Phoenixville, PA: The Trinity Bible College Lions Men’s Basketball team headed out on a 1450 mile journey east to take part in the 25th annual and final Assemblies of God Basketball Classic. The Lions were one of four teams to part in the AG Classic, joining the Lions was 1st ranked team in the NCCAA DII Ohio Christian University (Circleville, OH), the 2nd ranked team and host school Valley Forge Christian College (Phoenixville, PA) and the 10th ranked team Central Bible College (Springfield, MO). Day one saw the Lions matched up against the 1st ranked team in the country Ohio Christian University (OCU).
Both teams were showing the effects of the long travels early on in the game as the first team to score was OCU nearly four minutes into the game and the Lions would not crack the scoreboard until almost five minutes into the game. Ohio Christian would take an early six point lead with seven minutes to play in the first half with the score only at 14 to 8. OCU would hold onto their lead and take a five point lead into halftime over the Lions with both teams extremely cold from the field. The Lions managed only 19 points in the opening 20 minutes of the game and shot a dismal 25 percent (8 for 31) from the field and missed all seven of their three point attempts. As bad as that was the Ohio Christian’s offense was just as lack luster as they only made 17 percent of their field goal attempts and were 8 percent on threes making 1 of 12. The difference in the first was free throws and rebounding with 11 of OCU’s 24 first half points coming from the charity stripe and they pulled down nine offensive boards. In the second half the Lions would get within two points of Ohio Christian with 17 minutes to play but that’s the closest they would get again as OCU would go on an 11 to 0 run to push their lead with their largest lead of 18 points coming with just two minutes to play, Ohio Christian went on to win 71 to 53. Both teams improved their shooting in the second half with the Lions shooting 42 percent from the field and from three and OCU caught fire shooting 57 percent from the field and 55 percent from behind the arc. In the loss the Lions were led by Mikey Rosario who scored 16 points and Pete Enos who had 11 points while Nick Lentz grabbed a team high 9 rebounds.
Day two of the AG Classic matched up the Lions with 2nd ranked host school Valley Forge Christian College Patriots. This game was a polar opposite of the Lions day one experience. Both teams came racing out of the gates to start the game and the Lions would come out shooting hot. The Lions would jump out to an early 15 to 7 lead on the 2nd ranked team in the country just five minutes into the contest. The Patriots would finally draw even with the Lions at 31 apiece with five minutes to play in the half. The Patriots then would ride a 20 to 13 run to close the final five minutes of the half to take a 51 to 44 lead of the Lions into halftime. Both teams were shooting well with the Lions shooting 47 percent (19 for 40) from the field compared to the Patriots 56 percent (18 for 31). However the Lions again were losing the free throw battle as they had yet to attempt one compared to the Patriots who were 11 for 12 on free throws at halftime. The Patriots would continue their hot shooting in the second half and continued to lead the Lions. Their biggest lead of 20 points came with five minutes to play in the game. But the Lions would not quit and fought hard and closed the game on a 16 to 7 run. That wasn’t enough as the Patriots held on to win 95 to 84 over the Lions. In the loss the Lions Mikey Rosario became only the fourth player in Trinity Bible College Lions basketball to score 2000 career points. Mikey sank a free throw with 5:02 remaining to give him 2000 career points. Mikey joins an elite club of 2000 point scorers and now ranks 4th all time in scoring. Mikey finished the game with 31 points, joining him in double figures was AJ Anthony who put in 22 points and Nick Lentz who recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
In the final game of the classic the 11th ranked Lions faced off against the 10th ranked Central Bible College Spartans. It was another back and forth affair for the Lions as the Spartans would take the early lead but the Lions fought back and tied the game up at 16 apiece with 11 minutes to play in the first half. The Spartans responded with a 14 to 2 run but the Lions answered with an 18 to 8 run of their own to close the half. CBC went into the break holding the two point advantage over the Lions. The second half proved to be just as exciting with ties and lead changes as CBC would push their lead to seven points only to see the Lions go on a 16 to 7 run and take the lead back at 56 to 54 with only 10 minutes remaining in the game. The Lions would hold the lead until the Spartans tied the game up on a free throw at 75 to 75 with only 36 seconds to spare. The Lions had a chance to win but missed and ended up fouling the Spartans giving them an opportunity to win the game on the free throw line with seconds to spare. They would knocked down both and the Lions would not get a shot off as time expired after the inbounds and Central Bible College went on to win 77 to 75 over the Lions. The Lions had four players in double figures being led again by Mikey Rosario with 22 points, Nick Lentz poured in 16 points and 8 rebounds and went 6 for 11 from the field. AJ Anthony added 14 points and 4 assists and senior David Rohrbach added 10 points.
The Lions went 0-3 for AG Classic and that drops their season record to 7-10. The Lions had one player named to the AG Classic All-Tournament Team and that was senior Mikey Rosario. Mikey Rosario will be honored before the Lions home game on Friday, January 18th for scoring his 2000th career point. Mikey joins the ranks of Vaughn Jordan, Bill Schofield and all time leader scorer Bill Jackson in the elite club for men’s basketball. On the Lady Lions side there is only one 2000 point scorer and that is women’s head coach Rachael Nowell.
The Lions next games are home as they host Dakota Collage Bottineau Friday night at 8pm and then Lake Region State College Saturday afternoon at 4pm.