Winona Lake, IN: The #7 seeded Alice Lloyd College Eagles concluded their season in the NCCAA National Tournament on Saturday, March 20th against the powerful, and #1 seed, Grace College Lancers. The Pippa Passes club trail by seventeen points in the first half before unleashing an incredible comeback to get within four points. However, the Lancers got two huge buckets that enabled them to hold on for the 96-87 victory.
In the first twenty minutes, the Eagles came out and matched the Indiana club toe for toe. When senior guard Noah Young sank a jumper with 11:01 remaining, the Eagles led 21-20.
Unfortunately, sparked by their duo of big Elijah Malone and Frankie Davidson, GC unleashed a dominate 27-9 run over the next nine minutes to vault ahead, 47-30. The scoreboard would read 49-35 at intermission. The Eagles only shot 32.4% (11-34) from the field during the first twenty minutes, compared to their foes, with 57.1% (20-35).
In the second half, ALC would start to claw their way back into contention, behind the inside-outside play of sophomore forward Damon Tobler and senior guard Chandler Stewart. By the midway point, the deficit had shrunk to single digits (73-65).
Grace showed why they were considered the top team in the entire tournament as they managed to hold their advantage. They pushed back in front by ten with 5:30 remaining.
However, the gutsy Eagles refused to go away. Over the next two minutes, they clamped down on defense and sank three free-throws. When junior center Colyn Sturgill scored on a strong post move, the scoreboard read 84-80, and the home crowd began to get nervous.
After another impressive stop, ALC got the ball back and had two charity tosses with 3:13 showing to get even closer. Unfortunately, both attempts rolled off and the Lancers grabbed the rebound. On their next two possessions, GC would score to gain some breathing room (88-80).
The Eagles would get the deficit back to five (89-84) with 1:50 left on a Tobler power move inside, but a huge three-point play by Grace’s Davidson proved to be the back-breaker.
For the Eagles (18-8), four players reached double figures. Tobler led the way with 17 points and 7 rebounds. All of his points came in the second half. He was closely followed by Young and Stewart, each with 16 points. Young led all players with 6 assists while Stewart added 5. Junior forward Will Philpot added 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks while Sturgill and sophomore center Noah Caudill both had 2 blocks.
ALC shot 39.7% (27-68) from the field, 38.1% (8-21) from long range, and sank 78.1% (25-32) from the foul line. They also had 32 rebounds, 15 assists, 5 steals, and 6 blocks. The squad did shoot 47.1% the second half and outscore the Hoosier club, 52- 47, but it wasn’t enough.
For GC (20-12), Davidson led the way with 20 points. His club finished shooting 55.4% (36-65) from the floor, 27.8% (5-18) from behind the arc, and 67.9% (19-28) from the foul line. They also snagged 43 rebounds, and added 15 assists, and 6 steals.
The Eagles conclude their fine season as a Final Four Team in the NCCAA DI National Tournament, the NCCAA Mideast Regional Champions, and a Semi-finalist in the River States Conference Tournament. Coach Scott Cornett will return the bulk of his team next season, as Alice Lloyd seeks to go even further in 2021-22.