Seven Canaan Christian Academy varsity basketball players closed out their scholastic careers Tuesday night. The Eagles posted a two game sweep of visiting SSSD before a big, enthusiastic Varden crowd.

Canaan Christian Academy closed out a wildly-successful regular season Tuesday evening with a Senior Night sweep.

CCA hosted Scranton State School for the Deaf and hammered out a pair of convincing victories. The Lady Eagles sprinted out to a big early lead, then cruised to an eventual 65-31 win. In the nightcap, the boys also built a solid first half advantage, but then had to stave off a late SSSD rally to preserve a 76-62 decision.

“The kids put on quite a show,” Coach John Ashley told TWI Sports. “Both the boys and girls scored a season-high in points. It was a really enjoyable Senior Night. We only have seven seniors total, but they’re are all great kids and they’ll be sorely missed next year.”

With these wins, both teams finished off the regular season with outstanding records. Heading into play-offs, Canaan’s boys are 16-6 overall. The Eagles are seeded second in the upcoming NPCA Tournament. The Lady Eagles boast a 15-2 mark and nailed down a #1 seed.

NPCA action gets underway next Thursday with Canaan once again acting as the host school. There will be 12 boys and eight girls teams entered in the event. First round games are slated for CCA, Western Wayne High School, Western Wayne Middle School, RD Wilson Elementary School and Johnson College.

Stay tuned to TWI Sports for continuing coverage of Canaan’s quest to defend its NPCA state titles.

Off & Running
The Lady Eagles tipped-off Tuesday night’s action with a solid all-round performance against SSSD. Canaan took control of this one right from the opening tip, racing out to a 21-5 lead after one quarter.

Courtney Swingle led the way offensively in this one. A battle-tested post player, Swingle posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Courtney went 6-for-8 from the floor and also contributed six steals on defense.

For the Lady Bears, Julisa Gangway was a one-woman wrecking crew. SSSD’s lightning-quick guard erupted for a game-high 22 points. However, Gangway’s heroics weren’t enough to overcome a well-balanced Lady Eagle assault.

Stephanie Thompson and Faith VanDeLinde were the difference on this night. Both are seniors and each contributed mightily to CCA’s win. Thompson ran the offense out front, scoring 11 points and handing out four assists. VanDeLinde roamed the paint with impunity, tallying 12 points and hauling down eight rebounds.

“This was the girls’ best performance of the season,” said Coach Ashley. “SSSD was is very quick and very scrappy. It was good to see our girls open things up a little bit and hit shots from all over the floor.”

The Lady Eagles also played relentless defense, holding SSSD to single digit scoring in each of the first two stanzas. CCA put the game on ice with a 16-6 run to start the third quarter.

Eliza VanDeLinde and Amanda Chupick contributed solid minutes off the bench. Van DeLinde hit four of five shots from the field for eight points, while Chupick added six points on 3-for-5 shooting.

Canaan emptied its bench against the visitors from Scranton. Eleven different players found their way into the scorebook before the night was over. Rounding out the scoring were: Sarah Schweinsburg (four pts), Elizabeth ‘Gizzy’ Boone (four pts), Alisha Howell (two pts), Rebecca Hinkle-Farrell (two pts) and Allison Lawrence (two pts).
Score by Quarters...
CCA    21   16   16   12 - 65
SSSD   5      9     6    11 - 31

Soaring to Victory
On the heels of this convincing win, Canaan’s boys took the floor for their regular season finale. Coach Ashley’s lads ran wild, scoring more than 20 points in each of the first two quarters.

Emotions were running high on this night. A big crowd filled the bleachers to bid a fond farewell to seniors Nick DiPalma, Nick Schweinsburg and James Bond.

“These kids all have great attitudes and they really set the tone for the rest of the teams,” said Coach Ashley. “I started all three seniors and they got us going right from the opening tip. The guys had a great night passing and shooting.”

Schweinsburg and Bond in particular were outstanding. Nick, who just last week joined the exclusive 1,000-Point Club, exploded for a game-high 31. James turned in his second triple-double of the season with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Canaan went up 21-12 after one, then pushed that advantage to 46-26 at intermission. The Eagles used an aggressive 1-2-2 half-court press to befuddle Bear ballhandlers. Coach Ashley’s lads used this nonstop pressure to force 17 turnovers.

SSSD kept things competitive in the second half, thanks in large part to the three-headed monster of Doug Persing, Mike Derenick and Byron Evans. Persing was red-hot all night, tickling the twine for a team-best 27 points. Derenick contributed 13 points to the cause, while Evans chipped in with 12.

Josiah Misiura and Ryan Hollingshead led Canaan’s second half charge. Misiura had a well-balanced evening with 12 points, six steals and six assists. Hollingshead was a force in the paint. A 6’5” center, Ryan came off the bench to score six points and pull in eight rebounds.

Rounding out Canaan’s scoring assault were: Nathan Kilian (eight pts). Shawn Beals (four pts) and Matt Thompson (two pts).

The Bears outscored their hosts by a margin of 36-30 in the second half, but the rally proved too little, too late. Canaan held on to post its 16th win of the 2007-’08 campaign, 76-62. Next up for the Eagles is a spot in the NPCA Tournament.

“We know that we’re in for a challenge,” said Coach Ashley of his second-seeded squad. “But, I think the kids are up for it. We can’t wait to get out there on the court and take on some of the ‘big boys.’”
Score by Quarters...
CCA     21   25   13   17 - 76
SSSD   12   14   17   19 - 62