An Inside Look at HC Madness and the 2023 Student Vs. Staff Basketball Game


HC Madness was a night we’ll never forget!

Once every year, Highlands College students go head-to-head with Church of the Highlands and Highlands College staff in a competitive basketball game. Friday, March 24, 2023, was a night to remember. This was the first year Highlands College hosted the game on the new Highlands College campus in the brand new Student Center. The excitement and energy in the room were undeniable as the student body arrived decked out in Highlands College red to support their peers competing in the game. The event began with a pep rally, our first ever in Highlands College history, in which students expressed their school spirit with coordinating outfits and signs. As students arrived for the pep rally, they were welcomed with pre-game activities including games, food trucks, and more! The pep rally festivities were led by students Lizzie Brim & Cade Wilson.



Pictured: Students and HC staff played lawn games before the pep rally.


Pictured: Students ate burgers and other grilled foods from a local Birmingham food truck before the pep rally began.


Pictured: Students decked out in Highlands College red to show school spirit!


Pictured: Students made signs and banners to support their team during the game.


Maddie Womack and Josh Minor were our social media commentators. They updated the Highlands College online fan base with insights, interviews, and quarterly recaps. In a pre-game interview, the coaches commented on what they believed set their team apart:


“What sets our team apart is our students! We’ve had practices throughout the week, and they have grit. They have grit, which takes you far in life.”

– Coach Shannon Zeigler, Students Team.

“The biggest thing we’ve done to prepare is more prepare our minds than our bodies. We have some older players, so there is a lot of wisdom and experience on the court tonight, which I believe will take us far.”

– Coaches Justyn Benton and Hamid Al-Dlaigan, Staff Team.


In the room, this year’s game announcers and emcees for the night were JR Martinez, Lacey Wood, and Cade Wilson. They arrived dressed to impress and flawlessly covered the battle for the title of 2023 Student Vs. Staff Champion.

Maddy Dunford, a student in the Worship Practicum, officially started the night with the national anthem. Soon after, each team was announced, and anticipation grew as tip-off began!


Pictured: Maddy Dunford singing the National Anthem.


The game emcee and announcers from left to right: Cade Wilson, Lizzie Brim, Lacey Wood, and J.R. Martinez.


Pictured: Maddi Womack and Josh Minor, the Highlands College social media hosts for the night.


Pictured: Student Vs. Staff Basketball game starts with tip-off!


Staff started strong with 9-0 in the first quarter. At half-time, the staff team was up 31-10, but students still had hope of making a comeback. While each team rallied during half-time, female students and staff battled in a half-time skills competition.



Pictured: Female students and staff go head-to-head in a Half-Time Skills Competition.


Pictured: The Staff defends the work they did in the first half.


Pictured: The game heats up as the clock runs out.

As the third quarter started, the competition heats up as students came back hopeful and ready after half-time to fight until the end for the victory. However, the staff held their ground, and by the fourth quarter, they consistently stayed up by at least 15 points. The clock was ticking, and both teams fought with all they had until the staff team took the final shot of the night. The final score was the staff (57 – 33) students; congratulations to the Staff on their win!


“Watching our players dominate the court with unwavering passion and precision was truly electric. Anthony McCall’s ball-handling skills were unmatched, and Garrett Cupp’s three-point shots were on fire. As an assistant coach, seeing our team execute the game plan flawlessly and come out with a win like this, with a final score of 57 to 33, is an indescribable feeling. I couldn’t be prouder of our players and their hard work. This win is a testament to their dedication and commitment to the game.” – Hamid Al-Dlaigan, Assistant Basketball Coach.


It was such a fun night and a fantastic opportunity to show school spirit; we can hardly wait for another round of HC Madness next year!


Pictured: Staff Team after the game with their trophy.