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Golden Eagle boys use aggressive first half to top SBA

The Mitchell Christian School started sluggish in the opening minutes of Monday's boys basketball contest against Sunshine Bible Academy, but quickly turned it around.

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Mitchell Christian guard Alec Nelson splits Sunshine Bible Academy defenders Jade Burma (21) and E.J. Big Eagle (11) during a boys basketball game on Monday at Mitchell Christian School. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

The Mitchell Christian School started sluggish in the opening minutes of Monday's boys basketball contest against Sunshine Bible Academy, but quickly turned it around.

The Golden Eagles reeled off a 25-3 run from the middle of the first quarter through the first two minutes of the second and were able to hold off the Crusaders in the second half for a 66-58 win.

MCS head coach Jesse Tolsma was pleased with the win, but pointed towards needing to improve on defense after being outscored 49-46 in the final three quarters as Travis Hass poured in a game-high 35 points for SBA.

"It's nice to get a win, especially at home," Tolsma said. "Defensively, we still have a ways to go. We gave up far too many transition baskets and that's one big area we need to address. ... We have opportunities when we have a lead, it's just learning to stretch those and close out the game better."

Unable to knock down its first few outside shots in the game, Mitchell Christian (7-7) finally got into a rhythm by getting into the passing lanes on defense and converting steals into easy layups. The Golden Eagles were also aggressive driving to the basket in transition and in the halfcourt, drawing eight fouls on Sunshine Bible Academy (3-11) in the first quarter.

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"We always preach that we want to be an aggressive team on the defensive end, and on the offensive end, as well," Tolsma said. "Getting into the paint puts a lot of stress on defenses and if you are able to get to the free-throw line, you can get your shot going as well to get some free looks at the basket."

Alec Nelson led MCS with 31 points and made eight of the team's 14 steals. Max Reynen pitched in 12 points on 3-for-5 shooting and grabbed five rebounds, while Jens Enga added nine points and six rebounds off the bench.

The Golden Eagles face James Valley Christian Tuesday in Huron.

Mitchell Christian 66, Sunshine Bible Academy 58

Sunshine Bible Academy (3-11): Travis Hass 14 6-9 35, Jade Burma 4 8-9 16, Joel Underwood 1 0-0 2, Dylan Hass 1 0-0 3, E.J. Big Eagle 1 0-0 2, Bradley Hunter 0 0-0 0, Titus Deal 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 14-18 58.

Mitchell Christian (7-7): Alec Nelson 12 6-7 31, Max Reynen 3 3-4 12, Jens Enga 4 1-2 9, Ty Vander Vol 3 2-7 8, Luke Knutson 1 2-2 4, Braeden Nydham 1 0-0 2, Joey Feiner 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 14-22 66.

SBA 9 24 38 58

MC 20 33 49 66

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3-point field goals: SBA 2 (T.Hass, D.Hass), MCS 4 (Reynen 3, Nelson). Total fouls: SBA 18, MCS 12.

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