroom discussion. Everything is communicated through active lectures and dialogues. Mr. Preston presses the class with the big questions, looking to show how sin causes brokenness as man works to solve the world's problems without acknowledging God. He challenges students to go beyond accepting tragedies happening in the world, pushing students to see God's design and their role in defending God's order as image bearers. Mr. Preston hopes that, "Christians can be actively involved in having an understanding of what is happening around them." 

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Nhi Testifies of Love Found in Jesus Alone

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Nhi Testifies of Love Found in Jesus Alone

Nhi's life changed at Hillcrest. Walking these ancient halls Nhi built life-long friendships, uncovered her self-worth, and accepted Jesus as her Savior. 

He wants us to know Him and become part of His family. Hillcrest has shown me that. Before Hillcrest, I did not feel confident. I always felt so stupid. But now I know that God thinks I’m not stupid.

In the summer of 2012 Nhi surfed the internet for a boarding school. When the Hillcrest banner popped up Nhi knew she wanted to attend. She carefully filled out the application and nervously interviewed with Wayne. She received a letter in the mail. She anxiously opened it. As she read it, her heart dropped. The letter explained that she could not attend Hillcrest because her knowledge of English was insufficient. 

Nhi found another school in America. She set learning English as her number one goal. Her desk quickly piled high with reading and writing textbooks. She spoke English as often as possible. She applied to Hillcrest again, hoping to become a Comet. She received another letter. Her hard work paid off and Hillcrest welcomed Nhi into the student body. 

Nhi Nguyen and Ashley Jarvi pose at Hillcrest's Christmas banquet photobooth

Nhi Nguyen and Ashley Jarvi pose at Hillcrest's Christmas banquet photobooth

Nhi's first  year in the Castle started quietly. She stayed in the shadows, keeping her comments to herself. Her fear of speaking English stopped her from reaching out. But the people at Hillcrest took Nhi under their wing, making her feel at home. "The people care about me, love me," Nhi explains. Through the kindness of students and staff at Hillcrest Nhi says she began feeling confident in herself and loved by everyone around her.

In her Junior year Nhi began an inner argument that would reshape her world eternally. The constant discussion of God and Jesus made her question her Buddhist faith, the main religion in Vietnam. She heard the Gospel message at Hillcrest. For the first time she saw God's love and acceptance for all people. Her heart tugged as God called to her. 

Nhi says she felt Matthew 7:7 giving her directions to search for God. Her ears started listening intently during chapel and class devotion times. Her eyes sped over Scripture. 

God wanted me to come to Hillcrest

Nhi developed a close bond with an American student and Mr. Peterson. The friendshipopened doorways for a Bible study that transformed Nhiís life. Meeting after school, Nhi asked questions of her close friends, probing for answers and intensely searching for God. 

God revealed Himself to Nhi in her pursuit for Christ. Nhi boldly proclaims the Good News in Jesus Christ. She thrives in Hillcrestís Bible classes and looks forward to her personal devotion times. Her friends say she possesses a caring nature that models Christian love for girls in the dorms.

"God wanted me to come to Hillcrest," Nhi testifies. "He wants us to know Him and become part of His family. Hillcrest has shown me that. Before Hillcrest, I did not feel confident. I always felt so stupid. But now I know that God thinks I'm not stupid. I am a good person. I am confident...I don't care if people talk about me. Hillcrest is my small family."

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Comets Man-to-Man Defense Sits Hancock Down to 20pts in Second Half

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Comets Man-to-Man Defense Sits Hancock Down to 20pts in Second Half

A new Comet team stepped on the court Thursday night, and it was impressive. Following an incredible hallmark game Tuesday night, the Comets hustled to practice Wednesday to improve some fundamental aspects of their game. The drills in practice carried through to Thursday night as the Comets out shot and displayed a stifling man-to-man defense that earned a 74-56 win.

The Comets stumbled on their heels in the opening minutes Thursday. Hancock displayed a shooting prowess that the Comets haven't seen much this year. With hands in their faces and fundamental boxing-out, Hancock hit 16 of their opening 26 shots taken in the first 18 minutes. 

With Hancock on point, Hillcrest took to a traditional approach for them this year. The approach is new for Preston-backed teams, but has worked for the Comets, until Thursday night. Hillcrest started shooting and slashing through the lane. But Hancock anticipated the Comet's push offensively and crowded the lane. Collapsing their defense, Hancock blocked 3 shots in the opening minutes, causing Hillcrest to regroup. 

The Comets set back to work by holding Hancock down on defense, stringing out offensive series with two-to-three ball reversals each time they entered half-court offense. Crisp Comet passing, with darts into the lane forcing Hancock to collapse, opened shots on the perimeter. Hillcrest took advantage.

Tommy Thompson had his feet set all night. He shot 80% from behind the arc, making 4-of-5 threes while dishing 4 assists as he tallied 12 points on the night. Thompson received a number of his setup passes from Chris Tungseth. Tungseth's lane penetration caused Hancock to set their defense inside the arc, as he visited the free throw line 6 times, hitting on all attempts. His only two baskets on the night came from three-point territory, giving Chris 12 points in an important game for the team.

As Hancock looked to shut-down Tungseth, deflecting his shots in the lane with a foul, block, or tipped dribble, they failed to account for the other Comets. Waiting in the wings, were Kyler Newman and Sean McGuire. The two combined for 40 points with dazzling shooting.

McGuire tends to assert his presence in the post. He drew a charge in the first half, working his way out of the block on the offensive side. He shot 100% of his shots behind the arc (5-for-5), and was 3-for-4 around the lane. McGuire's hot shooting lifted the Comets as Hancock keyed on Tungseth. Providing 23 points and 6 rebounds, McGuire found Hancock shift attention to his hot hand. In turn, he started passing the ball off when the Owls closed down on him. His 6 assists led the team, setting up fellow Junior Kyler Newman.

Newman found open spots on the court as the Owls scrambled to cover the scoring Comets. In a virtual game of hot potato, Hillcrest put 4 players into double digits. Newman, shifting his feet and setting up his shot, reacted to the Owls focus on Thompson, Tungseth, and McGuire. He dropped in 17 points for the Comets, making 3-of-5 three pointers, part of Hillcrest's march to a 65% shooting percentage (15-of-23) behind the arc. 

The Comets found a new way to win Thursday. They shot an uncharacteristically low 33% from inside the three-point line. Making a simple 10 of 30 shots inside the line, Hillcrest found better success 19 feet 9 inches from the hoop. The Comets made 15 of 23 shots from the distance that put 3 points on the board.

In the closing minutes, Hancock was 10 points down. The Comets went to a stifling man-to-man defense, something that kept Hancock at bay throughout the second half. Hillcrest jumped on opportunities to provide more distance in the closing minutes, scoring 12 points while Hancock could only muster a couple of baskets.

