Canaan Christian Academy's boys varsity basketball team finished the season at 22-8
"A perfect storm" is how John Ashley described it. And, in a way, that's what it was.
The Canaan Christian Academy boys basketball team posted a pair of big wins in the quarterfinals and semis at the 25th Annual Northeastern PA Christian Academy Tournament.
Coach Ashley's Eagles soared to a 64-52 victory over North Rome, then held on for a 50-41 triumph against a scrappy Lebanon Christian squad.
These two wins propelled the local lads into the title tilt versus Central, a power house team based in Dover, Delaware.
Sadly for a packed house at CCA, the Eagles were never in this one. Central raced out to a double digit first half lead and cruised to a lopsided 61-36 decision.
"We knew we were in for the toughest game of our season," Coach Ashley said.
"Central is an extremely fast, athletic team. This was like the perfect storm, though, because they shot the lights out and we were just ice cold."
With the loss, Canaan closed out its 2012-13 slate with a 22-8 record. The Eagles finished as runners-up in the NY/Penn League regular season and at the loop's year-end tourney.
"I'm very proud of our guys for the great attitude they showed in the face of real adversity," said Coach Ashley.
"This wasn't the way I wanted us to finish the season, but they never quit. We're really going to miss this group of seniors. They are great kids."
Setting the Stage
Canaan hit the hardwood running in its quarterfinal match-up with North Rome.
The Eagles erupted for 24 points in the opening stanza and never looked back en route to a double digit win.
Joe Chupick, Matthew Swartley and Joe Schweinsburg led the way offensively for CCA.
Chupick tickled the twine for a game-high 23 points. He also found time to haul down seven rebounds and hand out seven assists.
Schweinsburg poured in 17, while Swartley powered his way to a double-double with 14 points and an even dozen boards.
Brogan Scotch also flexed his muscles in the paint, cleaning the glass for eight key caroms.
Spencer Beals (six pts) and Blakely Hoffman (four pts) rounded out the Eagles' scoring assault.
With this solid win under their belts, Coach Ashley's boys headed into the "big school" semis for a date with Lebanon Christian.
Once again, Chupick led the way for Canaan with a well-rounded outing.
Joe found the range in every quarter and finished his night with 20 points. He also grabbed five rebounds and blocked three shots.
Swartley earned rave reviews from his mentor in this one. A transfer student who quickly carved out a niche in the Eagles' line-up, Matt tallied 11 points and notched eight more boards.
"This young man has really been embraced by the team and the school," said Coach Ashley. "He has such a great attitude on the court, no matter what's happening in the game."
Schweinsburg authored another solid effort with eight points and five boards.
Beals contributed seven to the cause, while Hoffman added four.
Canaan opened up its lead to double digits late in the game, but settled for a 50-41 win and a berth in the championship game.
For a third consecutive year, CCA squared off with Central in the title tilt.
Unfortunately for the #3 seeded Eagles, the results were eerily similar to each of the past two encounters.
Central used a deadly combination of relentless defense and torrid shooting to dominate the first period.
By intermission, Coach Ashley's squad was staring at a 37-19 deficit.
"I don't ever remember us shooting so poorly," he said. "We honestly couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. But, kudos to them for their swarming defense."
Canaan did rally in the third quarter, outscoring Central by a margin of 11-8. However, the visitors turned it on again in the final stanza and rolled to victory.
Chupick faced a double team each time he touched the ball and managed just 10 points in this one.
Schweinsburg worked hard to help take up the slack and closed out a solid night with 12.
Swartley tallied four points and gathered in eight rebounds. Beals (four pts), Hoffman (four) and Scotch (two) filled in the Canaan stat sheet.
Score by Quarters...
CCA (22-8) 8 11 11 6 - 36
CEN (23-7) 19 18 8 16 - 61