This past weekend Trinity Bible College and the Lions hosted the NIAC Conference Tournament and welcomed all five of the NIAC teams to Ellendale for the tournament. The Lion’s captured the regular season NIAC Conference and were the #1 seed for the tournament going 7-1 in conference play. They were matched up with the #4 seed Turtle Mountain Community College who beat the #5 seed AFLBS in the first round.
The Lions would score first in the game but after five minutes the game was tied 8 to 8 and Turtle Mountain would hold a three point lead 14 to 17, just two minutes later and the Lions would tie the game up at 25 all with seven minutes left in the first half. Then the Lions would put together a run to take control of the game. They would use a 22 to 7 run over a six minute span and take a 13 point lead into halftime 46 to 39. The Lions were led by a 21 point first half performance by junior guard Mikey Rosario. The Lions would control the second half and push the lead to as much as 23 points, which is what they would finish winning by 109 to 86. In the win the Lions were led by Mikey, who finished with 30 points and 5 steals. Joining Mikey in double figures was four other Lions, Barry Bighorn who had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals, Kris Lauder who had 12 points, Alan Usher who had 11 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists and AJ Anthony who added 10 points and 11 assists for a double-double.
In the Championship game the Lions squared off against the Crossroad College Knights, in a rematch of the NIAC Conference Tournament Championship game from a year ago. The Lions came out fast with the help of the hot shooting hand of Barry Bighorn, who would hit 3 corner 3’s early to give the Lions a 15 to 14 lead six minutes into the game. The Knights would then take their first lead 21 to 22 with eight minutes left in the game but the Lions would then go on a 16 to 6 run to get a 11 point lead 37 to 28 with two minutes left in the first half. The Lions would hold only a 5 point lead at halftime 37 to 32. Barry Bighorn had an outstanding first half with 16 points on 6 of 8 from the field and 3 of 4 on 3’s and 4 rebounds. The Knights would fight hard in the second half taking the lead 47 to 50 with 14 minutes left to play in the game and with 10 minutes left the Knights would hold a 60 to 61 advantage. The Lions would then use a 15 to 2 run over a six minute span to take a 12 point lead 75 to 63 and they would finish the last four minutes on a 12 to 6 run, beating Crossroads College 87 to 69. In the win the Lions were led by Barry Bighorn who finished with 24 points and 5 rebounds. Joining Barry in double digits was Mikey Rosario with 21 points and 6 assists, Nick Lentz with 13 points on 6 of 10 shooting and 6 rebounds and AJ Anthony who added 11 points, 5 steals and 4 assists.
The win over Crossroads College gave the Lions their first NIAC Conference Tournament Championship. Following the game, junior guard Mikey Rosario was named NIAC Conference Most Valuable Player. AJ Anthony and Barry Bighorn both were named to the NIAC Conference “All-Conference Team”.
Lions will be hosting the North Central Regional Tournament this Friday and
Saturday, February 24th and 25th. The Lions will be
playing at 8pm on Friday, February 24th.