The Comets look forward to another defensive test against Oak Grove in a guys/girls double header Saturday. The game is Livestreamed on Hillcrest's website.

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Tungseth Praises Team and Earns School Record After Scoring 44 Points

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Tungseth Praises Team and Earns School Record After Scoring 44 Points

Eyebrows raised in the stands as players huddled around Chris Tungseth following the final buzzer in Tuesday night's game. The Senior guard was flanked by coaches and friends who were clapping. Their cheers increased after Head Coach Gregg Preston returned from the scorers table.

Tungseth broke Hillcrest's single game scoring record on what appeared to be an average night for the senior. The accolade surprised fans who saw the senior battling a head cold, taking a few trips to the locker-room throughout the game, holding his stomach. The beleaguered senior scored 44 points, besting the 1987 record held by Scott Colbeck of 41 points. Tungseth was propped by teammates, who contributed a complete game to match Tungseth's scoring, pushing Hillcrest to a 15-0 record with a 91-78 win over Breckenridge.

Tungseth's performance Tuesday was similar to challenging games the Comets faced in their undefeated stride. When Hillcrest faced then #9 ranked Waubun, Tungseth shot 57% from the floor, making 13 buckets on his way to 39 points in a dominant game. The game tagged Gregg Preston with his 400th win as the Comet's coach. It was the first time a Preston-led team broke the century mark, joining for pictures with the famed coach after the 102-77 victory. Tungseth's strong night against Waubun saw two other Comets in double-figures, as Tungseth co-led the team in assists with 9, finding good company with Tommy Thompson, Hillcrest's point guard.

Tungseth's other knock on the door for the scoring accolade came against conference favorite Battle Lake. Another fantastic shooting effort delivered 40 points on 14/26 shooting (54%), where Tungseth went to work on the glass, pulling down 11 rebounds and delivering 4 assists for the night. 

"His (Chris') 44 points were generally in our offense and from a variety of spots on the floor," noted Preston in recapping Chris' scoring achievement. As Breckenridge left the court Tuesday night, fans crowded Tungseth in celebration of his feat. Few will forget the game, but Tungseth's scoring didn't appear the focal point throughout the night.

From the opening tip the Breckenridge Cowboys looked to assert dominance, something that hasn't been done against the Comets this season. Recognizing that the Comets have one of the most athletic front courts in the area, the Cowboys worked the Comet paint. With Hillcrest setting in for defense, seeing the game plan unfold for the Cowboys, a series of quick substitutions neutralized Breckenridge's offensive attack. 

Nate Frustol stepped into the paint to help defend against the Cowboy big men. Ball reversals and pump-fakes put the Comets in tough positions on defense, forcing some untimely fouls that appeared poised to equalize Hillcrest's athletic abilities with the Cowboys. Frustol stepped in to support Hillcrest's key defenders. Junior Kyler Newman is the Comet's ball-hawk who shuts down offenses almost single-handedly. Kyler's head is on swivel on defense, stepping in to help out teammates and breaking to the glass when a shot is in the air. Newman earned his fourth foul midway through the second half, shortly before Chris Tungseth and Sean McGuire picked up theirs. With the Cowboys making a surge at the end of the game, Frustol offered consistent play in the paint, something that was a difference maker for the Comets as they kept the Cowboys at bay.

Frustol finished the night with 10 points and 8 rebounds. His presence diverted the Cowboys offensive strikes. Junior Sean McGuire joined Frustol in the paint, providing quality minutes and 10 points of his own to the Comet total.

As Tungseth worked to shoot the lights out in Hillcrest's gym, steady guard play from the Comets pushed the Cowboys back to their bench. The Cowboys regrouped, drawing defensive scheme after defensive scheme in an effort to stop Tungseth and keep the Comets from racking-up the score. The Cowboys focused their defensive traps around Tungseth and Newman, working to squelch the Comets' leading scorers. Tommy Thompson found himself open on the perimeter as a result. Thompson hit big shots in key moments, providing a quiet presence that stabilized a set of Comet offensive series. Thompson finished the night with 11 points. 

Joining Thompson in a quiet but important role was Reggie Undseth. The Junior guard watched Tungseth draw two and three defenders at a time, opening holes in the defense that Undseth moved to, finding easy baskets that continued scoring streaks for the Comets. Undseth finished with 7 points.

Last ditch efforts by the Cowboys drained the score deficit to 10 with under two minutes to play. Hillcrest stayed the course, breaking the full-court press with strong dribbling and quick passes. The Cowboys worked to score quickly when given the chance; resetting in a zone in the final minutes. The defensive traps closed gaps as the Comets spread the floor. The gaps enabled the Cowboys to foul quickly in an effort to steal the ball or put the Comets at the free-throw line. Quick touch passes after the Comets broke the press opened layups as Hillcrest kept the Cowboys away with a 10 point difference, trading baskets in the final minutes. The clock ran out with Hillcrest playing the way they started the game, never opening the door for Breckenridge to assert themselves for a lead.

In post-game interviews Chris Tungseth praised his team. Social media posts celebrating the Senior's achievement in setting the single game scoring record were quickly followed with comments from Chris thanking God and acknowledging his teammates. The team's ball movement and transition offense provided Chris a host of scoring opportunities, which he took advantage of by shooting 65% from the floor and 83% from the free throw line. 

Hillcrest takes their 91-78 non-conference win and stacks it on the shelf beside 14 others. They look forward to 2 more games this week as they continue their march to playoffs.

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Aasness Sets the Bar as Lady Comets Shift Gears in 57-25 Rout of Rothsay

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Aasness Sets the Bar as Lady Comets Shift Gears in 57-25 Rout of Rothsay

"Megan Aasness played one of the best games I've ever seen a Hillcrest Girl's Basketball player play," said Head Coach Kendra Grothmann when thinking back on the game. The Lady Comets took a 38-14 lead to a 57-25 win, unleashing stifling defense and disciplined scoring in the second half.

Aasness raised the bar for up-and-coming Lady Comets. Her 15 points were a game high, finding buckets through the lane and at the elbow as she hit important shots consistently for her team. Aasness also led on the defensive side, where she halted series after series by Rothsay, moving her feet to keep defenders at bay as they looked to penetrate beyond the Comet first wave of defenders. Aasness also led her team with 8 assists, showing a versatility that is becoming a cornerstone for the Lady Comets who are turning a corner on their season.

Due to Aasness' defense, and the efforts by the Comet backcourt, Rothsay consistently took bad shots throughout the evening. Failing to find open lanes, the Tigers were forced to throw attempts at their bucket that benefitted Hillcrest's front court. Emma Royce and Abigail Christenson pulled down 6 and 7 rebounds, respectively. 

