WYNCOTE, PA –
On Thursday night at Cheltenham High School, the Faith Christian Academy Lions out of District 1 defeated the Sankofa Warriors out District 12, 55-27, in a PIAA 1A Boys Basketball second round game. FCA guard Landon Coyle led the way for the Lions with 16 points and forward Miki Vitek also finished in double-figures with 10.
It was a slow start in the middle game of a tripleheader in Wyncote, as the first points came on three free throws by Sankofa guard Derrius Ward at the 5:48 after being fouled beyond the three-point arc. The first field goal of the game came at the 5:20 mark by Faith Christian’s Charles Ervin immediately following the Sankofa free throws. Coyle followed that bucket with a jumper of his own to give FCA a 4-3 lead, which they would not relinquish.
With the score 8-5 after one quarter of play, another slow start kicked off the second quarter as Sankofa’s Scott Spann had a tip-in within the first minute, then there was no scoring by either team for the next three minutes of game action. Faith Christian entered into the bonus with under 4:30 to play in the second quarter, allowing them to make a free throw and get on the board in the second quarter. After missing the second, Coyle grabbed the offensive board and put the ball in the bucket for a three-point possession, giving FCA an 11-7 lead.
After two FCA free throws by Anthony Sessa, Spann had another put back layup for Sankofa with just over a minute remaining, ultimately giving the Lions a 13-9 halftime lead.
It was raining three’s for Faith Christian Academy to start the third quarter as Coyle hit two and Ervin hit one. After a Vitek layup from the left-block for FCA, Sankofa was forced to call timeout with the lead expanding to 13 points for the Lions, 24-11, at the 5:30 mark in the 3rd quarter. After another Coyle three and an easy transition layup for FCA big man Zeke Snowden, Sankofa called another timeout with 3:15 left and the score 29-13.
After Sankofa had a nice 6-0 run following the second called timeout, FCA finished the quarter strong with five straight on a driving layup by Sawyer Smith and a corner three-pointer at the buzzer by Darius Fornay, to give the Lions a 37-19 lead after 24 minutes of play.
At the start of the 4th quarter, two Vitek three-pointers and a deep jumper from Ervin gave the Lions a commanding 45-19 within the first two minutes of the period, thus putting the kibosh on any Sankofa comeback attempt.
“We feed off the energy,” Faith Christian head coach Tony De Costa stated regarding his team’s performance in the 3rd quarter. “I think anytime you go on the run and score the basketball, just the momentum a lot of us as coaches knows that when you get, you want to ride it, just like a wave.”
“(Landon Coyle) hasn’t been shooting as well over the course of the season, but we know he’s capable of that,” De Costa continued regarding his leading scorer on the night. “Luckily we found when he was hot and we got him the ball and he was knocking down shots. And that was a big ride for us.”
Faith Christian Academy will take on St. John Neumann, the District 4 champion, who dominated District 11 champion Lincoln Leadership, 72-47 and now have a perfect record of 27-0. Neumann will be headed to the quarterfinal round for the third time in the last four years, so the Lions certainly have their work cut out for them.
“We have to keep going taking it one game at a time,” De Costa continued. “I think it’s going to be a great game, they’re a great team so we’ve gotta be prepared, gotta cross our T’s and dot our I’s and make sure we cover the details. And once again bring the defensive intensity and focus on who the primary players are.”
(Photo Credit: Amanda Dedieu)