The 2011-2012 basketball season for the Trinity Bible College Lions is now in the books. The Lions started the season by setting some team goals, some of them included, winning the NIAC Conference regular season, winning the NIAC Conference tournament and winning the North Central Region tournament. Well, the Lions accomplished what they sent out to do. They won both the NIAC regular season and conference tournament and the North Central Region tournament earning them a spot in the NCCAA DII Men’s Basketball National Tournament. Not only was it the first NIAC Conference Tournament Championship but it would be the first time a team from Trinity Bible College made it to the NCCAA National Tournament since 2006 and the third time overall. In the previous two trips to the NCCAA National Tournament the Lions went 0-3 in 1998 and 0-2 in 2006. The Lions this year would go 1-2, with a first round upset over the #6 seed Grace University. They would fall in their next two games in the tournament finishing in 7th place, the best finish by a Trinity Bible College team at Nationals.
The Trinity Bible College Lions had two players recognized at the NCCAA DII Men’s National Tournament Banquet of Champions, junior John Michael Rohrbach (Aberdeen, SD) was honored by being named a NCCAA Scholar Athlete, an award given out to players who are in their junior or senior year who have an accumulative 3.4 GPA (grade point average) or better. Junior Mikey Rosario (Forth Worth, TX) was also honored by being named NCCAA DII Second Team All-American.
The Lions had three players named to a North Central Region Team, senior Alan Usher (Los Angeles, CA) was named All-Region Honorable Mention Team, freshman Barry Bighorn (Culbertson, MT) was named Second Team All-Region and junior Mikey Rosario was named First Team All-Region. Coach Jordan Nowell was also named North Central Region Coach of the Year.
In the NIAC Conference the Lions had three players honored with conference awards, sophomore AJ Anthony (Memphis, TN) and freshman Barry Bighorn were named to the NIAC All-Conference Team and junior Mikey Rosario was name NIAC Conference Player of the Year. The Lions finished NIAC Conference regular season play 7-1 and beat Crossroads College in the NIAC Conference Tournament Championship game 87 to 69.
The Trinity Lions also played in the NIAC-MCAC Crossover Tournament, which was hosted by Oak Hills Christian College in Bemidji, MN. For the second straight year the Lions met up with the University of Winnipeg in the championship game and the Lions would win the championship for the second year in a row. The Lions would have three players named to the NIAC-MCAC Crossover All-Tournament Team, freshman Nick Lentz (Onida, SD) and sophomore AJ Anthony, and junior Mikey Rosario was named NIAC-MCAC Crossover Tournament Most Valuable Player.
The Lions finished their 2011-2012 season with a 18 – 17 record, going into the last three weeks of the season, Head Coach Jordan Nowell challenged his young team, which at the time had a record of 11 wins and 15, that if they wanted to reach their goal of making the national tournament they need to win their last six games. They would not only win their last six, they would keep it going winning seven games in a row. The Lions will be saying good bye to only two seniors, Alan Usher and JD Pratt, and that leaves the Lions with ten returners for next year.
Leading the Lions this season in scoring was junior Mikey Rosario who scored a total of 782 points this season, averaging 22.3 points per game, while shooting 43% from the field and 80% from the free throw line. Freshman Nick Lentz lead the Lions in rebounding with a total of 212 rebounds on the season averaging 6.1 rebounds per game to go along with his 7.2 points per game, while shooting 45.8% from the field. The two sport athlete freshman Barry Bighorn, who also played wide receiver for the Trinity Lions football team, had an outstanding freshman year, averaging 13.5 points per game, 4.7 rebounds per game and 2.5 steals per game, while shooting 47% from the field and 35% from three. Sophomore transfer AJ Anthony also had outstanding first year with the Lions, leading not only the team but leading the NCCAA DII in steals per game with 3.6, he also averaged 12.9 points per game, 4 assists per game, and 3.5 rebounds per game.
The Trinity Bible College Lions would like to say Thank You to all of the fans who, cheered for, watched and support them all season long and they look forward to next season!