As Aasness set the tone for the game, Hillcrest's underclassmen followed suit. Anna Newman earned 10 points, hitting a tone setting three pointer in the first half. Ruthanne Erickson continued her confident march on Hillcrest's court, looking forward to taking a leadership role next year after watching Aasness blaze a trail for her this year. Erickson hit two important three pointers in the first half that catapulted the Comets to a level Rothsay was unable to follow.

The win is only the second by a Comet team that runs stride-for-stride with every team they've played through the first half. The Comets are building their bench to shift gears in the second half to enable a score that more honestly reflects the pace and effort in the game. Most games have fallen out of reach for the Comets in the closing minutes as Hillcrest runs out of players and energy from their 9 person varsity squad.

Hillcrest looks forward to a strong march to playoffs on Tuesday at Parkers Prairie, a game they lost earlier in the season by a meager 10 points. The Comets are better conditioned and have played well together as of late. The 7:15pm tipoff marks a full week of basketball where the Comets look to reset their table for an underdog presence in march madness. 

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Students Join Church In Demystifying Same-Sex Affront to Church and Culture

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Students Join Church In Demystifying Same-Sex Affront to Church and Culture

The Supreme Court slapped the Christian Church in the face this summer. After the Court passed the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, allowing same-sex marriage across the Union, a light shone on the Church and revealed a list of failures. Mr. Preston’s sociology class is studying the moral shift that allowed same-sex marriage. This week the class attended a special presentation at the Church of the Lutheran Brethren Seminary to receive clarity.

 

How did this happen? How will this impact the world? How will it affect the church? These are questions Dr. Roy Atwood worked through last Monday at the seminary’s annual January seminar (J-term). Students carrying backpacks and donning Ugg boots sat next to pastors in suit coats and ties. High school students and leaders of the Lutheran Brethren wrestled through the same questions, working to find purpose in spite of the difficult topic, side by side. The diversity in age and ethnicity proved that the Supreme Court's ruling impacts everyone in society.

Atwood worked through the Obergefell case, explaining what the ruling shows. He commented on the case being a turning point; Christian sexual ethics and morality officially lost favor in the eyes of many Americans, but he said this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Atwood noted how the church failed, not in its doctrine, but its practices. He said the church failed to give the truth in Word and deed.

Atwood clarified that a new player is subbing in for Christianity in America's field of belief. Inclusive humanism, the belief that man can find meaning and significance without any recourse to gods or transcendence, is the new player taking valuable time in the lives of Americans, replacing the church. Atwood said humanism is pulsing in our society. But we should have seen this coming, according the J-term presenter. Relativism and tolerance are becoming cardinal virtues in society because, while the church has been half-hearted in its mission, the humanists have been zealous for theirs, culturally and sexually, said Atwood.

Atwood said this new player in society is big and popular, it’s making conservatives the minority, keeping them hushed up. This is not a liberation of sexual orientation, but it is literally a moral order of bondage sustained by political tyranny. It’s a suppression of the controversy views. But this doesn’t change the job of the Christian Church, it will not change its morals or beliefs. Atwood presented that the church is given a chance to step up to the plate and show Christ's love and truth. Instead of conforming to society’s new cultural order, Atwood urged J-term attendees to live apart and create their own culture.

This is a hard issue to swallow, but understanding the world students live in is never simple, and the importance to dissect society’s beliefs can be the difference between life and death. The students in sociology aren’t kept from the reality of the culture our society brings but are well informed giving them a chance to choose for themselves to conform or to become a rebel, a threat to society’s norms.

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Knowledge Bowl Blasts Competition in Second Meet of the Season

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Knowledge Bowl Blasts Competition in Second Meet of the Season

Hillcrest took to their pencils in the written round of Tuesday's competition with a stern look on their face. Coming in fourth place stung for nearly a month, after the lead team sputtered through Concordia's meet in December. When the pencils hit the table Tuesday, Hillcrest's knowledgebowlers stood up and shook each other's hands. It was a new year and a new season, and they are ready.

Lucas and Hans Holzner, Thomas Martinson, and Luke Bowman make up Hillcrest's top team. After the written round they walked down the hall to the top quiz room. They held a commanding lead as the door shut and the two other teams huddled around the buzzer strip.

Hillcrest's other top team is made of Daniel Preston, Reggie Undseth, Matthew Lein, and Samuel Isaac. The two teams bring a great deal of experience, many students are 4 year competitors as they enter their Junior year in high school. The second team finished in 5th place following the written round. Their eyes were set on the door down the hallway, the one that had Hillcrest's top team sitting in it. Their 5th place seat was hard to sit in as they took to the first round of competition. 

Questions fired at the students throughout the day. Hillcrest's top team held their lead and built momentum throughout the competition. After the first oral round their two point lead diminished, carrying them into second place. Rounds 3 and 4 were more promising as the top Comet team outscored their opponents by a total of 15 points.

The Comets' other top team came on in the late rounds, following the top team's lead. They scored a total of 26 points in the final rounds, finishing in third place, ahead of 4 other school's top teams. 

Hillcrest placed 3 teams in the top 10. The third team finished in 8th place, with Zackary Zwiers, Eric Konynenbelt, Daniel Isaac, Samuel Ihrke, and Shantanu Mallick representing Hillcrest. The fourth Hillcrest team brought home 17th place, with Ellen Jacobs, Sammi Debates, Lexi Tungseth, and Ashley Jarvi represented. 

24 teams competed in the competition from 6 different schools in the area. The Comets are looking to earning a State berth for the second year in a row as they eye the March sub-region competitions.

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Comets Post Season Low Stats in Closest Game of the Season in Underwood

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Comets Post Season Low Stats in Closest Game of the Season in Underwood

"Good ball game at the Underwood gym tonight," said Hillcrest Coach Gregg Preston after his team shot a season low 38% and lost the rebound battle in Underwood. Even scoring buoyed Hilllcrest as Comet sharp-shooter Tommy Thompson emerged with late-game heroics to give Hillcrest the 65-55 win. 

Comet alumnus Jesse Arbuckle shot his Rocket team in the arm as they emerged from the locker room to start the game. Falling down 18 in the first half, the Rockets battled the entire night against a traditionally sharp-shooting Comet team. Arbuckle watched leaders Adam Thormodson and Jarrett Werner post 15 points a piece. Thormodson proved difficult for the Comets to handle, posting a double-double with 15 rebounds to match his 15 points. 

Hillcrest clearly came to play in the first half. They jumped out to a lead and kept Underwood at arms length for most of the night despite poor shooting. Chris Tungseth, the player Hillcrest turns to when the game is within reach, was off for most of the night. He left the court with 15 points on 6/16 (38%) shooting. 

With Tungseth struggling from the floor Hillcrest saw the 2017 seniors step-up. Kyler Newman has played in Tungseth's shadow for most of the season. The two provide a powerful one-two setup for Hillcrest. Tungseth plays with aggression, streaking through the court with purposed steps as he punishes the ball in his dribbling. Newman plays with cat-like agility and provides a smooth guard alternative to Tungseth's punishing play, keeping teams off-balanced on the perimeter. Newman was essential for the Comets on Thursday night, his catlike play saw him streak through the lane and march down the court to the beat of 11 points and 5 rebounds. Preston said Newman's play in the lane was a difference maker for Hillcrest.

