The bus rides are long.

There is no corporate logo splashed around the gymnasium they play in.

Portable bleachers line only one side of the floor.

The roof has been known to leak. The floor can get quite slippery during game play.

And games can get canceled because of an opponent's lack of transportation, as was the case Thursday.

This is the life for an extremely small school called Red Lion Christian.

Thursday, the Swordsmen boys' and Lady Swordsmen girls' basketball teams were set to host a doubleheader against Carlisle Christian Academy. But the Crusaders have just one bus at their school, and it was out of service, leaving the visitors with no way to get to Red Lion.

So, Red Lion Christian was forced to just practice and prepare for its upcoming appearance in the Keystone Christian Education Association Class AAA championship tournament.

"We wanted to have a game," said Red Lion Christian junior Corbin Willard. "We were pumped for a game. It's kind of disappointing."

The Swordsmen boys' team will be a No. 2 seed in the tournament March 1and 2 in West Chester. The team is 18-5.

"We're an up-tempo team. We're quick, that's one of our strengths," head coach Dave Klinedinst said.

The Lady Swordsmen squad is 10-11 and will be a No. 4 seed in the tournament. There is just one senior on the team.

"We're young and learning," Klinedinst said. "We have some girls that this is their first year playing basketball."


Advertisement

Courtney Hollingshead is just in her second year playing basketball and credits her coach for getting her into the sport.

"I hated basketball before, but Coach K was always telling me to try out, so I did," Hollingshead said. "I was terrible at first. But, I ended up starting last year, so I definitely improved."

Klinedinst coaches both the boys' and girls' teams and has done so for more than a decade.

"He's definitely committed to it," Hollingshead said. "He puts a lot of time into coaching both teams."

Klinedinst, who is a science and physical education teacher at the school, added, "I'd feel bad if I chose to coach one team over the other."

The school has about 60 students in ninth through 12th grades, a size that Hollingshead said can bring positives and negatives.

"Everybody knows everything about everyone," Hollingshead said. "It has its ups and downs."

But, on the court, the camaraderie shows.

"We see each other in the hallways every day," Willard said. "I've never been to a public school, so I don't know if they see each other in the hallways there every day. But, we are very close here."

Then there are the games themselves.

In the KCEA, there is no such thing as a backyard rivalry for the Swordsmen. They've faced teams from Maryland and Delaware this season and regularly play teams from the Mechanicsburg, Lebanon and Gettysburg areas.

"The bus rides do get long sometimes," Willard said.

Hollingshead added, "I listen to music, sleep or do people's hair."

When it comes to home games, Red Lion Christian's gym is unique to say the least.

"The floor gets very slippery when it gets a certain temperature," Hollingshead said. "They just redid the ceiling, but water still can sometimes get through and get on the floor. We're used to it."

Willard added, "We've been to schools with carpet floor. We've been to schools that have state-of-the-art floor. Our floor is probably one of the worst."

No matter the playing surface, the Swordsmen are thankful for their familiar cheering section.

"The fans aren't as bad. You know exactly who is in the crowd. It's just more of a family-oriented game," Willard said.