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Pilots season ends with basketball nationals in Missouri
The 2015-16 Pilots season came to an end last weekend with the Providence basketball teams participating in the Association of Christian College Athletics tournament in Joplin, Missouri.
A national, bracket-style competition, the ACCA event came just five days after the National Christian College Athletic Association regional play-offs in Minneapolis, in which both the Pilots men and women progressed to their respective semi-finals.
Harold Memita recorded 25 points in the men’s 95-91 win over Ellendale, North Dakota’s Trinity Bible College, but the Pilots came up just short in their February 26 match, losing 86-79 to Crossroads College of Rochester, Minnesota.
“We got down big against Trinity but never quit, and we ended up coming back to win the game,” analyzed head coach Colten Gryba. “Against Crossroads it was almost the same, although we just ran out of gas and couldn’t quite complete the comeback.”
The women, meanwhile, lost to Trinity after trouncing Crossroads 97-34—a memorable victory in which Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player Amber Harms scored 21 points and added 26 rebounds. She dropped a further 10 points to go along with 14 boards against Trinity, although the Lions prevailed 65-40.
“We won our first game by a large margin,” remarked head coach Joel Coursey. “It was the first time we’d been able to win like that. But the semi-final was a tough one for us. We couldn’t stop their best player, who put up 25 points.”
Just days later in Joplin the Providence women opened their bracket with a narrow, 50-47 loss to Dallas Christian College and were then handed a 56-38 defeat by Nashville’s Welch College.
A rematch against Dallas presented itself in the later rounds, and led by the 17 points of Courtney Engel the Pilots forced over-time before losing 74-63.
“The ACCA Nationals was the highlight of the season for all of us,” said Coursey. “Both Dallas and Welch are strong teams, and I was proud of how hard we played. As far as experience goes, the week was a big success.”
The men also began their ACCA campaign with a loss, falling 80-71 to Plymouth, Minnesota’s Association Free Lutheran Bible School and Seminary. They then dropped an 87-79 decision against Emmaus Bible College of Dubuque, Iowa, although MCAC MVP Romeo KC’s 29 points provided a silver lining.
KC made 30 points on March 4 in a 90-69 rout of Hot Springs, Arkansas’ Champion Baptist College, and teammate Daniel Dekleva, who earned All-American Honourable Mention, contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds. KC, for his part, was named a Second Team All American.
“We were down to seven players, so we were already battling adversity from the get-go,” reflected Gryba. “The guys battled and gave everything they had in all our games, and for that I’m really proud of them. This was a very successful season for our program.”
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