The balanced play of Hillcrest is something Preston is looking for as his team begins the march to playoffs. While Newman and Tungseth dart to the rim with quick steps and pull-up jumpers, Tommy Thompson is seen setting his feet in preparation for a pass. Thompson kept the Rockets off-balance with his perimeter spot-up. He hit 50% of his shots, pulling out 16 points and 4 defensive rebounds in spite of a poor night shooting behind the arc (1 for 6). 

Hillcrest's perimeter shooting was cold. The normally hot-shooting Comets only hit 6 of 26 shots from the three-point line. Junior Sean McGuire casted 8 of his own shots behind the arc as Underwood pulled their defense off the small forward as he stood on the perimeter. McGuire knocked down 3 of his 8 shots, earning 14 points for the night in what proved to be a hard-fought battle.

In the waning minutes Underwood put together a scoring push. They cut an 18 point deficit to 4 points. Junior Tommy Thompson took over, knocking down a critical three-pointer and hitting a pair of clutch freethrows to put the game on the shelf with Underwood focused on Tungseth, Newman, and McGuire.

Hillcrest steps to 14-0 on the season with the win. Fans saw a disciplined Comet team Thursday night as Preston focuses on fundamental aspects of the team's offensive and defensive play. Preston's work is creating a precision team as the Comets continue to play each game to improve in specific aspects of their game. Thursday night revealed a team that, normally would be built around one dominant player, as a group of young men who are all stepping in to play their roles and provide points where necessary. The Comets look forward to Breckenridge in a home battle Tuesday night at 7:30pm. 

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MLK was Trending Before Dial-up

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MLK was Trending Before Dial-up

Bill Hudson/AP

Bill Hudson/AP

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) went viral before the internet. Civil Rights, his message, formed a trending topic before hashtags and starter packs. Through mass media communications he gained followers as he humanized desegregation.  

Before Twitter, newspapers and radio broadcasting were main platforms to communicate to mass populations. In Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath, Diane McWhorter recalls, "James Bevel, dropped off leaflets at all black high schools around the country: 'come to 16th Street Baptist Church at noon on Thursday. Don't ask permission.' The city's most popular disc jockey sent out a message to his young listeners: 'Kids there's gonna be a party at the park.'"Civil Rights started its march outside the scope of mass media and began trending when it involved youth.

Civil Rights started its march outside the scope of mass media and began trending when it involved youth.
AP

AP

The children skipped school and arrived in hoards at the 16th Street church. Firemen were hesitant. They had been instructed to use firehoses as crowd controlling devices. When they turned the water on the children it sent them sprawling in every direction, the force of the spray tore the marchers' clothes from their backs. The police department used dogs as well as horses. The German Shepherds came snarling, held back by their thin leashes. One lunged at a boy, who did nothing to defend himself. Photojournalists captured the moment of aggression. The photo ran on the front page of every newspaper around the country. This is how the nation knew that civil rights protests were more than just  people holding signs in the streets, it was human beings standing up to injustice. The issue was no longer some obscure movement in the deep south, it was a national issue, because of a picture that went viral without Instagram or Facebook. 

MLK used the press and media to broaden the audience of his fight for justice. He was successful because his ideas were thought-provoking and sharable. He attracted like-minded people and built a base of followers. He had a dream for his children, and for the future of America. King grew to embody a real-life 'Mockingjay': showing the public what was really happening; how actual human beings were being treated, and why justice is worth fighting for. 

A USA Today poll showed people born between 1982 and 2000 (millennials) are the most civic-minded generation since those born in the 1930’s-40s, MLK’s generation.
AP

AP

Since  today's generation is paving the way with digital communication, the thought is that young people are narcissistic. But a USA Today poll showed people born between 1982 and 2000 (the group of young people termed "millennials") are the most civic-minded generation since those born in the 1930's-40s, MLK's generation. One of many books written on millennials, Generation We, says  they believe in political engagement, and that government can be a powerful source for good. Students at Hillcrest today are predicted to develop in such a way that they make society great. The world can be changed, possibly faster because of the pace of media today. A strong moral conscience is evident in the upcoming generation; humanity is as important to citizens now as it has ever been. King's example teaches that social media, which is at students' fingertips, being mastered through daily posts in social media, can be used to spread meaningful messages, and promote good over evil.

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Comets Steal the Ball 20 times, and Assist Teammates 28, in Most Complete Game of the Season

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Comets Steal the Ball 20 times, and Assist Teammates 28, in Most Complete Game of the Season

Fans filed into Hillcrest's student activities center hoping to see more aggressive basketball by what is becoming one of Hillcrest's most prolific scoring teams. Posting 96 points in three games since Christmas, Chris Tungseth led his team in a different way, supporting Hillcrest by cheering friends to a 92-41 win over the Rothsay Tigers.

As the Comets ran through a tunnel of fans, following their pre-game chant by the locker room, players adjusted shots and practiced their footwork before their battle with the Tigers. The attention to detail in warmups carried through to opening tip and ultimately the final buzzer. 

Hillcrest's layup and jump shot drills propelled their team to another night of hot shooting. The Comets made every other shot on the night, scoring a 50% on 36-of-72 shooting. Tommy Thompson displayed a shooters mindset, scoring 16 points, 12 from the three point line, in leading the Comets' scoring. Sean McGuire, Reggie Undseth and Nate Frustol scored 13, 12, and 11 respectively, revealing a Comet lineage building in the ranks as Tungseth and Jordan Foss continue to lead the undefeated Comets. 

Tungseth and Foss led Hillcrest in pre-game warm-ups. After layups the two stood on the baseline and faced the wall, getting into an athletic stance and shuffling their feet. This leadership set the stage for their underclassman teammates, evident in the Comets stealing the ball an eye-popping 20 times.

After opening tip it was clear to see the Comets shift their attention from a team built around their senior leadership, to a holistic team that plays together. Tungseth stepped back and provided 12 points, 6 from behind the arc, while Foss chipped in with a three pointer. Hillcrest's team put 11 players in the scoring column for the night, showing the consistency of play from Hillcrest's bench as the team's shooting percentage didn't change from previous nights where Hillcrest relied on senior leadership.

Hillcrest dominated the glass again on the night, something indicative of Hillcrest teams. Defensive rebounds are talked-up in the locker-room, and when the Comets pull down 26 on the night, ending Rothsay drives a total of 46 times when the steals are factored in, there is a lot of talking. 

The Comets also celebrated 28 assists, 8 coming from Junior Kyler Newman, whose name is usually announced in the loud speakers after the Comets score two points. Newman's 8 assists couple with his 5 rebounds and 10 points, revealing how even the Comets played across their lineup for the night. 

