Blazers pull away for 6th straight win

The Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers pulled away in the second half and defeated New Life Christian 57-43 Friday in a Mason-Dixon Christian Conference boys basketball game for their sixth straight victory.

The Blazers (11-11, 8-5 MDCC) led pesky New Life by five at the end of the first period but went into halftime with a 32-21 advantage. They built a 20-point bulge in the second half.

“I thought New Life came out and played with a lot of effort at the beginning of the game,” Blazers coach Austin Sanders said. “As soon as we settled down, we started to execute a little better. We recognized our seniors tonight, and I feel they did a great job when they were in the game.”

The seniors were prominent on the stat sheet with Nathan Statler (six rebounds, five points, four assists), Eladio Pena (five points), Josiah Ziebarth (eight rebounds, two points), and Jacob Russell (two rebounds) all contributing to the win. Senior starter Triston Horn missed the game with an illness.

Sophomores Blaine Minnier and Caleb Eckert again led the Blazers in scoring. Minnier corralled a game-high 23 points and Eckert contributed 16. Eckert completed his double-double by pulling down 18 rebounds as the Blazers held a 46-29 margin on the boards, and he handed out five assists. Sophomore Isaac Kauffeldt scored six points and parceled out four assists. Kauffeldt, Eckert and Minnier shared the team lead in steals with three apiece.

The Blazers are in third place behind Broadfording and Heritage in the MDCC with one league game remaining, and they hope to sew up a home playoff game.

“I think the biggest thing for us is just staying focused on what’s in front of us,” Sanders said. “As a young team it’s easy to lose that focus and be content when we’re playing well and things are going our way, but we as coaches are relaying the message to stay poised and earn everything.”