Posted: Monday, 08 April 2013 9:29AM

Looking down from Heaven, Simniok's making dad proud



ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Simniok fans of Forsyth weren't about to miss Drury senior Teddy Simniok's last game; the biggest of his entire career.  The Riverview Bible Baptist product was one of three seniors who led the Panther's to a 74-73 win over Metro State (Denver) in the NCAA Division-II National Championship Sunday at Atlanta's Philips Arena.

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"Oh my goodness!  Words can't describe right now, it's amazing," Simniok exclaimed as his team cut down the nets following the program's first NCAA basketball championship.

Among those in attendance Sunday was Teddy's twin brother Nathane, a junior at College of the Ozarks, who played side by side with his brother until two years ago when the pair took different paths after two seasons at Missouri State-West Plains.

"We've always played together, but now that we've gone our separate ways it's been kind of fun," said Nathane.  "We like to tease each other about who had the better game."

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The 6'7" duo teamed up to win a National Association of Christian Athletes national championship while at Riverview Bible Baptist, a private school in Forsyth with 78 total students.  Despite the lack of exposure the Simniok's gained attention from college coaches ranging from NAIA to NCAA Division-I playing the game they learned from their father Bill, who died of cancer five years ago.

"He raised me well and led me to the Lord my Savior Jesus Christ," said Teddy.  "Him and my mom have done everything for me.  I'm so happy I made my dad proud."  

"It's always on our mind knowing that he's up in Heaven looking down on us watching," said Nathane.  "We know he's up there watching and we play our best, so hopefully he enjoys it.

Equally as proud was Teddy's mother Cathy, who was one of the dozen or so fans sporting costume shop beards in support of the "grizzly faced" Panthers' forward.

"Their dad was always behind them when they played basketball and they always think of him when they play," said Cathy.  "He taught them from when they were age five."

Teddy averaged a modest 9.8 points and 4 rebounds per game for the Panthers in this his final season.  He finishes his decorated basketball career as a state champ and a national champ, but most importantly he made his dad proud.

"It was more than I could imagine.  I can't even describe it right now.  I can't believe this is really happening."

"It's been a rough five years since my dad passed away, but I'm glad I made him proud."

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