The College’s men’s basketball team finally snapped their losing streak this past week, getting the best of a tough Valley Forge Christian College team 81-59 on Saturday, Feb. 12.
“It felt great to finally get a win,” head coach Kelly Williams said. “I am happy for the players. They really stayed together while things were not going our way throughout the season.”
The game looked like it might become the Lions’ 14th straight loss early on, as they found themselves down by 14. However, the team got things together and made a big run to end the first half.
“I just told the team that we have to pick up and let’s slowly get back in the game,” Williams said. “They came back out of the timeout and really started to defend, and we finally were able to make some shots. Our confidence came back and we finally had some momentum.”
That momentum carried the team to a 37-36 lead at the half. Sophomore guard Brandon Johnson came in and played with a lot of energy to end the first half, tallying eight of his career-high 13 points. Freshman forward Dan Balevski also contributed with six points in the first half.
“I think Brandon Johnson and Dan Balevski came off the bench and jump-started our run in the first half,” Williams said. “As a result of their energy, other players followed and played with some confidence.”
Valley Forge was no pushover coming in, losing only five games all season leading up to the matchup with the College. The Lions elevated their game, however, and dominated the Patriots in the second half, outscoring them 44-23 in the second period.
“Valley Forge is an excellent team,” Williams said. “Our defensive intensity picked up after being down by 14, and the next thing you know, shots started falling. We were able to play with some confidence, and Valley Forge had trouble matching our energy and focus the entire second half.”
Other players on the team found time to shine as well, with junior guard Kyle Rawson hitting all seven of his shot attempts and tying his career high of 19 points, while also dishing out a team-leading five assists.
The team’s leading scorer for the year, sophomore guard Donovan Smalls, poured in 15 points of his own while senior forward Steve Siracusa led the team with 13 rebounds.
“Steve is Steve,” Williams said. “I know what I will get from him every game. I am really going to miss No. 23 next season.”