Hillcrest travels to Wheaton to play Wheaton/Herman-Norcross in a double-header Saturday with the Lady Comets. Game time for the boys is 5:30pm.

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Lady Comets Bring Clutch Shooting to 63-59 Overtime Thriller

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Lady Comets Bring Clutch Shooting to 63-59 Overtime Thriller

Coach Kendra Grothmann didn't sleep well last night. Her adrenaline was likely pumping after she watched her Lady Comets take control in overtime to beat the Ashby Arrows 63-59.

After a tough weekend of Basketball the Lady Comets showed-up in a big way Tuesday night. Some tears were shed as they watched a manageable game versus Park Christian slip through their fingers. A tough practice Monday brought a Comet team to the court Tuesday with a sense that a new season could dawn against Ashby.

The Comets jumped out early. Displaying a prowess on the court that is becoming a trademark for Grothmann's team, the Lady Comets stuck neck-and-neck with Ashby. Going up two at the half, the Comets looked like they have for nearly every game this season. Hillcrest's girls basketball this year sticks with teams, but finds themselves running on fumes in the final minutes. Not Tuesday night.

Falling down as many at 9 points in the second half, the Lady Comets showed incredible mettle. Strong guard play opened lanes for quick steps inside the lane where contested shots put the Lady Comets at the free-throw line. "Megan (Aasness) went 7-for-9 from the line and Ruthanne (Erickson) was 9-for-12," noted Grothmann. "Aasness and Erickson really led the way for us."

The girls pulled away with tough man-to-man full court pressure defense in overtime, forcing some turnovers. We also hit our free throws in overtime.
— Comet Coach Kendra Grothmann

Hillcrest's guard play and strong defense left them with a 3-point lead with seconds on the clock. Walking away from the huddle following an Ashby time-out the Lady Comets set to defend. After some crisp passes by the Arrows the Comets hung below the arc, avoiding fouling and allowing Ashby to pass the ball around the horn. With time dwindling on the clock the ball landed in the hands of Arrow 8th grader Courtney Koefod. Koefod quickly launched a three, with Comet defenders looking on to avoid the foul. Seconds expired as the ball landed in the net, sending the game into overtime.

Grothmann's girls felt the sting of Saturday's loss to Park Christian. Grothmann noted that Saturday's game was lost, not because Park Christian outplayed the Comets, but because the Comets quit playing. Knowing this, a spark lit in the huddle as the Comets walked to mid-court to setup for the overtime tip-off.

As the ball launched into the air Junior Ruthanne Erickson darted to field it. The Comets watched as Ruthanne took over the overtime period, scoring 7 of the Comets' 9 points in overtime. With the Lady Comets watching Ruthanne dominate the offensive sets, they setup for a series of defensive stands. "The girls pulled away with tough man-to-man full court pressure," Grothmann reminisced. "We also hit our free throws in overtime."

The defensive wall the Comets created separated them from the Arrows, earning the Lady Comets their first win of the season, 63-59. Erickson led the Comets with 22 points and 4 steals. Aasness provided 17 points with 8 assists and fellow guard Susanna Preston earned 2 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. The Comets received consistent play from Olivia Foss (7 pts.), Emma Royce (9pts, 7rbds), and Abigail Christenson (6pts, 10rbds).

The Comets play at Battle Lake on Friday and Wheaton on Saturday.

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Comets Right Ship on Offense and Continue +50% shooting effort

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Comets Right Ship on Offense and Continue +50% shooting effort

The Comets followed an important game versus Battle Lake with another tough contest in perennial contender Park Christian. After turning the ball over 19 times Friday night the Comets looked to do a better job controlling the ball and maintaining their composure on the offensive side. The scoreboard told only half the story, with an 87-63 final after Hillcrest tied-up loose ends from the night before.

The Comets quickly set out to control the game as the visiting Falcons from Park Christian looked to knock-off the state ranked Comets. Quickly asserting themselves to control the game, Hillcrest found nearly immediate success in breaking down the Falcon defense. 

Kyler Newman took his supporting role costume and hung it up against the Falcons. In a Jekyl and Hyde performance over the back-to-back game weekend, Newman posted 27 points, going 4 for 6 from behind the arc and 9 for 15 from the floor. The Falcons couldn't contain Newman's quick-step dribbles that created immediate separation which he used to earn points and collect 5 assists to teammates. 

Senior Chris Tungseth continued his normal dominance on the court, playing at a different level than most teams. Tungseth hit 14 shots from the floor, 7 three-pointers, in his march to 35 points, giving him 75 points in the past two games. A strange confidence falls over the Comets when Chris is on the floor, and his aggressive dribbling and wry smile are contagious for fans who enjoy watching the Comets consistently hit half the shots they cast into the air. 

The Comets gave-up 19 possessions unfettered to the Battlers on Friday night. The Comet team walking on the court Saturday looked a little different. Possessions were more precious, where they only lost 10 balls to turnovers. The Comets continued to cut-short their opponents' offensive series by pulling down 21 rebounds on defense. The game felt different to fans too, who saw the Comets look up to transition more readily as the team pulled together 12 steals for the night.

Hillcrest looks to continue to sharpen their game as they host Rothsay Thursday night. 

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Comets Out Gun Battlers in 91-79 Possession Duel

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Comets Out Gun Battlers in 91-79 Possession Duel

The Comets stand back-to-back with the Battlers for control of their Section nearly every year. The teams take proverbial steps each season away from each other, usually with great pace as they match, step for step, the progress and success of each other. Friday night's game was a quick-draw that saw Hillcrest dominate possessions and prove to be the hot hand in the section as of late. The 91-79 game will go down as one of the most entertaining of the season.

From the opening tip is was clear that the Comets were going to stake their claim for the game on the offensive side of the court. Quick passes around the perimeter displayed a sense of urgency on the Comet side to get the ball in the air and crash the boards. The Comets are known for long possessions and breaking down defenses. This season, Hillcrest is taking to quick shots and increase in possessions.

The change of pace for the Comets is opening incredible opportunities for their skill players. Tommy Thompson, a gym rat for the Comets whose work this off-season is evident on the court, shot a startling 67% from behind the arc. His ability to read screens and create separation opened the door for 18 points in his column.

Kyler Newman played the role of hero in the game, offering six assists to teammates and provided 11 points to the Comet total. While Newman only hit four of his twelve shots, his consistent guard play opened the door for other Comet slashers to put points on the board. 

Reggie Undseth benefitted from Newman's play, providing 10 points for the Comets. Fellow Junior Sean McGuire also contributed 10 points, earning a double-double with his work in the paint as he pulled down 10 rebounds. 

