The Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers let a big early lead almost slip away but then poured on the heat in the second half and defeated the McConnellsburg Spartans 70-55 Thursday evening in a non-league boys basketball game.
The Blazers (21-2) piled up 29 points in the first quarter and led by 17 at the end of the period. McConnellsburg, however, clipped the lead to 36-31 at halftime.
“I thought our guys came out and played really well in the first quarter,” Blazers coach Austin Sanders said. “We were giving them problems with our press and then converting offensively. We had our best quarter of the season, no doubt. Our second quarter was the complete opposite. We were lazy on defense and that negatively affected us on the offensive end.”
McConnellsburg came within two points in the third quarter, but the Blazers eventually built the margin back to double figures and led 53-36 at the end of the quarter.
“The challenge at halftime was pretty simple: we needed to strap up on defense,” Sanders said. “We were able to do that for the most part and come out with the victory.”
Caleb Eckert scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Blazers, leaving him 10 rebounds shy of 1,000 for his career. He also made three steals and blocked three shots.
Nollin Egolf scored 18 points, handed out four assists and made three steals, and Blaine Minnier grabbed 12 rebounds, dished off four assists and scored eight points. Ryan Winters and Isaac Kauffeldt scored seven points each, and Kenneth Hott added a basket.
For McConnellsburg, Walker Funk scored 19 points, while Kyle Romig and Zander Sipes added 10 each.
Hott and Blake Witter were honored on Senior Night in the Blazers’ final home game of the season.
“I’m really happy for our seniors, Kenneth and Blake,” Sanders said. “They work really hard and are joys to have on the team.”
The Blazers are top-seeded in next week’s Mason Dixon Christian Conference tournament and will play the winner of Tuesday’s Calvary-New Life game in the semifinals next Friday at 8 p.m. at the Berkeley County Recreation Center in Martinsburg, W. Va.