OAKLAND CITY, Ind. — The Yellowstone Christian College Centurions, a second-year program comprised entirely of underclassmen, had the opportunity to make a statement on a national stage, and did just that. The Centurions earned a gritty, hard-fought win over the Rhema College Eagles (Okla.) 1,500 miles from home to claim third place in the Christian College National Invitational Tournament in Oakland City, Ind. on Saturday evening.
The Centurions were coming off a heart-wrenching eight-point loss to host Oakland City University on Friday night, and struggled to find their offensive rhythm in the first few minutes of Saturday’s contest. Rhema came out with a stifling defensive effort, applying ball pressure at any given moment. However, when the shots started falling for the Centurions, the rest fell into place. The Centurions and Eagles traded leads throughout the first half, and the Centurions headed into the locker room at halftime up 49-45.
Much like Friday night, Aaron Munday-Rashid waiting until the final 20 minutes to make his statement. The freshman guard from The Land Down Under led the way on both ends of the floor as the Centurions steadily built their lead.
Although the Eagles were able to keep the game close throughout the second half, the on-ball defense of sophomore Igor Torres gave Rhema’s guards fits. Torres finished the game with only two steals, but was influential in a large portion of the total team steals. He rounded out his day with nine assists offensively.
The Centurions caught fire from three-point-land, draining 43% (13-of-30) attempts from deep. Fabricio Daher Valdivia and Munday-Rashid accounted for nine of the 13 treys. The Centurions also edged the Eagles in the rebounding category 52-51. However, second chance points were key to victory, as YCC pulled down 24 offensive boards.
Munday-Rashid led the Centurions offensively with 23 points and added five boards, three assists, two blocks, and two steals. Daher Valdivia had his best offensive showing of the year, scoring 22 points. Osondu Kelvinson was the lone big man for the Centurions, as Abraham Nyok was forced to sit out the game with a strained knee. Kelvinson made the most of it, scoring nine points and pulling down an impressive 13 boards, including eight on the offensive end. Taylan Barrett also posted double-figures with 17 points. Reagan Oyugi chalked up ten rebounds.
The Eagles, who were ranked first coming into the weekend, were paced by Tele Adenihum with a game-high 26 points and nine rebounds. Johnathan Brunot and Tanner Gregurich joined him in double-digits with 14 and 10 points respectively.
The Centurions finish their season with a 13 win, 15 loss record, and won eight of their final 11 ballgames. Follow the Centurions on all social media outlets for off-season news, player signings, and schedule announcements.