Chris Tungseth also earned a double-double as he saw a team of Juniors follow his lead on the court. 16 rebounds and 40 points proved Tungseth the X-factor for the Comets who saw Chris take the game over in the second half. NBA three-point shots demoralized the Battlers, who have lost four games since mid-December, watching their State ranking and Section title hopes diminish as the season wares. 

Hillcrest shot a startling 50% from the floor, taking 70 shots on the night. Of those 70 shots, nearly half were 3-pointers, where the Comets made 38% of their shots, contributing 36 points to their 91 point total. 

The Comets look forward to a double-header versus Park Christian Saturday, sharing the afternoon with their girls' teams. They hope to right some challenges on offense, where 19 turnovers allowed more possessions for the Battlers, who also struggled on the offensive side of the ball where Hillcrest dominated the glass, pulling down 29 defensive rebounds. 

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Kendra Overcomes Unstable College Life Through Identity in Love of Christ

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Kendra Overcomes Unstable College Life Through Identity in Love of Christ

"I had been captured by God's amazing love for me despite what I did," Kendra started as students passed by the main office desk. "I would get as close to sin as possible without going over...do just enough to still be in control."

I had been captured by God’s amazing love for me despite what I did...I would get as close to sin as possible, without going over...do just enough to still be in control.
— Kendra Grothmann

Kendra's fight for acceptance started in high school. Getting the right friends, those people who would make her look good, directed her through high school and college. Losing friends and damaging her popular reputation captivated Kendra's thoughts, driving her to avoid anything that might jeopardize her social status.  Her college battle for popularity came to a head her freshman year, when she reflected on her actions one night in her dorm room.

Sitting despondent in a University of North Dakota dorm room, Kendra fought to remain in control. Leaving a party early left her alone in her dorm room, where her mind raced. She started calling people, asking where they were, looking for someone to spend time with and keep her mind off herself. Kendra fought the thoughts that raced through her mind and kept calling friends, wanting distraction. A Christian friend answered one of the many calls for companionship that Kendra cast out. The friend never went out with Kendra to parties, but always called to make sure Kendra was safe in the aftermath. Kendra couldn't hide the effects of her night out, so the friend made a special trip to Kendra's dorm room, insisting that Kendra not go anywhere. By the time the friend arrived, Kendra was asleep.

The next morning, Kendra found her friend sleeping on Kendra's roommate's bed.  Kendra woke her up and simply said, thank you. The friend ministered to Kendra throughout the morning, showing care and support for Kendra.  Their mid-morning talk shed a light on Kendra's life. Kendra realized that while she may have claimed she was a Christian, her actions clearly did not reflect her faith. The conversation led to the question, "what do you have to lose by giving everything to the Lord?"

The post-party talk with her friend was not Kendra's turning point, but it started her toward the path of truth. The path was long and difficult for Kendra, but consistent mentorship and living a life of prayer and discipline has opened the doors wider for the Holy Spirit to greatly transform Kendra's heart. 

what do you have to lose by giving everything to the Lord?
— Kendra Grothmann

Now a committed follower of Christ, Kendra displays her life-change through her dedication to Jesus Christ, at Hillcrest. She ministers to the girls at Hillcrest, arranging a full-day Spiritual retreat during formations day as a simple testimony to her servant heart and desire to share Jesus with the girls. She coaches Girls' Basketball, and is planning to attend Bethel Church's mission trip to Mexico again. Kendra notes that these experiences lead her to realize that her life is not her own. She says, "I should freely give my life away because thatís what the Lord did for me."

The love Kendra has for people is overflowing and pours endlessly into her life and work.  The message she wants everyone to hear is that God pursues students daily, persistent in his search for them.  Even if it doesn't look well, students need to continue in obedience to Christ because His truth is consistent and never changes. Kendra believes that in a culture that is constantly changing, there is no more consistent a message than the love of Jesus found in the Bible?

While her job can be daunting, as Kendra sees the best and worst moments in the lives of the girls in the dorms, her loving and mentoring heart cannot care more for them. She says that when someone comes to her with a problem, "you care so much that you think, 'how can I come alongside you?'" Seeing the girls struggling has continued to be one of the worst things for Kendra at Hillcrest. The tears she shares with the girls carry over to the whole dorm family, and Kendra uses her past experiences, coupled with her new knowledge and relationship with Jesus,  to mentor and teach them.

She notes, "God is using me here, and as long as He is doing that, why would I go anywhere else?"

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Coach Preston Leads Life of Example After College Faith Test

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Coach Preston Leads Life of Example After College Faith Test

"Is Christianity what I should put my faith in?" Gregg Preston's simple question rattled in his head, repeated like a broken record during his college years. The query haunted him, but was used by God to kick start his search for truth, something that drives him as a teacher and something he teaches students with expert precision. 

Mr. Preston encountered professors proclaiming fallacies about the Bible through his undergraduate work in Wisconsin. The professors used the Bible in an effort to show inconsistencies in the Scripture.

These men, tasked with preparing the next generation of teachers, proclaimed that truth was found in their secular training. Men like Charles Darwin were often quoted on Preston's University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC) campus. Classroom instructions provoked questions that resonated in his mind. "How do we know that the Bible is accurate and truthful?" "Is the Biblical account of creation true, or is Darwinian evolution a historical fact?" Similarly phrased questions varied the theme of God's validity. A cloud of despair and disbelief fell over Mr. Preston as he sat in his college classrooms.

He felt a new pressure, realizing that the more he read in Romans the more he was on trial. In his quest for truth he stood guilty.

"No one had answers around me," recalls Preston. He found himself stuffing his backpack with books, both ancient and modern, that contained insights on his hefty questions. The dusty companions he huffed around the UWEC campus helped decode some uncertainties, but he wasn't content.

A history professor threw another dispute intoMr. Preston's pool of inquiries.  Were the Gospels really written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, 30 - 60 years after Jesus died? Or, were the Biblical accounts of Jesus' words and miracles written hundreds of year later by a cult of writers referred to as Source Q? Thoughts from credible sources led Mr. Preston to ask if the Gospels were a product of writing by a cult for fame and fortune. 

Mr. Preston's head began spinning. He dove into research on Source Q. What was it?  What did it say about the Gospels? His intense quest for truth created a more haunting and prominent question. Is there enough evidence for Source Q to force Mr. Preston to ditch his faith? 

In books, classroom time with professors, and articles strewn about his dorm room, Mr. Preston was left empty-handed. Despite loud questions he fielded from friends, professors, and his conscience, he struggled to find any hard evidence for a Source Q. He felt unique reassurance that the Gospels, something he heard repeatedly in his childhood, are true. A new sense of passion rushed over him as he continued his search for the reliability of truth.

Thumbing through his Bible, Mr. Preston was struck by the graphic words in Romans 1. The first chapter of Paul's apologetic to the Roman culture describes the extreme depravity of man. Man was found gossiping, participating in evil, and slandering God. Mr. Preston read on. He felt a new pressure, realizing that the more he read in Romans the more he was on trial. In his quest for truth he stood guilty. He realized the extreme need he had for Christ. God spoke to him, saying, "Are you really going to shipwreck your faith for this life?" 

