Blazers prevail on last-second shot

Freshman Nollin Egolf snaked his way through the lane to sink a layup as time ran out, lifting the Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers to a 68-66 victory over Rosedale Baptist of Baltimore Friday night in a non-league boys basketball game.

“These guys never quit,” Blazers coach Austin Sanders said. “They fought to the very last second, and Nollin was able to get a lane to the basket and finish. Credit to these players. They bought into the message to make the proper adjustments and just keep chipping away.”

The game was tied at 63 heading inside the final minute, and junior Blaine Minnier drilled a 3-pointer to give the Blazers (5-1) a 66-63 lead with 33 seconds to play. Rosedale answered with a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left to tie the game, but the Blazers made the most of their last possession as Egolf got free for the last of his 18 points.

Junior Caleb Eckert led the Blazers with 26 points, 20 rebounds, five blocked shots and four assists. Minnier added 18 points, including 14 in the second half, and collected nine rebounds, three steals and three assists. Egolf also contributed three steals and six rebounds.

Also scoring were Ryan Winters with four points and Kenneth Hott with two.

The Blazers fell behind early, facing a 21-7 deficit near the end of the first quarter. By halftime, however, they had managed to trim the margin in half, 35-28. With Eckert scoring eight points and Minnier hitting a pair of 3-pointers, the Blazers trailed only 49-47 entering the fourth quarter.

“These are the kind of games that turn your hair gray as a coach,” Sanders said. “We came out flat in the first quarter and looked like a team that hadn’t played in three weeks, but we were able to turn it on for [the last] three quarters. I’m not thrilled with our free throw shooting. We need to do a better job with that.”

The Blazers struggled at the foul line, where they managed to make only 10 of their 24 attempts. They did own a 39-26 advantage on the boards.

The Blazers travel to Fannett-Metal Saturday for a 4 p.m. non-league game.