MBB ACCA Recap
Champion Christian College men's basketball went into the ACCA National Tournament in Joplin, Missouri as the 4 seed, and they would prove that seeding right, finishing in 5th place. The Tigers would unfortunately drop their first game in a very tough game against Trinity Bible College, then would go on to win the next two games against Free Lutheran Bible College and were able to get some kind of revenge against Kansas Christian College in the fifth place game.
In the first game, the Tigers never seemed to be able to get over the hump. Trinity started the game hitting threes from NBA range and getting to the basket with ease. Their fast guards were tough to stop for Champions lineup, as the Tigers decided to go to a press and different zone looks to slow down the Lions. Falling behind by as many as 11 points in the first half, the Tigers were able to cut it down to just 5 at half time, 42-37.
In the second half, it was much of the same for the Tigers. Scoring around the basket with ease, but the main story was outside shooting. Champion finished the game shooting the worst they had since their D1 guarantee games at a measly 12% for 3. The Tigers offense is fueled by 3 pointers, so this would come back to bite them, as the offense never got going in the half court. Down the stretch, the Tigers got the game tied up 77-77 with just 40 seconds left, but their kryptonite would strike them again, as they gave up and offensive rebound and a wide open 3 would seal the deal for the Trinity Lions. The final score would end up 82-77.
The Tigers ended the game with four players scoring in double figures. AJ Williams (16), Keyshaun Scott (13), Braylon Hawkins (15), and KJ Corder (13).
After a tough loss, and the Tigers knowing their Championship hopes were toast, the team could have given up and mailed it in the last few games, but they came ready to play. Facing a Free Lutheran Bible College team that nearly beat Southwest Region opponent Southwestern Adventist the day before, the Tigers knew thy would have their hands full from the jump. The game was one of the best offensive matchups all year, with both teams shooting over 50% from the field and 43% for 3. In the first half, Champion had no answer for FLBC and their offense, falling behind 14 points, but a late run by the Tigers cut it to just 46-41 going into half.
In the second half, AJ Williams turned in his best performance of the year for the Tigers, leading the charge and the comeback for the team on the offensive end. AJ would finish the game with 35 points, going 8-10 for 3, with a few of those coming when FLBC went to a box and 1 defense. Being face guarded AJ Williams still managed to find the open man, with Marcus Blakely scoring 8 points in the final 5 minutes to complete the comeback for the Tigers. A 2-2-1 press really slowed down the Warriors offense in the second half, and the Tigers shot 13 more shots due to the pressure. FLBC had a chance to tie the game at 89 with 12 seconds left, and thought they had a good look at a shot to win, but from out of nowhere Keyshaun Scott flew in and tipped the shot, and the ball fell into Braylon Hawkins hands to seal the deal.
Champion ended the game with some major contributions from everyone who played. Some notable performances from the this game - Braylon Hawkins with 15 points and 7 rebounds, Marcus Blakely 12 points and 3 steals, Arlon Jenkins 9 points and 5 assists, and AJ Williams 35 points and 3 steals on 73% from the field and 80% for 3.
In the last game of the tournament, Champion Christian College faced off against a familiar foe in Kansas Christian College. Champion had beat the KCC Falcons earlier in the year, but lost to KCC at their place in the regional tournament (Kansas would go on to lose in the regional championship). The game was being played at 10:45 am, and it looked like the Tigers were still asleep to start the game. KCC went on a 7-0 run in a minute in a half of the game, and 5 new players came in to bring some energy in the game. From there, the game was back and forth. The Tigers made a run to cut the lead from 9 to just 1 with a 3 by Arlon Jenkins, a 3 by Zo Capaci, and 2 free throws by Malik Laurent. After that, the teams traded buckets, and the Falcons went into half up 1.
In the second half, the Tigers came out ready to play and really took off. Going back to the 2-2-1 press from earlier in the tournament, Champion was forcing turnovers left and right and getting easy layups on the other end. a 7-0 run, fueled by KJ Harris 3 and 4 points by Tazion Glover stretched the lead to 13, and the Tigers never looked back from there. a big 3 by Jaylan Sherrer pushed the lead to 20. The game was capped off by Zo Capaci, who hit his last 3 for the Tigers. After he made the shot, a timeout was called to give Zo a proper send off, as all his coaches and teammates hugged and congratulated him on his 4 year career as a Tiger. Champion would go on to win 87-69.
Champion had a very balanced attack from the final game of the year, with scoring from just about everyone.
Braylon Hawkins finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 assists on 7/7 shooting
AJ Williams finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists
Marcus Blakely finished with 13 points on 5-7 shooting
Zo Capaci finished with 9 points and 4 rebounds
Arlon Jenkins finished with 8 points
Kajarius Harris finished with 6 points
Tazion Glover finished with 6 points
Jaylan Sherrer finished with 3 points
This marks the end of the season for the Champion Christian College Tigers. We look forward to continuing coverage of the team during the off season as well as a great year next year.