Preston did not have an aha moment, where the clouds mysteriously retreat and truth, like a bright blinding light, shines more radiant that the sun. Instead, a still silent confidence stayedhis faith. He attributes this feeling to God, not his own work to prove God faithful. Slowly, through prayer and studying the Word, Mr. Preston turned his heart to Jesus.

Romans 8:1 declares, "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." This message has an eternal significance for all of mankind, something students sitting in Mr. Preston's classroom realize. Now the teacher, Mr. Preston starts students on the quest for truth by calling them to see that God made mankind in His image. Looking through history with Mr. Preston reveals that mankind turns away from God time and time again, dragging image bearers of God into despair and confusion. But Mr. Preston's face lights up when he directs students to see the theme of his own story; that when mankind looks to the cross and searches for the Lord with the entirety of their heart, God makes himself known.

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Comets Pull-off 7th Consecutive Double-Digit Win In Oust of Section Rival

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Comets Pull-off 7th Consecutive Double-Digit Win In Oust of Section Rival

Hillcrest jumped out to a 27-8 lead over the Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (NCE/UH) Eagles Tuesday night. Strong defense and quick scoring opened the doors for Hillcrest to maintain their streak of beating teams by five buckets each night they walk on the court. 

Hillcrest started the game in a classic fashion, with Kyler Newman soaring to tip the ball and the Comets scoring a quick bucket in the opening seconds. Hillcrest has not had a problem getting up for big games. Their December 10th game against then #10 Waubun made a statement statewide where a near 30 point victory was led by the Comets ability to set the tone early. Tuesday was much of the same. 

Quick feet on the edge of the court forced the Eagles to make poor choices in the opening minutes. A time out early in the half had Hillcrest fans looking at the scoreboard and seeing a near 20 point lead. But NCE/UH is a section favorite for a reason. Strong physical play inside forced Hillcrest to redirect their game plan and allowed the Eagles an opportunity to bounce back from the deficit. 

Midway through the first half the Eagles managed a series of buckets, working to keep pace with a Comet team that averages 79 points per game. Going into a lockout mode, the Eagles fought for dominance in the paint. Hillcrest turned to their skilled perimeter shooters, taking 25 shots behind the arc for the night. Chris Tungseth led the way, building good separation from NCE/UH defenders by jumping off screens and catching the ball ready to shoot. Tungseth casted 8 shots in three-point territory, connecting on half of them. He finished the night with a game high 30 points. The Comets went to the locker room with a comfortable 44-26 lead at the half. 

The Eagles made key adjustments in the second half, starting more aggressive as the whistle blew to start the final minutes of 2015 basketball. An aggressive front forced Hillcrest to look elsewhere for shots they made in the first half. Hillcrest responded with a defensive front of their own. Clamping down on the perimeter, Hillcrest diverted the Eagles attempts, keeping the game from becoming an elbow-bashing lay-up contest. The Comets won the position game on the perimeter, forcing bad passes that were picked-up as turnovers. Hillcrest pulled together 10 steals as a team on the night. 

We had a very nice start tonight after out two week break as we jumped out to a 28-7 lead. We felt good about our team effort against a well-balanced, well-coached and physical NCE/UH team
— Gregg Preston

The Eagles shifted their offensive game plan, looking to sit the Comets down by posting more shots. Their efforts led Hillcrest to the weak side of the basket, where white jerseys pulled down Eagles' shots, turning the ball up the court for Comet offensive series. Hillcrest dominated the glass on the night, pulling down 33 rebounds as a team, 22 on defense. Kyler Newman and Sean McGuire benefitted from boxing out and slashing to the glass. Newman is known to jump over defenders in a hungry attempt to control the ball after a shot. His 7 rebounds were second only to Tungseth, who posted a double-double effort for the Comets, 30 points and 12 rebounds.

Hillcrest turned the ball over 9 times in their first game after a two week break from the court. "We had a very nice start tonight," noted Comet Coach Gregg Preston in acknowledging the two week hiatus his team experienced before Tuesday's game. "We felt good about our team effort against a well-balanced, well-coached and physical NCE/UH team". The Comets close 2015 undefeated after a tough road win in Twin Valley, 66-50.

Hillcrest holds the only undefeated record in Section 6, after Battle Lake lost a series of games following their hot start to the season. The Comets play Ashby on January 5 before facing off against the section favorite Battle Lake Battlers on Friday, January 8 at 7:15pm in Hillcrest's Student Activities Center. The game will livestream at www.ffhillcrest.org/livestream.

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Persecuted Christians Unable to Find Home in Country Founded By Christian Refugees

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Persecuted Christians Unable to Find Home in Country Founded By Christian Refugees

Christian refugees have no home. Christian men, women, and children's lives are being wrenched away before their eyes. Their houses burst into flames. Their neighbors disappear. Their family is tortured all because they believe Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior. Thousands of persecuted Christians are fleeing the turmoil in Syria in an attempt to save their lives. But they have nowhere to go. 

Turkey is the immediate getaway country for any Syrian refugee. Its connecting borders make an easy escape for citizens hiding from the wrath of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Turkey is home to over 1.7 million Syrian refugees today according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. But Syrian Christians are not safe to practice their faith in Islamic-based Turkey. Because of the rush of immigrants, refugees dart the landscape of Turkey's borders in large refugee camps. Syrian Christians fear going to the relief camps, "because (of) who is going to the camps," says Sleiman Saikali, program officer for the U.S. Bishops' Relief and Development Agency. Saikali told the National Catholic Reporter that Fundamentalist Muslims occupy the relief camps and threaten Christians in similar ways to Muslim extremists in Syria. This foreboding cataclysm causes Syrian Christians to live in a continual state of limbo. 

Christians looked to Europe to open its borders and secure the stranded families. 12 European countries currently allow refugees sanctuary, according to Inquisitor.com. But when havoc spilled in the streets of France, the continent was rocked. The borders of France, Austria, Hungary, and Holland immediately shut down. England's The Daily Mail reported Germany forcibly reinstating a mandatory passport and background check on all immigrants for the first time in 20 years. 

Many believe a culture and history of Christianity is being wiped off the planet before our eyes. Syria holds some of the oldest churches and longest lineages of Christian converts in the world today. It is becoming clear that if these faithful servants of the Lord are forced to survive in the Middle East any longer they will perish.

In a last attempt the Christian refugees look to the United States. Recent reports from The State Department show only 1 Christian Syrian has found asylum in the United States since the Paris attack. The United States has allowed 383 Syrians across the border in the same time span. 10% of Syria is reportedly Christian, and President Obama looks to grant asylum to 10,000 Syrians in 2016, with no special attention paid to their religious preference. Released reports say 6 of the 674 refugees that have been granted asylum as part of the 10,000 are Christian.

