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LANCASTER - The rivalry between Lancaster Bible College and Valley Forge Christian College was renewed Friday night, Feb. 22, when the Chargers and Patriots met in the NCCAA East Region championship game for the fifth straight year.
Despite losing to the Chargers just one week earlier in regular season play, the Patriots defended their title as East Region champions, defeating the Chargers, 77-50.
It was a slow, low-scoring first half as neither team was able to get into an offensive rhythm. The Patriots were able to take a small lead throughout the half but were unable to extend into a double-digit lead as the Chargers remained right on their heels. With 2:21 left before the break, the Patriots were ahead by nine points at 25-16. Lancaster Bible, though, trimmed the lead to six at 25-19 by halftime.
In the second half, the Patriots went back to basics with pressure on defense and working as a team to create open shots. The Patriots went on a 9-3 run and led 34-25 with 16:52 remaining. Two minutes later, the Chargers answered back, going on a small run of their own to cut the Patriots’ lead to six poins at 36-30.
The Patriots held the lead, but the margin went upa nd down. At the four-minute mark, the Patriots maintained a solid 14-point lead and appeared to clinch the game. However, a string of missed shots and fouls by VFCC allowed the Chargers to creep back into the game at 60-51 with 1:11 showing. After a quick timeout, the Patriots regrouped and went on a 10-4 spree to seal their victory.
Kevin Mack scored 15 points and also had four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Lance Harris had 14 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Donnell Davis notched 11 points, six boards and three assists. Domenic Cain had 10 points and seven boards. Jean LeBlanc from Coatesville scored 10 points.
Four VFCC men’s basketball players were honored as 2013 All-East Region award recipients.
Sophomore Kevin Mack, the Patriots’ leading scorer, was named the NCCAA UII East Region’s Most Valuable Player. Mack averaged 14.9 points per game while shooting close to 50 percent from the field.
Junior Lance Harris received first-team honors. Harris averaged 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.8 steals while shooting 80 percent from the free throw line.
Senior Donnell Davis received second-team honors and was also named the NCCAA II East Region Defensive Player of the Year. Davis led the Patriots with 4.3 assists per game and garnered more than two steals per game.
Freshman Jonathan Dukes also received second-team honors. Dukes averaged 5.7 rebounds and two steals per game.
The Patriots’ postseason wars will continue as they travel to Springfield, Mo., to compete in the NCCAA Division II National Tournament from Tuesday, March 5, through Saturday, March 9.
VFCC’s first game will take place March 5 against No. 11 Ozark Christian College. All national tournament information, including live webcast, can be found on the Valley Forge Christian College athletics website at vfccpatriots.com.