Damascus Christian Academy's varsity boys basketball team closed out its 2012-13 season in fine fashion this past week.
The Defenders competed at the 25th Annual NPCA Tournament and battled their way to seventh place in the overall standings.
Under the watchful eye of veteran Coach Lane Jones, Damascus posted two wins and two losses to finish up the year with a 14-8 mark.
The Defenders' final win of the campaign came in the consolation bracket against a scrappy Fairview squad.
DCA dug itself a 20-9 hole at intermission, but staged a frantic second half rally that resulted in a wild 40-37 victory.
"I'm very proud of the guys because they showed a lot of heart and fire," Coach Jones said.
"This was our fourth game in three days and they were pretty exhausted. To come back and win like that was a really great way to end our season."
In addition to a Top Ten tournament showing, DCA was also honored with the event's Sportsmanship Award. This is a special designation voted on by coaches and officials.
Damascus opened up its NPCA medal quest with a win over Maranatha.
Led by the talented trio of Cole Fredo, Nick Adams and Andrew Sheard, DCA rolled to a 59-48 decision.
Fredo, who battled a sore back all tournament long, tallied 10 points and five rebounds in limited action.
Adams and Sheard more than compensated, though.
Nick rattled the rims for a game-high 18 points. He also hauled down 10 boards and snagged five steals.
Page 2 of 3 - Andrew was a dominant presence in the low post, recording a double-double of his own with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Rudy Geiger and Aiden Brick came off the bench to provide an instant spark.
Geiger netted six points and four rebounds, while Brick contributed four points and one board.
Nehemiah Jones chimed in with a season-best 10 assists. He also added five rebounds and five steals.
Josiah Jones rounded out the stat line with three points and three boards.
Down the Stretch
On the heels of this big win over Maranatha, the Defenders suffered back-to-back losses which relegated them to the losers bracket.
Damascus absorbed a 62-50 setback at the hands of Lebanon Christian, then went right down to the final buzzer before losing a 58-54 heartbreaker to North Rome.
This left DCA in the 7th place contest against Fairview Christian School.
The Falcons unveiled a methodical offensive set that slowed the game's pace dramatically and forced the Defenders to alter their strategy radically.
"They stalled for pretty much the entire first half, so we had to start playing them man-to-man," said Coach Jones. "It wasn't what we wanted to do, but we really didn't have much choice."
Fairview led 8-7 after one and extended that advantage to 20-9 at halftime with a 12-2 run.
However, Damascus re-grouped at intermission and laid the groundwork for an electrifying comeback.
Fredo was held scoreless in the first half due to a combination of his nagging injury and Fairview's relentless defense. After the break, though, Cole began running wild.
Page 3 of 3 - The senior guard tallied seven points in the third, then exploded for 10 in the fourth. Included among those 17 points were four free throws that helped ice the game for DCA.
"I think that Cole showed a great deal of character," Coach Jones said. "His back was really bothering him in the first half, but he came up huge for us in the second half."
Damascus still trailed by double digits after the third period, but won the game by dominating he fourth.
The Defenders oustcored the Falcons by a margin of 17-4 down the stretch to claim seventh place.
Nehemiah Jones tickled the twine for 10 points, including a crucial 4-for-4 stint at the charity stripe.
Sheard chipped in with six points and 11 rebounds while also converting all four of his free throw tries.
Josiah Jones and Nick Adams each connected on a clutch trey to help DCA finish off its late-game rally.
"I had a bunch of people come up to me afterward and tell me this was the best game of the tournament," said Coach Jones. "It sure was exciting and I'm so happy for the boys that we came out on top."
Score by Quarters...
DCA (14-8) 7 2 14 17 - 40
FCS (13-9) 8 12 13 4 - 37