As the world searches for special interest groups to support, Syrian Christians are huddling under trees in fear of extremist attacks. They're leaving their home country in droves in an effort to continue practicing their faith. With secular governments treating religion like a plague, the push against Syrian Christians is rising like a tidal wave that is growing to a tsunami as it nears the shores of the United States, a country founded on the backs of Christian converts seeking asylum to practice their faith without persecution.

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Lady Comets Stand Defensively in Building Character of Team Despite 55-39 Loss

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Lady Comets Stand Defensively in Building Character of Team Despite 55-39 Loss

Kendra Grothmann is quickly establishing the character of teams she coaches. Strong defensive stands that pack a ton of aggression into 45 seconds of quick feet and high hands is a defining characteristic of the Lady Comets this year. It's enabling them to stand tall against some of the best competition in girl's basketball, and it kept them close to Underwood in their 55-39 loss Friday night.

The Lady Comets came out of the gate with a number of tough defensive stands. High hands enabled them to force 7 steals for the night from 5 different girls. The deflected passes opened lanes for the Comets who pushed the ball up the court and found Underwood sitting in on their defensive stance. Tough work around the perimeter opened lanes for posts Emma Royce and Abigail Christenson. The work inside saw the Comet pull-up for 41 shots inside the paint.

The Comets' work in the box translated to the defensive end, where they pulled down 21 rebounds. Royce was strong for the Comets, coming back from knee surgery after a high school career that is tattered with injuries. Royce wears the injuries well, knee braces and ankle wraps dart across her legs as she quickly closes-out on defenders and boxes out in the paint. Her work near the rim earned her a team high 12 points.

Royce found her stride in the paint due to more consistent guard play by fellow Senior Megan Aasness. Aasness continues to be a lynch pin for the Comets on defense, with an ability to turn defenders and redirect passes. On the offensive side she continues to lead the Comets with a strength in the backcourt that isn't afraid to break a press or command a side of the court with her dribble or strong passing. Grothmann appreciates Aasness' attitude on the court, where she functions in a high output position, putting in 51 minutes on the night.

The Comets kept the game close through the first half in their first showdown with Underwood, scoring 21 points to the Rockets' 27. Underwood pulled away, thanks to a deeper bench. Hillcrest played 7 girls for the night, working to keep pace with Underwood's starters. The difference in the game was Kenzie Aasness and Breanna Tinjum, who scored their combined 16 points in the final eighteen minutes of the game, deciding Hillcrest's 55-39 fate. 

The Lady Comets face Brandon-Evansville Tuesday at Hillcrest at 7:15pm.

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Preston Finds 400th Win as Team Hits 17 3-pointers in 102-77 Victory Over State Ranked Team

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Preston Finds 400th Win as Team Hits 17 3-pointers in 102-77 Victory Over State Ranked Team

It was one of those rare games that rarely occurs when both teams shoot the ball and execute so well offensively.
— Coach Gregg Preston | After 400th Win

Coach Gregg Preston stepped away from the whiteboard in the locker room to address his team. "Some of the coaches were saying," he started, looking at his players in the eye after a strong first-half. His following words cut through the excitement of a 52-39 halftime lead over a top 10 team in the Waubun Bombers. But Preston wasn't concerned with the score. His Comets had work to do. Were it not for strong shooting, Preston communicated to his team, they would likely be down 10 points entering the second half. Things had to change.

The first half saw Hillcrest jump out of the gate with aggression. It was clear the Bombers were expecting a different team. Hillcrest played their first few offensive series like they were in a shooting practice. Jumping up 13 points, Hillcrest went to their bench after a Waubun time-out with a clear handle on the game, playing the kind of Basketball that is turning heads in their conference. But Waubun is a top 10 team for a reason. They came out of the huddle and leveled the score, returning to their bench after a Comet timeout that caused fans to wonder if the tables were turning. However, Preston's Comets bounced back. Chris Tungseth and Kyler Newman performed a rare tag-team scoring effort that dominated the following possessions and took-over the game for the Comets.

Hillcrest left the half up 52-39 after stalling a failed final shot attempt by the Bombers. The defensive stand characterized the first half, where Hillcrest worked to stifle a very athletic, very capable Waubun team. Preston's stat sheet showed some big holes that the Comets needed to repair if they hoped to stay on top of the Bombers. Rebounds were few and far between for the Comets, especially on defense where Hillcrest's leaping athleticism was matched man-for-man with Waubun. Hillcrest's guards, known for their ability to grab a rebound and push the ball up the court, were seen holding single fingers in the air to display how many boards they grabbed in the first half. This was a fundamental Coach wanted to address, working to pull-up their work on the glass to match their season average of 39 rebounds per game.

The second half whistle called the Comets to a new level. Up 13 points, Hillcrest's backcourt knew they needed separation. Chris Tungseth was the first to step up and generate some wiggle room for Hillcrest. His hot hand and smooth approach behind the line allowed him to give 7 assists from the outside. Quick passes to Shawn McGuire, who streaked to the low block throughout the night, gave McGuire a season high 20 points as he shot 90% (9/10) from the floor.

McGuire's high percentage shots opened the perimeter for a dazzling night of the Comet long ball. Tungseth led the way with 11 3-pointers, hitting 69% (11/16) from behind the arc. Kyler Newman followed Tungseth's lead as the two fed each other the ball while the Bombers looked to recover from the Comet's inside-out passing game. Newman hit 71% (5/7) of his three point attempts, opening the door for 24 points.

Newman and Tungseth willed the Comets to victory, clearly taking over the game as the Bombers worked to shift gears and reset their game plan throughout the night. Tungseth ended the night with a season high 39 points. His three point shot was on target, providing confidence for a Comet team that shot 58% (39/67) from the floor and 59% (17/29) from behind the arc. Hillcrest closed the game with the scoreboard reading 102-77.

Despite the score, the Comets know they have a lot of work to do. The 102 point tally isn't something that they're focusing on. "It was one of those rare games that rarely occurs when both teams shoot the ball and execute so well offensively," noted Preston in recapping the game. 

Hillcrest ended the game with 31 rebounds, 11 steals and 11 turnovers. The stats reveal a lot of hard work that the Comets are putting in before the Christmas break. Having overcome one of the key hurdles in their early season, Hillcrest looks to tighten their approach to defense, and streamline their execution on the offensive side of the court. Their 25 point victory over a top 10 team is respectable, but their sights are set for something much higher. This disciplined approach to the game is what earned Preston 400 wins; and its what is turning heads in the state as Hillcrest looks to continue to develop their team around focus, toughness, and a godly character as they continue their simple work on the Basketball court. 

Hillcrest looks forward to Brandon-Evansville Tuesday, in Brandon, at 7:15pm.

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