Blazers blast New Life to advance to title game

The Cumberland Valley Christian Blazers are headed to the Mason-Dixon Christian Conference championship game again.

The defending champion Blazers scored 56 points in the middle quarters and destroyed New Life Christian 87-42 in the MDCC boys basketball semifinals Friday night.

The Blazers will play Shalom Christian Saturday at 7 p.m. at Heritage Academy for the championship. Second-seeded Shalom defeated third-seeded Heritage Academy in the other semifinal Friday night. The Blazers (16-3) beat Shalom twice during the regular season, each time by 10 points.

“I’m really proud of these guys and how well they played on both ends of the floor tonight,” Blazers coach Austin Sanders said. “I felt like our defense was much more active and we were able to force turnovers, which led to easy baskets for us. I think also making 29 free throws was spectacular and definitely our best night from the line this season.”

The Blazers shot 29-for-35 from the foul line, including 15-for-16 by Nollin Egolf. The Blazers outrebounded New Life 44-26 and forced 25 turnovers. They committed only eight turnovers.

The Blazers led 15-9 at the end of the first period but had things pretty much under control with a 26-point second quarter that propelled them to a 41-23 halftime bulge. A 30-point third quarter removed any hope of a New Life comeback as CVCS led 71-38.

The Blazers again put three players in the 20-point scoring column: Caleb Eckert with 28, Egolf with 27 and Blaine Minnier with 21. Eckert and Minnier finished with double-doubles, Eckert grabbing 17 rebounds and Minnier pulling down 12. Egolf led with five assists and Eckert added four. Eckert also made seven steals and blocked three shots.

Also for the Blazers, Isaac Kauffeldt scored four points, Ryan Winters and Josh Rowe netted three each, and Thomas Garvin sank a foul shot.

“Now we move our focus to Shalom tomorrow in a big game,” Sanders said. “We expect a challenge but view it as an opportunity, and we look forward to taking advantage.”

Cumberland Valley Christian players Blaine Minnier (24), Caleb Eckert, Nollin Egolf (15) and Isaac Kauffeldt (22) await a rebound during the Blazers’ 87-42 victory over New Life Friday night.