ANKENY, Iowa -- The first round of regionals heralded the end of the season for Maranatha, who fell 90-94 to #5 Central Christian College of the Bible.
- Result: #4 Maranatha 90-94 #5 Central Christian
- Venue: Nettleton Center, Faith Baptist Bible College
- Location: Ankeny, Iowa
- Event: NCCAA North Region Tournament
- Attendance: 67
- Records: MBU (7-8), CCCB (9-15)
Maranatha shot 47 percent in the first half, but the pace of play was frantic. Maranatha forced the three (they went 2-14 from downtown) and committed 10 turnovers, and Central wrapped it up when they hit a three-pointer at the buzzer for a 43-38 halftime lead. Savion Thorpe led the Saints with 18 points while Ball led Maranatha with 13.
The lead changed hands 12 times in the game with seven ties, but the second half yielded a similar frustrating story - the Blue and Gold couldn't find their range from beyond the arc, going 5-22 from distance. Despite the long-distance difficulties, Maranatha stayed within striking distance. Central maintained a slight lead and edged out to an 11-point advantage with 2:49 on the clock, but Maranatha began to press and build another memorable comeback. With 1:42 on the clock, Maranatha had come back to within four points and showed all the resolve of the last couple of weeks.
But just when they needed it most, the shots didn't connect. As their rim rejected effort after effort, the Saints hit the free throws they needed at the other end of the floor to seal the win, the ticket to the semifinals, and the end of the Sabercats' 20-21 season.
Maranatha Starters: 2- T. Ball, 3- Mayhak, 4- Steuerwald, 5- Sanders, 23- Wilkerson // Central Christian Starters: 2- Williams, 5- Thorpe, 12- Black, 23- Johnson, 24- Koester
- Wilkerson: 22 PTS, 7 REB
- Aaron Sanders: 14 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST
- Ball: 13 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL
- Zeke Steuerwald: 11 PTS, 7 AST
- Rebounds: MBU 46-38 CCCB
- MBU: Shot 7-36 from downtown
- Last time: Maranatha won during the 1990-91 season
- Series: The series is now tied 1-1
- Central competes in the NCCAA DII North Region and the Midwest College Collegiate Conference
- Central holds an 8-13 NCCAA record and a 6-3 record against North Region opponents this season
- Central lost in the first round of last year's North Region Tournament
The Sabercats conclude their season with a 7-8 record. A full recap of the season will be coming at mbusabercats.com.