The Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers took another step toward defending their Mason-Dixon Christian Conference championship by earning three league victories in the past week.
On Friday, the Blazers overcame some second-half difficulties to earn a 56-46 victory over Shalom Christian. On Saturday, the Blazers whipped Grace Academy 82-42, and then on Tuesday they dominated Faith Christian, 72-28.
“We have been playing really well the past few games,” Blazers coach Austin Sanders said. “We have three or four guys who can really take over a basketball game on any given night, but what I’m most pleased about is how well we are playing team defense. These guys have bought into the idea that our defense will create easy opportunities to score; we just have to put the work in.”
In the Shalom game, the Blazers built a double-digit lead in the first half and settled for a 30-21 halftime advantage. Shalom, however, used its hot shooting to put together a 20-point third quarter as the Blazers went cold, and the Flames led 41-40 at the end of the period.
The Blazers sank their foul shots down the stretch and scored 26 points in the final period.
Caleb Eckert scored 31 points to lead the Blazers (9-3, 6-1 MDCC). He also pulled down 17 rebounds. Nollin Egolf scored 16 points, handed off five assists and grabbed eight rebounds. Blaine Minnier added 10 points and six rebounds. Also scoring were Isaac Kauffeldt with seven points and Ryan Winters with two.
Caleb Roseman led Shalom with 21 points and Aiden Jones added 10.
In Saturday’s win over Grace, the Blazers put together consecutive quarters of 26 and 25 points in bursting to a 51-20 halftime lead.
Minnier was hot from the field in this game, drilling five 3-pointers and finishing with a game-high 23 points. Eckert contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Egolf tossed in 11 points and dished off six assists.
Also netting points were Kauffeldt with nine, Josh Rowe with eight, Thomas Garvin with six, Aaron Minnier with three, and Winters and Gabe Beckering with two apiece.
In the Blazers’ win over Faith, they struggled offensively in the first quarter, but their defense provided them with a 13-5 lead. The Blazers then erupted for 24 points in the second quarter and led 37-8 at halftime.
The Blazers put five players in double-figure scoring: Eckert with 19, Minnier with 16, Winters and Egolf with 11 each, and Kauffeldt with 10. Also, Garvin scored three points and Rowe two.
Also on the stat sheet, Eckert had 23 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots, Minnier had five rebounds and three assists, Egolf had six rebounds and six assists, and Winters had three steals.
On Thursday, the Blazers traveled to Frederick, Md., and emerged with a 64-44 non-league win over Frederick Christian.
“Now that January is almost over, we should be playing our best basketball in February,” Sanders said. “That’s what I’m looking forward to, and I know these guys are capable of it.”